Inside the Classroom: Academy Jewelry

Punahou offers Academy students the unique opportunity to create their own hand-made wearable art and metal designs in the jewelry studio, housed in the Samuel and Mary Castle Art Center’s upper level.

“Our classes cover not only fabrication but also design, and students build on their creative problem-solving ability through exploration of metalsmithing techniques. In that way, students play the role of master craftsperson by taking each project from idea to tangible object,” said Calvin Lac, Academy Art Instructor.  

In the Jewelry 1 course, students bring their designs to life through metalsmitthing copper, brass, bronze and silver, and such techniques as sawing; soldering; the lost wax technique, which is wax sculpting for metal casting; and stone setting. Projects include creating a bronze charm using the lost wax technique, a silver bezel-set stone pedant, a metal bookmark and a student-designed ring.

Students build on these lessons in the Jewelry 2 course to create more complex and ornate items, such as a signet ring formed from a flat sheet of metal. Students learn the lost wax technique for silver, using a plastic-like wax that’s carved rather than molded like clay, as it is for bronze. At the end of class, students take come their beautiful miniature works of art that they can wear or use for years to come.

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