What’s the one thing more satisfying than silver smithing your own new pair of earrings? Lathering them in a bright dollop of enamel paint.

“Colour has always been a large focus of mine. I strongly believe in dopamine dressing,” says Kate Sale, a celebrated Australian jeweller and tutor of a series of new courses at FAC, focussing on unconventional approaches to contemporary jewellery-making.

“Over many years I have played with so many techniques to find the perfect way to create pieces that tick all the boxes: bold, light weight, durable, unique and fun.”

Kate’s courses are among a swag of new offerings for term two that invite students – from beginners to seasoned visual artists – to explore beyond ‘normal’ approaches to art making.

As well as learning powder coating and jewellery design under Kate’s watchful eye, students can dive into the vivid world of colour theory with nationally respected painter Desmond Sweeney, get their hands dirty with Holly O’Meehan’s hand-building clay objects course, discover block printing and screen printing with Bori Benko, and carve intricate wooden objects with sculptor Greg Miller.

Read on to discover more about these highly anticipated new courses (commencing from 3 May), offering new and surprising ways to expand your creative horizons in the fun and supportive environment of FAC’s studios.

Colour in Action

In this nine-week course, painter, muralist and set designer Desmond Sweeney will delve into the fundamentals of colour theory: why colours are used, their origin, how to mix and harmonise colours to create artworks that are both visually arresting and captivating. Whether it is for your curiosity, for a project, or your own art practice, students will leave this class with an in-depth understanding of colour, learning from popular culture, architecture, fashion, and of course, the many great masters of colour in fine art.

For more information:

Earrings by Kate Sale. Image courtesy of artist

Earrings by Kate Sale. Image courtesy of artist

Contemporary Jewellery Making

Learn from esteemed contemporary jeweller Kate Sale in these new nine-week courses, designed to explore traditional jewellery making techniques with a modern twist. Known for her bright, modern, and very colourful pieces, Kate is constantly on the lookout for new and unconventional ways to craft a piece of jewellery, using a combination of techniques including silver smithing, lost wax, laser engraving, cast in place stone setting, traditional stone setting, powder coating and electroforming.

In this Q&A, Kate – who studied Jewellery at NMIT in Melbourne – shares insights into her practice, inspirations and teaching methodology.

Q&A: Kate Sale 

  1. How did your jewellery making journey begin? Is it something you have always been interested in?
    For as long as I can remember, I was making jewellery for family and friends. As I got older, my passion for jewellery grew. I went to university and became a nurse, but my true love was jewellery. I studied jewellery at night through TAFE and attended many short courses to obtain the knowledge I have today. I am a strong believer of life-long learning and will always attend more jewellery courses to expand my knowledge.
  2. In your own jewellery practice, you are drawn to bold, geometric pieces with lots of colour. What attracts you to this style?
    I have always been a lover of bold jewellery pieces but found many of the pieces that were available to me in ‘mainstream’ fashion were made from plastic or polymer clay. I wanted to create unique and bold pieces that were made from metal, especially sterling silver so that they would be easy for me to wear and would stand the test of time.

Colour has always been a large focus of mine as I strongly believe in dopamine dressing. Wearing bright and colourful jewellery makes me feel happy and people often comment that my jewellery has the same effect on them. Over many years I have played with so many techniques to find the perfect way to create pieces that tick all the boxes that I wanted in jewellery – bold, light weight, durable, unique and fun.

  1. You mention that you like experimenting with unconventional techniques. Could you please detail what these are? Will you be teaching any of these techniques in your classes at FAC?
    Small scale powder coating (not using the traditional industrial methods) is fairly new to jewellery. Through experimenting with this and perfecting the techniques, I have opened a colourful door for my jewellery designs. Playing with this technique and combining it with more traditional jewellery methods has pushed conventional jewellery design limits. Using this modern technology, I have been able to deeply engrave metal with images which can be used to create striking, modern and expressive jewellery.

In traditional jewellery work, jewellers focus on one technique when making a piece. I believe that through combining a myriad of techniques such as silver smithing, lost wax, laser engraving, cast in place stone setting, traditional stone setting, powder coating and electroforming, you can create whatever your heart desires. All these techniques can be explored in my classes.

  1. Delving into the coursework, what does the process of powder coating entail, and how do you go about teaching this in your class?
    Powder coating is a relatively easy process but it takes time to practice. Once you have a piece (or metal of any description really) ready, you heat the piece with a heat gun, quickly dip the piece into the powder, heat the piece again and let it cool. Once cool, you can alter your design or remove any areas of powder that you do not want before putting it in a small oven to bake. To add multiple colours or designs, you can then repeat the process or add enamel paints before sealing the piece with a topcoat.

For more information:

Hand-building Functional Objects in Clay  

In this tactile, hands-on five week course, you’ll become well acquainted with our delightful ceramics studio at FAC. Under the tuition of emerging Western Australian artist Holly O’Meehan, learn to hand build your own organic, functional ceramic objects. Using coil, slab and pinching techniques with clay, design and create your very own ceramic cups, jugs or vases.

For more information:

Wood carving spoons. Image courtesy of Greg Miller

Wood carving spoons. Image courtesy of Greg Miller

An Adventure in Whittling & Wood Carving

Under the guidance of experienced 3D artist Greg Miller, this eight-week course explores the fundamentals of whittling and wood carving including: basic knife skills, how to tattoo wood, 2D and 3D whittling skills, chip carving, relief carving alongside a focus on design and execution. Each week will focus on a small project and object to create, leaving students with a bounty of new skills and artistic creations to take home.

For more information:

Term 2 Adult Art Courses commence Monday 3 May and run weekdays, weekends and nights until Friday 2 July. Browse the full program and enrol at fac.org.au/courses/adults.