Metalsmithing offers a hands-on art class


A photo of a hair brooch Ms. Novak created for sale, which can be found on her website.

By Payton Jarzyna, Reporter

Walking into a metalsmithing classroom, students would be seen working with wire, stone setting rings, and using hammers to texture metal.

Metalsmithing can be used to make a wide array of pieces, including decorative or functional objects.

“Metalsmithing can be jewelry,” said Ms. Novak, an LTAC art teacher and the metalsmithing teacher next year. “It can be wearable, it can be functional, such as objects like bowls, tea infusers, spoons, flatware, and tableware.”

Ms. Novak is a metalsmith by trade and also has a background in illustration, drawing and painting. She became interested in metalsmithing while earning her teaching degree at Northeastern.

“All of my 2D strengths, such as drawing, were incorporated my graphic design capabilities were able to come through doing processes such as etching,” Novak said. “Metalsmithing complemented my own strengths as a person.”

Metalsmithing allows people to utilize all different types of materials and utensils. People can sculpt, construct and shape metal into many distinct forms.

“Metalsmithing has, to me, a bit more permanence than a piece of paper,” Ms. Novak said. “In order to destroy something that’s based on a metal, you really have to intend to end whatever form it’s taking on whereas, with a paper or a painting, it’s so delicate.”

Titled Metalsmithing 1, this class would teach many skills such as sawing, piercing, texturing and learning how to form a metal so that it can be worn or utilized.

Students will be taught how to make different forms of jewelry such as rings, bracelets, pendants and earrings. They will also be taught how to make more functional objects such as spoons, forks and bowls.

“If you were to register for a metalsmithing class you would learn how to use metalsmithing handsaws, drills,” Ms. Novak said.

Metalsmithing used to be a class taught at Lane but was removed after the instructor left. It will make its debut as an option for the 2019-2020 school year. Having no permanent space assigned yet, the class will most likely be taught on the first floor in a converted shop room near many other art classes, Novak said.

“It seems interesting because you get to create things and learn about the chemical behavior of metal,” said Isabel Sobolewski, Div. 55. “It could possibly help me if I choose to take printmaking.”

Novak said that the administration is excited about how metalsmithing can cross over to other courses such as the robotics department or printmaking because of the techniques and materials the classes would incorporate in their curriculums.

“Metalsmithing is one of those media where though there is a deep tradition to it, it is also very flexible in the idea of becoming a new media or a 3D printed media or a 3D modeled media,” Novak said.

Other students are interested in metalsmithing because of how rare and different it is.

“I think metalsmithing is super unique and not a lot of schools offer it,” said Maggie Winston, Div. 068. “It’s really cool that Lane is offering it as a class.”

Novak said that metalsmithing can be expensive because of the tools and materials it requires, which explains why it is not as common in other schools.

There is the possibility of a Metalsmithing 2 class being offered next year, but Metalsmithing 1 will for sure be offered in the 2019 course registration.