Every artist is in search of new and creative material and experiences that will inform their own individual creative expression. This kind of exposure undoubtedly impacts classroom instruction.
This, my second APT summer travel grant experience (the first was ten years ago/2004 when I traveled to LaMerridana International Ceramics School in Certaldo, Italy) has taken me to Ubud-pronounced OooBooD, Bali the artist cultural capital of Indonesia.
For the past week I have attended a silversmithing class at Studio Perak-Courses in jewelry Making Fresh Design in Silver in the heart of Bali.
At Studio Perak (Perak means Silver) the owner Pak Ketut personally instructs each three-hour course for approximately six students working at individual stations each equipped with its own set of tools.
The workshop is designed to introduce the novice to traditional Balinese jewelry making techniques. The process requires the use of traditional hand tools (file, drill, pliers of varying sizes, and tweezers) to facilitate individual creative expression.
Two main silversmithing approaches are offered and vary between cutting directly into a silver slab of metal with a hand saw to wrapping silver wire, around a form. Each student is encouraged to create an original design or to use one of Ketut’s as a point of departure. Either way, everyone is afforded the option of enhancing their design by stamping or carving a surface texture into the metal or incorporating semi-precious stones to accentuate their creation.
Polishing and sanding the final piece of jewelry were the only required tasks that demanded electricity; otherwise, hard work and effort determined the outcome of each day. In all I created one ring, a pair of earrings, one pendants, a bracelet and a broach, not bad for a beginner as this is my very first experience making jewelry and working with silver.
This series of silver jewelry is taken from a design motif I created to use as a signature for my ceramic work. There are three major components: head, upper and lower torso. The beads symbolize hair and in totality represent a happy girl. I was challenged to work with plat or otherwise linear material that requires assemblage-torching with a blowpipe. I also had to figure out a way to encase the design for functionality.