PALESTINIAN STUDENT Leen Khalaf Borno at her bench; she uses Islamic calligraphic imagery in her work. She is now a BFA candidate in the jewelry and metalsmithing department.

Texas Metals Symposium

lifelong learning


Education in the crafts, like all learning, consists of formal and informal aspects. Last fall, the Metals Club, the Student Government Association and Landmark Arts Gallery sponsored another Texas Jewelry Design and Metalsmithing Symposium at Texas Tech University (TTU) in Lubbock, Texas, on October 22, with student recruitment opportunities on the days prior and after. The four presenters were a mix of academics, a studio jeweler and a writer/photographer; the jewelry/metalsmithing professors spoke about their work and careers (Paulette Myers, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville; Kathleen Browne, Kent State University), while Deb Stoner, a studio artist, designer and teacher from Santa Fe, New Mexico, discussed designing and making spectacles in a very entertaining and informative manner. Myers, who studied with Alma Eikerman and was the late Heikki Seppa’s first graduate student, had strong references to Brazil and Korea in her vessels and jewelry. Browne came from a background of ceramics, including fashion jewelry, then went back at age thirty to study metals at San Diego State University. Having had a varied and rich repertoire of work, her latest pieces reflect her interest in natural history, some done during a residency in a Prague castle. I spoke on Careers, Lifelong Learning and Adaptation, which stressed the importance of applying and adapting what one learns throughout life to evolving jobs. With the current economic climate, it was important to impart some real life experiences. In my case, it meant changing from a biomedical research scientist to a photographer, writer/publisher and maker of wearable craft.

While this was a small conference, students of the TTU jewelry/metalsmithing department, students and faculty from other schools in the state and the jewelry community interacted strongly in their superb facility and at offsite social events. Our hosts, represented by Professors Robly Glover and Nancy Slagle and their students, especially those in the Metals Club, provided attendees a good introduction to the amazing state-of-the-art teaching facilities of their school (new jewelry design/metalsmithing areas dating from 2008), perhaps the most impressive I have seen in about four decades of visiting university-level schools that taught metals. For example, MFA candidate Kristopher Leinen uses and teaches CAD, using Artcam Pro, and CNC, both of which he had learned in his previous job with a high-end jeweler.



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