Watershed School at The Steel House
This elective course is for upper level students who have taken a minimum of the Intro to Art/Design or an equivalent course from another school. Students will be introduced to a variety of techniques and processes throughout the semester. Following several short assignments, each student will create a project proposal and timeline which will conclude with an end of the semester exhibition to be held at the Steel House. Students may work on individual projects with the option for a group proposal.
This course is intended to develop a creative process that builds upon the fundamentals discovered in the prerequisite course. This process may include research, prototyping and user-testing or investigations in materials, mediums and the expression of unique and original content. A successful student will be highly motivated and process-driven. Project proposals should clearly outline a mission statement or intent, followed by a series of steps or checkpoints prior to completion of a final piece. Participation in group discussions and critiques will be critical for the development of each student.
Students will be assigned selected readings including such topics as Italian Futurism, Russian Constructivisim and other historically relevant periods of art and design.
In this course, students will explore a wide range of traditional and contemporary technologies from 3-d scanning and printing to collaging, stenciling and interactive design.
A lecture and workshop series from visiting artists and designers will include the following
Lee Zamir: Director, New Business Development Lab; Bose Corporation
Ariel Hall: Performance Artist, MOMA NYC
Esteban Del Valle: NYC muralist and Skowhegan fellow
Suzette McAvoy: Director, Center for Maine Contemporary Art
Foundational Skills addressed:
planning: determine purpose; choose and scope topic; provide effective visuals, word choice, transitions
delivery: clear articulation, varied delivery; language appropriate to audience; visuals employed effectively; effective non-verbal behavior
Students in this course will become familiar with the dynamics of a group critique. Here they will be required to articulate their creative process and decision making and to defend the ideas behind their design/art intentions. In addition they must provide constructive, thoughtful and descriptive criticism to their peers.
6. Visual representation
Render ideas in 2 and 3 dimensions employing basic drawing skills -- representation, perspective, layout, emphasis, measurement -- and basic three dimensional modeling skills
Building upon the foundations of visual representation from the Intro to Art/Design course, students will expand their skills to visually represent original ideas in a variety of mediums.
7. Design and Engineering Process
This skill refers to the activities required to go from idea to manifestation of that idea. This includes process tools such as flow charts, concept development visuals, drafting plans, modeling or prototype construction, testing, redesign etc. Basic tool use: fastening, cutting, boring, squaring, plumbing, leveling, disassembly/reassembly..
9.Digital Tool Use and Literacy
Effectively find, use, summarize, evaluate, create, and communicate information using computer hardware, software, the Internet, and handheld devices.
cloud-based documents, group editing
visual, video and sound editing
familiarity with basic programming, 3D drawing and printing
This course begins with an introduction to 3d printing and scanning. Some students will be working on projects that require some coding and digital manipulation using our brand new Mac lab.
10. Social Interaction
A. collaboration (effective team-work, group decision-making)
C. community development
D. social media issues
E. basic social skills
F. listening and providing feedback
11. Personal Strength and Resilience
A. study/life skills (organization, Cornell notes, time management, planning and setting goals)
D. basic social skills
E. listening and providing feedback
F. ethical decision-making
G. stress management
H. generic skills of the valued employee
During this semester we will begin by exploring computer aided design software. The major project will be to model a ukulele using Sketchup. As time permits, students will be able to design, model in sketchup and print on a 3-d printer something of their own design.
Free Sketchup software.
Foundational Skills addressed:
7. Design and Engineering Process
This skill refers to the activities required to go from idea to manifestation of that idea. This includes process tools such as flow charts, concept development visuals, drafting plans, modeling or prototype construction, testing, redesign etc. Basic tool use: fastening, cutting, boring, squaring, plumbing, leveling, disassembly/reassembly.
Students spend time working to understand how to measure and model a ukulele in Sketchup.
9. Digital Tool Use and Literacy
E. familiarity with basic programming, 3D drawing and printing Effectively find, use, summarize, evaluate, create, and communicate information using computer hardware, software, the Internet, and handheld devices.
Students will leave the course with a good working knowledge of sketchup and how to go about generating a 3D model of a physical object.
Beginning Metalsmithing I
Instructor: Philip Gerard
What is metalsmithing?
The term metalsmith refers to artisans who practice their craft using many different metals, including “tin,” gold, copper, brass, bronze, and silver. Jewelers often refer to their craft as metalsmithing, and many universities offer degree programs in metalsmithing, jewelry, and blacksmithing under the auspices of their fine arts programs.
At Watershed the focus will be on learning and practicing basic metalworking skills associated with designing and fabricating jewelry, tinwork, small sculpture, or sall practical objects.
There will be assignments to learn basic skills and then students will start projects and learn more advanced skills as they go along.
Watershed does not have a full scale metalsmithing shop and has only the most basic of the tools usually found in a well-equipped metalsmithing teaching studio. We will be “making do” and improvising as best we can.
Watershed will provide copper, “nugold,” nickel silver, iron or steel, and a small amount of light-gauge silver wire. Additional metals, especially silver for individual student projects, may be requested and ordered after students gain basic skills. Students will be responsible for paying for these additional metals before they can be ordered. We will not work with gold in this class.
Be productive: you are expected to be working - not talking with other students, eating, or doing other schoolwork.
Absolutely NO FOOLING around: there are very hot things, sharp tools, acids and other potentially dangerous things at play in this class. If you fool around (any physical playfulness or activity other than metalsmithing) ONCE, your attendance in the class will be cancelled permanently and you will not receive credit. You can only be young once, but you can be immature forever – metalsmithing is not an activity for the immature.
Clean-up: You are responsible for making sure that the entire metalsmithing area is clean and tools put away by the end of each class. This means that EVERYONE stays to attend to cleanup until tools, projects, and any wastes are put away. You may leave personal tools or materials or other mess “out” once – then no credit.
Don’t waste metals: silver and copper are extracted from the earth, often at great social and environmental expense. They are also deserving of respect simply because they are beautiful and a significant part of human history.
Requirements for Credit
a). Be on time. You may be late 2 times, and then I'll talk with your parents. Late again: no credit.
b). No more than 8 excused absences.
2- Complete a minimum of 4 minor projects and 1 major project (to the teacher’s satisfaction). Expected minor projects all students must complete can be any four of the following:
a soldered chain;
a finger ring;
a pierced, layered, and soldered piece;
a soldered twisted wire piece,
a forged, distorted piece;
a rub-over setting for cabochon stone
The “minor projects” listed above may be incorporated into/onto pendants, rings, brooches, earrings, barrettes, zipper-pulls, cufflinks, etc.
Major projects, requiring 6 or more class periods, may be initiated only after the minimum number of minor projects are completed. The teacher must accept a design for the major project piece --rendered by hand and to scale, with all details displayed-- before the student may begin fabricating a major project.
The big picture - general concepts or skills to be aware of, or to practice:
There are no shortcuts. In the long run it takes longer to do bad work. Take the time to be meticulous: with planning, with measurement, with your paper designs and transfers, with sawing and filing, set-up for soldering, and with every part of the process. The marks of craftsmanship have their own beauty, independent of design. Good design and good craftsmanship are our ultimate goals.
Try to plan out and think through all of the steps necessary for a finished piece - before getting started. This makes it so that it’s less likely that you’ll be frustrated along the way.
Patience is a primary ingredient in becoming a craftsman. If (or when) you get frustrated ask yourself, “What can I learn from this to increase my understanding and abilities as a craftsman.”
Ultimately, creativity and artistry are offspring of skill and understanding.
During the first 8 weeks of the class we will focus on practicing the skills listed on the next page (through basic soldering). During the final 8 weeks we will refine those skills and be introduced to several more
Metalsmithing I - Skills list
Design - Ideas sketchbook, Inspiration! (Observation of the world: shapes, textures patterns…) then basic concept sketches, then scale, texture, metal color decisions, then drawing to scale or draw large and scale on copier.
Transfers (how to mark metal for cutting) - scribing, paper design with measurements, simple transfer of design measurements by scribing, paper templates with glue (versus tape), use of copier (enlarging/reducing), maintaining master copies, acetone transfer.
Use of the jeweler’s saw- blade and frame selection, fitting and tensioning the blade, use of wax, effective hand position, careful hand clamping of metal, inside and outside cutting, backing up blade, acute inside angles, not breaking blade, importance of accurate sawing.
Drilling - center punch, selecting bit size, drilling by steps, use of hand and power drills
Filing - file types, firm positioning of work, lifting file away after each forward movement, sweeping motions to blend file marks, avoiding file clogging, cleaning files, charging with chalk
Sanding - grades of sandpaper, sanding positions, making emery sanding sticks
Power grinding and buffing - always test/practice first, safety
Buffing- Power buffing safety, Tripoli and rouge, avoiding cross contamination, hand buffing, avoiding wheel grabs (burnishing to remove scratches)
Annealing - how to anneal wire and plate, re-annealing after work hardening
Work hardening - creating "spring," re-hardening
Cold forging, dapping, stamping - importance of annealing, working metal "out" from center, avoiding damage
Forming links/Jump rings - sawing clean joins, closing and soldering rings
Basic Soldering- importance of clean joins, preparing piece and cutting paillons, lighting torch, selecting tip and flame size, effective heating, when to stop, quenching, safety
Pickling - when, how, different pickles
Wire twisting - annealing, evenness
Finger rings - sizing, forming, soldering
Soldering techniques II - use of solder pick, soldering very small to larger objects, stick solderin
Metalsmithing II - Expectations
Metalsmithing II builds on the first semester introduction. Students will continue to refine their basic skills while they learn new techniques.
Participants will need to complete assignments which will help develop new techniques. In addition to developing fabrication skills, drafting and pattern-making skills will be emphasized. Students will be expected to involve other students in constructive design critiques before proceeding to work with metal.
a complex (not simply a uniform round or oval linked) chain;
a clean finger ring showing excellent craftsmanship, made to someone’s exact, predetermined, size
a burnished bezel setting for stone
a closed container with a hinged or flanged lid
Plus at least two from the following
Filigree or sawn/layered figure
anything involving several uniformly domed elements
a ring with a moveable element
a uniformly raised vessel with a rolled edgeMaterial Costs:
Watershed will provide copper, “nugold,” nickel silver, iron or steel, and a small amount of light-gauge silver wire. Additional metals, especially silver for individual student projects, may be requested and ordered after students gain basic skills. Students will need to pay for additional metals before they can be ordered. We will not work with gold in this class.
Watershed now has only the most basic of the tools and workspaces found in an equipped metalsmithing shop. We will be “making do” and improvising as best we can. However - remember that craftspeople don’t blame their tools!
No scarves or dangling necklaces, No bare feet, Hair should be pulled back in a braid or with a tie, All hot metals must remain at the soldering bench unless EVERYONE is warned in advance and then a loud “HOT METAL” is announced before moving from the bench.
Progress Objectives: Begin or continue to develop skills is theses areas:
Use of the jeweler’s saw: cutting to the line!
Drilling: should be an easy process
Use of the flex shaft: grinding, buffing, drilling
Cold forging, dapping, stamping
Forming links/Jump rings
Soldering technique II-
Tentative Schedule: Week ending Friday:
January 11 - Introduction, continue unfinished work…..
January 18 –soldering II: testing for clean metal, bushy and hot flames, oxidation and importance of quick soldering “clean-up captains”
January 25 - Value of paper and mock-up design, uses of flux, low temp solder, pickling,
February 1 – Settings (regular and irregular stones, other objects!)
February 8 - (Fri Quebec Trip) Pattern technique (p119 Gollberg)
February 15 - Solder inlay (p125 Gollberg)
February 18 - 22 (February Break)
March 1 -soldered inlay (p129 Gollberg)
March 8 – Casting: cuttlefish bone and sand casting
March 15- other types of stone settings
March 22- the hinge
March 29 – basics of creating a metal box
April 5 – riveting
April 12 – FINAL PROJECT IDEAS DUE
April 15 - 19 (April Break)
April 22 – June 3: Complete all work in progress
June 8- Exhibit