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Breaking glass and making it into something new is one of Michelle Atkinson’s (New Media Production and Design ’03) favourite past times. As the founder and artisan behind Jewelnotes, the SAIT grad creates jewelry, home décor and one-of-a-kind art with the delicate material.
When she’s not in her art studio, Atkinson works as a Creative Specialist for SAIT, where she is credited for being the visual lead behind many of the institute’s initiatives and publications, including, the SAIT Centennial project, SAIT Giving Day and sait.ca/link. In the last two years alone, she has won 14 international design awards for her work.
The Calgary artist credits her drive to her father, Roger Atkinson, who worked as a millwright, welder and machinist throughout his life. So when she decided to set up a SAIT student award in his honour, it was fitting to bring all of her worlds together.
“I’ve always understood the value of hands-on learning and that, with hard work, anything is possible, because of my dad,” says Atkinson. “That’s why I chose to study at SAIT in the first place and it’s why the Atkinson Family Award supports students who are following a similar career path as him.”
The Atkinson Family Award will provide $1,000 to a first-year Industrial Mechanic (Millwright) student and will be handed out for the next three years beginning in fall 2019. Atkinson raised $2,000 through the sale of Jewelnotes glass ornaments, which she made out of salvaged glass from old office windows.
Atkinson says her ornaments represent hope and renewal, something that is also reflected in the meaning behind the award. In 2014, her father suffered a stroke that left him unable to build or create with his hands.
“That experience got me thinking a lot about mortality,” Atkinson says. “I’m not having kids, so I tried to think of other ways I could honour my father and my family. At first, I thought I’d eventually create a memorial award, but then I realized it was silly to wait until he wasn’t around anymore.
“This is another way I can connect my dad back to something he loves.”
Glass ornaments and other recycled glass items can be purchased through jewelnotes.ca, with all profits supporting the Atkinson Family Award.
Learn how your donation can make an impact in the lives of SAIT students.
Like this story? Michelle Atkinson is one of many SAIT grads who made a difference in their industry or their community in 2018. These are our favourite alumni moments of 2018.