Jewelry students learn discipline by design
Jake Janowski gets an opinion about his jewelry piece from Emma Wille of LaGrange Park. Students in a second semester jewelry-making class at Lyons Township High School do a lot of independent work on their projects. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Jewelry and metal sculpture will be among the pieces on display at the Lyons Township High School Spring Art Show in the Corral building at the south campus, 4900 S. Willow Springs Road, Western Springs.
Artworks in a variety of media will be on display from 3 to 5 p.m. April 26, 27 and 30 with a reception for student artists that evening from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The display continues from 3 to 5 p.m. May 1-4 with weekend viewing offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 28 and May 5 and from noon to 4 p.m. April 29 and May 6, the last day of the exhibit.
Updated: May 27, 2012 8:07AM
The intermediate jewelry and metalsmithing class at Lyons Township High School isn’t just for producing a lovely piece of jewelry or metal sculpture. Rather, it’s a test of one’s mettle.
Western Springs junior Acadia Floyd admits to a bit of frustration, at times, with materials and processes that don’t always cooperate with her vision.
“I decided this stone looked like a candle flame, and the shape reminded me a petal,” Floyd said during her class. “I came up with a design for a fire flower.”
But after submerging the metal frame with delicate flames on the sides in acid to oxidize the pendant, the art student noticed some of her design had been eaten away.
“The metal is really thin. I had to replace the bezel cup, which holds the stone, and the finding, or hole for the necklace,” she said. “It was a long process with parts that kept falling off and breaking.”
But Floyd is just as quick to say how much she enjoys the class and is committed to acquiring supplies and designing jewelry at home.
“It’s fun to make, and now that it’s done, it feels pretty good,” she said.
Floyd’s experience, reflective of many of her classmates’ similar struggles, underscores the value of the class, said art teacher Matthew Brod.
“This class can be challenging in terms of patience and fine motor skills to manipulate metal,” Brod said. “There’s a lot of frustration in the beginning jewelry and metalsmithing class, but these students knew what they were signing up for.
“They embrace problem solving and complex relationships. These are the future engineers.”
Several students said they haven’t zeroed in on a career, but they’re enjoying the class as a means of self discovery and expression.
“It’s a nice chance to relax,” said Countyside junior Jake Janowski as he worked on a design of a phoenix in copper and brass. “It’s good to be able to have a wide range of experiences.”
Countryside junior Lotie Tito, who is considering a career in art, said the class has helped her to persevere.
“I took an intermediate ceramics course last semester and I’m used to seeing the results right away,” Tito said. “With this class, you have to look at each piece individually and have to think about where each piece is going, but the end result is worth it.”
La Grange junior Annie Boland said she likes the problem-solving aspect of the class.
“If something you originally planned doesn’t work, you have to come up with new ideas,” she said.
“It’s very time consuming; some pieces take seven to nine weeks,” Brod said. “But then, jewelry is a labor of love.”