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Object Art: Silver Smithing Worksop

March 10, 2017 at 11:18 PM

Object Art students in Year 11 recently spent a fascinating, intensive weekend learning the art of silver-smithing with artist, Mia Straka at Workshop 6, the work space of a jewellery collective in Kingsland. The weekend course extended the basic skills taught to the students last year at College. 

Object Art is a specialised course that combines the technical skills of Technology with the creative freedom of Visual Art. It offers students the chance to make three-dimensional products that aren’t bound by functionality or a rigid design process. Object Art students work across Technology, Design and Visual Communication and Visual Art curriculums. This cross-disciplinary approach offers the students some unique learning opportunities designed to teach them divergent thinking practices whilst developing a range of technical skills such as basic silver smithing, carpentry, illustration and 3D ideation. The Year 11 Object Art course leads to Sculpture for Years 12 and 13. 

The first major Object Art project for this year required the Year 11 students ‘to make a specified outcome using resistant materials.’ In this instance, multi-materials, including silver, were chosen as the medium with a view to designing and producing a piece of contemporary jewellery – a riveted multi-layered pendant. 

Whilst the task sounds deceptively simple, in reality silver-smithing is a complex process that requires expert tuition and facilities. To follow on from the insight gained last year, and to further develop their knowledge and own skill set, the students were offered this unique opportunity to attend a full weekend course in a practising, dedicated workshop. 

Over two days, students ran through a complex process that relied on their patience, precision and ability to accurately mark, measure and cold join. After the work completed in class last year, the students had already developed a proficient grasp of the basic procedures and the language associated with the craft. Mia continued the work, showing them how to extend these techniques, adding riveting, texturing and machine finishes to their fabrication repertoire. 

By the end of the weekend, a group of tired but proud students had outcomes befitting their hard work, completing a piece of work that would have taken a term in class. Most importantly, the project has provided students with a broader skill set to assist them with their own design outcomes as the academic year progresses. The finished pendants will be displayed in the Jack Paine Centre at the beginning of Term 2. 

Art and Design at the College
Art, Design and Technology courses at the College offer many opportunities to interact with the wider community to support and inform classroom teaching and learning. Our staff actively seek experts to present and work with classes, and where possible, they encourage learning outside the classroom by way of trips and workshops so that students can gain valuable experience first-hand.   

Art and Technology courses become gradually more specialised as the students move through the year groups. Following more generalised courses in the Middle College, students can later elect to study Sculpture, Painting and Printmaking, Photography or Communication Design in the Visual Arts whilst Technology offers avenues as diverse as Digital Technology, Animation and Motion Graphics, Fashion and Textiles Design, Food Technology, Object Art and Product Design. In the Senior College, students also have the opportunity to elect Spatial Design, a ‘sister’ subject to Technology that looks specifically at the design of spaces including contexts such as architecture and landscape design.

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