Evening art classes start in February
Art 185: Metalwork and Jewelry I and Art 186: Metalwork and Jewelry II is being offered in two separate sections. One is offered in the evening on Mondays and Wednesday from 5:30-8:45 p.m. starting on Feb. 1. This section is taught by Lisa Costello. The other section is in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-11:45 a.m. This section started on Jan. 12 and is taught by Denise Seif.
According to Seif, for students to take Art 185, they did not need any prior knowledge of metalworking. She says Art 185 and 186 is an artistic metalworking class, but she thinks anyone interested in metalworking should take the class. The material learned in the class can be applied as a jeweler but also in fields such as fashion, industrial design, museum studies, product design, wearable design, or in other fields. When Seif took metalwork and jewelry at the University of Illinois as an art history major, it changed her career choice.
According to Costello, “The class is structured so that you do not need any previous experience before taking the Beginning Metals Class. Once you have taken the beginning class then you graduate to the Metalworking and Jewelry II class. So you learn skills, develop those skills and apply them to the work. So each assignment incorporates new techniques and builds on existing ones that have already been learned.”
Costello says students learn how to work with non-ferrous metals, which is metal that doesn’t contain iron. The traditional materials that are used are copper, brass, and nickel. Sometimes students work in silver, but that is once they get a feel for working with the tools and understand more of the various processes. Students learn to fabricate in metals using silver soldering techniques. They learn to sat, pierce, anneal, form, solder, rivet, patinas, set cabochon stones, and texture metal.
According to Ruta Rauber, a metalworking and jewelry student, a patina is a way “of adding color to metal using chemicals, heat, oils, and other methods.”
Seif, said in the newly renovated studio of Room C187, there are many more techniques being offered to the students and more students can take the class. Students can do their work at their desk. There is a workbench for soldering. There is a room for advanced techniques such as annealing, patinas, and riveting.
Students also learn non-metal working skills. Seif says students often learn patience and problem solving from metalworking. One of Costello’s favorite projects in the course is called the Architectural Bracelet. This project teaches students to do research by going to the library, taking photos, or somehow developing a better understanding of architecture. A specific time period, architect, or type of architecture can influence this.
“It can even be organic, say something like a wasp nest or DNA.” Seif said.
Seif says many students find it “fascinating” to see how much they can manipulate metal. She adds, many students find the way you make metal into a fluid-like form intriguing. Seif says that many students enjoy the project where they emboss the metal with any item from paper to baby hair. To many students, the process of casting the metal seems almost “magical.” Seif herself finds it fascinating how students take the techniques learned in the class and make something unique.
“You really have to think about the design and construction of the piece [of metal] and how you’re going to get to the final step. It’s about you and a stiff piece of metal and how you are going to get it to do what you want it to do. You begin to have a dialogue with the metal and over time, you slowly get it to bend to your will. There are failures and setbacks, but in the end, you come out of the course with truly unique pieces,” Rauber said.
A current and past metalwork and jewelry student named Joan Gary says her favorite projects have involved setting stones “
“I have made pendants, pins, and even serving spoons containing orthoceras, a stone made of stone, or some other non-faceted stone. My most unusual piece would have to be the small Inuit figure I made over the course of many semesters,” Gary said.
Rauber says her favorite project was when she made three brooches.
“It took a year from the time I sketched my pieces and learned how to curl, bend and undulate the metal to finishing the final brooch. There were times when it was frustrating. Now that the brooches are done, there is a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I’m looking forward to wearing my metal creations,” Rauber said.