By Michelle Graff
Tina Chan, the designer behind Tytin Jewelry and owner of a new brick-and-mortar space for independent jewelry designers in Chicago, is the winner of this year’s Carelle-WJA grant.
New York--The winner of this year’s $5,000 Carelle-WJA Grant has big plans for helping independent designers in the Windy City.

Tina Chan, who designs under the brand Tytin Jewelry, just opened a brick-and-mortar space in Chicago where she’ll sell jewelry-making tools and supplies; conduct classes, demonstrations and workshops; and provide a studio space where designers can work on their jewelry, get it photographed, meet with clients and even sell finished pieces.

“Our overall mission is to create community within Chicago’s independent jewelry-making industry,” she said.

A graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chan moved to New York after completing her studies to work in the fashion industry but found that it wasn’t a fit for her. She discovered jewelry when, looking for a new creative outlet, she took a silversmithing class at a neighborhood jewelry studio.

It was in jewelry that Chan found her passion.

She graduated from the GIA’s Applied Jewelry Arts program in 2011, moved back to Chicago and began working for Casting House as a custom client project coordinator and, after a few years, was promoted to CAD designer.

Chan launched her brand, Tytin Jewelry, in 2012. She sells online and exhibits at Chicago-area retail shows. She said she plans to continue releasing small collections twice a year, even as she runs the studio space and store for independent designers.

The first Carelle-WJA Grant went to jewelry designer Lisa Kim, who exhibited in the New Designer Gallery at the JA New York Summer show earlier this week. Another Chicago-based designer, Kelly Jacobson, won last year.

The grant was created in memory of Brooke Tivol McGrath, who a driving force behind the launch of the Carelle brand before she died unexpectedly of a rare blood infection at the age of 28.

Intended to aid in the establishment of a jewelry designer’s business, the merit-based grant is awarded to a WJA member in their first five years of business. It is funded by Carelle and donations to the WJA’s scholarship fund.

All 2015 Carelle-WJA grant submissions were evaluated by a WJA scholarship jury headed by Lisa Slovis Mandel and comprised of members from all over the country representing all levels of the industry.

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