Ladies First, 2017
Copper, Synthetic Hair, and Patina
40 x 45 1/2″

Respect the Chain, 2017
Copper, Synthetic Hair, and patina
40 x 32 x 1″

Jillian Thompson is a Metalsmith and Printmaker from the Metro Detroit Area in Michigan. She is a first-year graduate student at California State University Long Beach with an emphasis in Jewelry & Metalsmithing. Her work projects the influence African American women have on hip-hop community while highlighting cultural expectations women of color must maintain in regards to how they style and wear their hair.

My work celebrates the strength, versatility, and textures of black hair and connects it to the function of jewelry as adornment. When the pieces are worn, the viewer can draw upon parallels of jewelry, body, and their relationship. Since childhood, women in my family have viewed their black hair as a crown of beauty and believe it should be treated as such. This idea of royalty has expanded into my jewelry by referencing the strength and pride many African American women have for their natural hair.