Jewelry Instructor Challenges Students With Unusual Materials

Here’s a conundrum: how do you assign homework for a metal jewelry class?

When students don’t have the soldering irons, torches, and saws they need at home, you need to get creative. So Gretchen Raber issues design challenges for her students to keep them thinking all week long: tools and techniques in the classroom, design at home. (Artwork in this post is by Mij Phillips, Barb Guenther, Ayse Sokmen, Maggie Gamboa, Bronwyn Smalley, and Irrum Merrill.)

These challenges use some decidedly different materials, like the refrigerator-tubing necklace you see at the top of this post. Also featured:

“Sometimes, I give them pieces of aluminum to bend into shelves or window screen to make earrings, necklaces or hats. They have gotten pencils to make brooches or necklaces. Once I gave them inserts from an apple crate. Another time inserts from a tool organizer. One of the most bizarre items came from the packing foam that were in blue noodles three feet long which wound up as necklaces.”

Students must use every bit of the material provided and follow a list of constraints.

“Every challenge has resulted in widely differing interpretations,” Raber said. “I love it.”

For more information about jewelry classes at The Art League, see our catalog.

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