Reflection 100: A Century of Metal Arts at CCA

It's been 100 years since instructor Harry Dixon taught the first jewelry and metal arts course at what was then called California School of Arts and Crafts in 1912. One hundred years later, the Jewelry / Metal Arts Program, housed on the historic Oakland campus of California College of the Arts, is one of the oldest and most recognized in the field.

"Jewelry / Metals Arts has thrived at CCA for so long because of our exceptional students and exceptional faculty," says program chair Marilyn da Silva. "Our faculty [members] are so skilled at what they do and genuinely care about the students; it creates a real sense of community in the studio that energizes and supports exciting and ambitious work."

Watch a video promotion for CCA's Jewelry / Metal Arts Program »

Reflection: 100

To honor the centennial, CCA and the Jewelry / Metal Arts Program will host a yearlong series of events, exhibitions, and lectures, collectively coined Reflection: 100, intended to recognize and celebrate CCA's remarkable metalsmithing legacy and its stalwart commitment to teaching the art of craft.

"Reflection: 100 celebrates our community," says da Silva. "The past accomplishments of faculty and alumni who built the program to where it is today, their ongoing contributions to the Bay Area community and their field, and the work of our current students who will soon be joining them as part of the CCA lineage."

Faculty member and alumnus Curtis Arima (BFA Individualized Major 1998) adds: "With a foundation in traditional craft-based techniques, students are encouraged to explore and expand upon traditions to find new ways of working and thinking."

Windgate Fellows
Such a combination of traditional and innovative thinking led to not one but two Jewelry / Metal Arts students (Rachael Nyhus and Alexis Myre) receiving $15,000 Windgate Fellowships in 2010. "Those were the first Windgate Fellowships received by CCA students," adds da Silva.

[CCA alumnus Kaii Tu (BFA Individualized Major 2012) earned a Windgate Fellowship in 2012.]

Opening Reception

Jack da Silva

The Reflection: 100 celebration officially kicks off January 23, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with a special opening reception that will feature a lecture at 7 p.m. by guest artist Jack da Silva, founder of Jack da Silva's Metal Design Studio and longtime organizer of MAKER: Metal Art Workshops and Education, an annual summer metals camp.

Reflection: 100 Exhibition

The main Reflection: 100 exhibition will feature the representative work of Jewelry / Metal Arts faculty and alumni spanning the past 10 decades. The exhibition opens January 24 and runs through February 14.

Among the numerous Jewelry / Metal Arts alumni and faculty featured in the exhibition are the following artists:

Featured CCA Alumni
Anastasia Azure, William Baran-Mickle, Elisa Bongfeldt, Tony Esola, Gilbert "Mike" Holmes (1984), Seung-Hea Lee, Kelly Malec-Kosak, Jaydan Moore (BFA 2008), Victoria Montgomery (BFA 2009), Alexis Myre, Laurel Nathanson, Rachael Nyhus, Miel Margarita Paredes, Claire Sanford, Sayumi Yokouchi (BFA 1996)

Look for a guest lecture appearance by Mike Holmes in fall 2013.

Featured CCA Faculty
Curtis H. Arima, David Cole, Jack da Silva, Marilyn da Silva, Nick Dong, Jo-Anne Donivan, Angela Hennessy, Deborah Lozier, Florence Resnikoff, Marty Streich, Julia Turner, Susan Elizabeth Wood

Both the opening reception and exhibition will take place in the Tecoah Bruce Gallery at the Oliver Art Center on the Oakland campus.

See images of the opening reception »

Lecture Series

Amy Tavern

Metalsmith and studio jeweler Amy Tavern will deliver a lecture, titled "Layer by Layer" Thursday, March 14, from 3 to 4 p.m. on the Oakland campus.

Tavern has received several emerging-artist honors including being named an American Craft Council Searchlight Artist. Her jewelry has been published in numerous books such as New Rings and 500 Silver Jewelry Designs and was featured on the cover of Metalsmith Magazine’s 2012 “Exhibition in Print” edition.

Susie Ganch

Susie Ganch is an associate professor and head of the Metals Program at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She is also the director of Radical Jewelry Makeover, an international traveling community jewelry mining and recycling project. Join us Tuesday, April 2, from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.

Mike Holmes

Events will continue throughout the year and conclude fall 2013, with an open house, more exhibitions, and a lecture by CCA alumnus Mike Holmes (co-owner of Velvet da Vinci in San Francisco).

(See the Jewelry / Metal Arts calendar of events for specific information about each event, including last-minute changes.)

Studying Craft Remains Essential to an Arts Education

"As technology increasingly takes over our lives," explains faculty member Deborah Lozier, "there is no replacement for 'hands-on' learning. When I get design students in my classes, I am so excited for them. Taking a metals class gives them such an edge. They understand the properties and processes from the inside out and can use this knowledge to be better designers, because they cannot design with principles they do not know exist. Understanding materials needs to happen directly, by experiencing cause and effect. There is no app for handmade."

Finding the Artist's Voice

CCA's Jewelry / Metal Arts Program encourages personal expression through the creation of jewelry, functional objects, and sculpture. Students have the opportunity to explore a variety of processes and materials through courses taught by nationally and internationally renowned faculty. It builds on a foundation of traditional and contemporary metalsmithing practices to engage students and challenge them to discover their artistic voice.

"As professors we all try to help the students find their artistic voice in an unique and individual way," explains Arima. "Their voices are directed by each student and guided and pushed by the faculty. The students graduate with a portfolio that will help them to the next place -- whether it be grad school, their own business, etc."

"Jewelry / Metal Arts is part of a living legacy of craft at CCA," states da Silva. "We combine exceptional instruction in the fundamentals of the medium with innovative upper-level workshops that invite students to address contemporary conceptual, social, and environmental issues through craft processes. Students leave with such a strong foundation technically, conceptually, and intellectually. We don't just teach the how, we focus on the why of making.

"Our strong legacy is demonstrated by the work of our students, faculty, and alumni. Our students never cease to amaze us with their innovative approaches, creativity, and passion for the field."

Mark Your Calendar

Join us for a year of Reflection: 100 and see how the college's goals and vision remain as deeply committed to craft today as they were a century ago.

Follow the Jewelry / Metal Arts calendar of events throughout the year for up-to-date event information.

Support for this exhibition is provided by the Society of North American Goldsmiths and Tecoah Bruce (Painting/Drawing 1974, MAEd 1979) and Thomas Bruce.