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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Artist realizes dream at BGSU


Standing at her desk, grad student Jaci Crissman handles a gold-plated bracelet with loving care as she explains her trade the process of weaving wire into a piece of jewelry.

She plans on selling the bracelet with others at the Black Swamp Arts Festival this weekend.

But Crissman is not at the University to sell her wares, she’s realizing a dream of hers late in life.

She is studying for her master’s degree and she just turned 60 years old.

In addition to taking art classes and teaching a few, as well Crissman runs a one-person business named ‘The Bent Wire.’

‘It’s been difficult trying to balance two careers because I have very loyal customers in the Northwest Ohio area,’ Crissman says. ‘And you gotta do the shows [too].’

To ‘do’ the shows might be an understatement. Crissman has taken first place in four shows around the nation just this summer.

But after 15 years of working with wire, she remains humble when asked how she takes so many best-of-shows.

‘Hard work,’ she replies. ‘Lots of hard work and patience.’

Crissman makes a point of avoiding shows during the semester, but makes an exception for the Black Swamp Arts Festival.

‘It’s an intimate show of just about 100 artists,’ she says. ‘And BG is such a wonderful town.

‘Sometimes in a larger town even in Toledo the arts get lost.

But Bowling Green’s annual art festival is different, says Crissman.

‘It’s one of the shows that sees you as an artist and not a vendor,’ she says.

Crissman did not always make jewelry, though. She trained in Cleveland to be a medical technologist, monitoring tissue and organ transplants.

Then a few years ago, her daughter Danielle, who was attending the University at the time, convinced her to take a few art classes.

After three years of taking specialized classes, Crissman began working on her master’s degree and embraced art as a full-time profession.

‘I’m a trained scientist, how does somebody like me end up doing this?’ she asks herself.

As she examines a piece with a flourish of large, red feathers on it, she answers her own question.

‘It’s almost like a passion, it just has to come out.’

Crissman explains that she uses her creativity to solve problems.

‘Each piece is different, each piece is a new problem,’ she says.

Waving her hand past the jewelry’s feathers, they gently sway, demonstrating what she strives to do with her art bring them to life.

‘It always ‘talks’ to the environment around it,’ Crissman says. ‘For me, that’s important.’

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