• Susan Roberts receives feedback from course instructor John Garrott during the metalsmithing and jewelry design class offered by Texas Tech University at the Hill Country University Center. — Standard-Radio Post/McKenzie Wedel

Creative collaboration fuels art skills at TTU program

Hill Country University Center allows students of all ages from all over the state to take unique classes through Texas Tech University.

Each summer, HCUC offers two sessions of summer art classes. Students in the program are often master’s-level students or teachers who wish to take the techniques they learn back to the classroom.

A majority of the course is spent working on projects to be showcased at the end of the three-week course, but not before long hours or even days spent perfecting their work.

“We work some pretty late hours and long days and having that intensive time to focus for three weeks, it’s amazing to see what the students produce,” said John Garrott, metalsmithing and jewelry design instructor.

The final showcase is open to the public and will be at the Hill Country University Center at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 28.

Metalsmithing, jewelry

Garrott is an Allen High School visual arts instructor.

“We allow anybody to come in with any skill set,” Garrott said. “We start anywhere from fabrication and using the jeweler saw, learning how to file and sand metal, all the way to complex fabrication and casting.”

Garrott says it can be intimidating for beginners, but he encourages students to take the risk and dive in.

“It’s important for people to know that we teach you wherever you are. Wherever you come in, that’s where we will meet you,” he said. “The goal is to get you from where you are to some place you want to be by the end.”

“This class is pushing me further through the challenging assignments and teaching me things I have avoided because they are so difficult,” said student Susan Roberts.

Because Garrott teaches master’s students, bachelor of fine arts students and even teachers, many are able to take what they learn and incorporate the skills into their classrooms or their everyday practice.

The best part for Garrott is seeing the students improve in just three weeks.

“I have learned that craft is really important,” Roberts said. “I had a seam that I wanted to cover up but John really enforced how important it is to be precise and make it look right.”

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