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I would like to poll the readership for any they can
supply. Those of you who are teaching in an art program or have
taken jewelry courses.

There is a move to add a prerequisite to both entry level
jewelry and ceramics classes at our institution. Currently only
courses such as painting, sculpture, graphic design, etc. have
them. Many students enroll in the jewelry and ceramics courses
as an elective and are non art majors. They become our better
students in many cases even though they have no background in art
or design. I believe that 3 extra classes (drawing, 2d&3d
design) will discourage most students who would enroll. I can
agree that art majors need the background for a degree sequence,
but it would seem to add an additional hardship to non-majors.

Many of my students come for the bench skills/training and are
not interested in a degree. I encourage them as I have a program
geared toward private jewelry practice much more than higher
education/graduate school.

Your comments and opinions are welcome. Please respond to me
off line so as not to clog this forum. Thank you.

Tim Glotzbach


I have always felt that a design course should be a prerequesit to
jewelry. So many of my students love the thought of making jewelry,
but when you encourage them to draw up some designs, they freeze
up. They just don’t have basic design skills. When I was first
taking jewelry, my instructor demanded that we draw up our designs
prior to executing them. I hated it, I just wanted to make
jewelry. How about having a prereq. class of design just for
jewelry… I think it would be very valuable… If i was
wanting to do this as a hobby, I would NOT take a 2d, 3d and
drawing prior to jewelry.


Here we go again…the academic community is gonna try to
institutionalize the creation of jewelry. Whoopee! If you’re
studying to be a designer, basic design courses really are
necessary. If you’re more interested in bench skills, a design
course should not be a necessary prerequisite. As your skills
improve and broaden, you may want to take those courses…but to
refuse to admit someone who hasn’t taken drawing 101 is just plain
silly. Much more important is basic training in the use and
maintenance of tools and equipment,safety procedures, shop
"manners", and the properties of the materials you are working
with. Perhaps jewelry studies should be divided into two
philosophical camps: “Jewelry as ART” and “Jewelry as CRAFT” The
former would emphasize the aesthetic and spiritual qualities of
ornament, while the latter would deal with the practical and
technical means of translating those lofty concepts into a wearable
construction. In any event, some talent should be the sole
prerequisite. To analogize; You can take a thousand credits of
music…but.If you have a tin ear, you’ll never make the choir.


Dear Deewo, Oh dear! Don’t all God’s chilluns got a brain AND
hands? What is it with this this continual determination to
separate the manual from the mental? Is it a Fine Arts thing? It
certainly has no currency amongst real jewellers. Wouldn’t it be
loverlee… if we stopped making this essentially artificial
distinction and simply used ALL our wonderful, God-given (or
Whatever) faculties. Regards, Rex from Oz


Tim: My off the cuff reaction, as a jewelry maker who studied in
untraditional ways, is not to burden new people with design courses
before they have bench skills. I think that developing good
technical skills will lead a person to become interested in design
( and rendering) as it makes sense and they begin to design their
own jewelry. So that should come later, and they should be
encouraged to take such courses, not required. Sandra

 .but to refuse to admit someone who hasn't taken drawing 101 is
just plain silly. 

I can’t draw worth a darn . . .well, ya, I can if I try BUT, I
cannot do designs on paper. I look at stones that I have available
and build a design around the stone. The designs on paper have
never worked for me, it always looks totally different than what
was intended. I cannot reproduce a piece twice (similar, but with
obvious differences!)

One doesn’t have to know how to draw to create beautiful pieces of
wearable art.


Hi Tim! My only comment on this is: In Europe, all crafts are
preceeded by a thorogh education in the arts. It is the main
reason that we so much admire the workmanship and designs coming
from Europe. We here in America just want to do the craftsmanship,
and low and behold, the reason in Europe even a simple hinge or
doorknob is really a work of art. Take a quick look at everything
around you, chairs, tables, equipment, most of which is sometimes
so badly designed it isn’t even functional. Example, all those
dumb, shiney, round door knobs. Just try it with arthritis or a
wet hand. Over there, they are oval, or a handle. This is a stand
on my soap box issue for me.

However, I think the basic problem goes way back in our education
system. Why are you afraid of drawing? Because some teacher
took all that wonderful curiousity and wonder out of you before you
even reached the age of ten. Show me a two year old with a crayon
who isn’t just full of excitment and joy. Fortunately, I was one
of the lucky ones, or just too stubborn to listen to teachers.

What we need is a remedial re-traning program, put back the joy
of expressing ourselves on a simple piece of paper. It’ OK to
throw it away, I often do 50-100 drawings before I get what I
really want to express. Most of you want to sit down, draw a
finished design on your first piece of paper. Well, it really
doesn’t happen to even the best designers. The 50-100 sketches I
do, may only take, an hour or less. This is the expand your brain
and really let go and have a blast time. Time to refine your
design later. Details must always come last, after the main
concept of balance and porportion is expressed. Then the real
problem, is that you haven’t been trained to in all its
porportions, detail and color before you begin. It’s not practice,
but FUN, FUN AND MORE FUN. I’ll try to cut this short, as I can
get very winded on this subject. Pat

The severity of the itch is proportional to the reach. :wink:


I am the same. I need to see the actual stuff, not the pictures.
This has gotten me into trouble with teachers who are heavy into
the graphic arts and insist on renderings before construction.

  is not to burden new people with design courses before they
have bench skills.  I think that developing good technical skills
will lead a person to become interested in design 

I have seen too many students waste good metal developing good
technical skills on a piece of jewelry that looks poor when
complete. Students should learn how to implement a decent design
so all the technical skills will produce an item that the student
will be proud of, not disappointed. IMHO as an instructor.


Who there! Speaking for grade school art teachers, I say that you
are assuming that all grade school art teachers are the same based
on your own experience. How many  different art teachers did
you have in your grade school career? OK OK, I’ll quit grumping
and hope that I’ve made my point. I will say that some teachers
are very clear about what they will or will not put up in their

Reminding Orchid members that those of us who do not live in the US
have asked that we give some orientation as to what our state
abbreviations mean.

Marilyn Smith, east of the
Mississippi and west of the Smoky Mountins, Indiana, USA



Marilyn: Ouch! Sorry, I guess I over reacted. But when my very
creative son was in grade school, the teacher held up his
drawing of a tree in class to explain that <that isn’t the way it
should be done> They were to copy it to be just like she showed
them on the blackboard! Hopefully there are more teachers
today than there were then. My point being that USA doesn’t really
pay enough attention to design. At least not what I
generally see, but there are inroads being made. Looking at the
array of catalogs arriving by mail daily, there are some that seem
to have gotten the idea that if we have to live with stuff, it
should be functional AND pleasing to our environment and eye.
Sorry if I ruffled some feathers, my humblest apologies. Pat