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Metal jewellery to inspire

Check out student jewelery at North Island College's metal jewelry open house
Lena Collins

North Island College’s Metal Jewellery program transformed Lena Collins’ ambitions and her ceremonial head piece.

The student, originally from Rivers Inlet, will be one of the Metal Jewellery Design certificate students whose work will be on display at NIC’s Metal Jewellery Open House – a free event, Thursday, April 16 at the Campbell River campus.

“I had no idea what to expect when I started this program,” said Collins, who moved to Campbell River from Rivers Inlet with her high school-aged son. “But instructors here really encouraged me to put myself into each piece.”

For Collins, the idea that an instructor would encourage her to bring her First Nations culture into the classroom was inspiring.

“It brought a change in direction in my life – just one instructor saying ‘do who you are’ was a transformational experience for me,” she said.

Collins is creating a copper, brass, and silver head piece to wear during celebrations in the Wuikinuxv Big House.

“It not only changed me, it changed the direction of my regalia,” she said.

She plans to return to Rivers Inlet and start an entrepreneurial artists collective with other wood carvers, painters, and engravers.

Collins also wants to talk to local grade school students about art education.

“Once you create an idea or a goal it’s good to go back to your community and take it home,” she said. “It’s phenomenal what we learned in this program.”

NIC’s Metal Jewellery Open House allows students completing the eight-month certificate the opportunity to showcase their work – from delicate rings and pendants to Lena’s ceremonial head piece which she plans to display on her traditional regalia blanket.

Select student work will also be for sale at the event.

The Metal Jewellery Design Open House is an opportunity to meet NIC’s artist instructors, learn about their passion for teaching, discover the specialized equipment and techniques used to craft metal jewellery, and tour the metal jewellery design studio in Campbell River.

Visitors can also learn more about the Metal Jewellery Design certificate as well as other jewellery courses and programs at NIC. The free event runs from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on April 16. Refreshments will be served and everyone is invited.

To learn more about NIC’s Metal Jewellery certificate program and courses, visit or email