Art is a Rewarding Process


A tree made from copper wire crafted by Izzy Miller.

Art is a form of expression. It’s a way for people to showcase their capabilities, emotions, and creativity. Many students in our school have a desire to turn their love for art into a career. Fortunately, art is one of the three tenants that our school fosters among academics and athletics.

Every year, Mrs. Mack’s Portfolio Prep Class participates in an activity called “Artist in Residency” where students learn new skill sets from people in different art careers. “Every year the Mcfeely-Rogers Foundation supports our program and allows the students to look further into possible art careers. Portfolio Prep is a class for students who want to pursue art and it develops their personal career pathway,” said Mack. This year, 14 students had the opportunity to learn jewelry making from Mrs. Mack’s two brothers, John and George Clark.

“John M. Clark Designer-Goldsmith” is a business in ligonier run by both brothers where they produce their own unique jewelry creations. During 10 days, over a 3 to 4 week period this past November, students worked on individual projects where they created jewelry and decorations using copper, brass, sheet metal, and wire. Along with the time they had in class to work on it, students had the chance to go on a field trip to the Clark’s workshop in Ligonier.

The jewelry and decoration project came with a 5 step process:

  • First, the students learned how to fabricate metal by cutting it into sections and sawing the edges.
  • Next, they began soldering pieces together. They did this by heating pieces of wire or metal together in a way the makes them work cohesively.
  • Once the structure of the piece of jewelry was set, the next step was to enhance their projects with beading. Senior, Izzy Miller, utilized this technique in her piece. She constructed a tree out of copper wire and added beads at the bottom. The beads can be interpreted as seedlings growing into life.
    A tree made from copper wire crafted by Izzy Miller.


  • An optional step to this process was piercing. Piercing is done by cutting shapes and designs into the almost finished project to create an interesting look. Senior, Tate Mcelhaney, vigilantly used this technique to cut a crescent moon and stars onto his cuff bracelet.
  • Lost wax casting was the final step to the jewelry making procedure. This gave the student’s projects a glossy and finished look

“I was glad that the students got to participate in this project and that my brothers were a part of it,“ said Mrs. Mack. She recommends any upcoming juniors and seniors that are passionate about art to join the class next year, regardless if they do or do not want to pursue a career in an artistic field. This project along with others proves the dedication our school has for artistic endeavors.

George Clark demonstrating a step in the jewelry making process.