Class gets bold with jewelry


POSTED: Thursday, January 22, 2009

While the long-established public-school system struggles with budget cuts, imagine how difficult it must be to maintain a new program started on a shoestring.





        Creations by Kapiolani Community College students

Place: elle Couture Jewellers, 909 Kapiolani Blvd.


Open: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Monday to Thursday


Call: 591-8080



That's the dilemma of a small-scale sculpture and jewelry class being offered at Kapiolani Community College to introduce students to three-dimensional sculpture. The class started in the fall of 2006, with a handful of tools donated by Sean Browne in the memory of his mother, Miki Browne, who loved the art of jewelry making.

With only one torch, copper and a lot of creative spirit, the students are turning out intriguing, bold sculptural pieces, which instructor Carol Sakihara believed needed to be seen. But finding a space was tough. In exchange for showing pieces, commercial galleries reasonably expect that pieces will be made available for sale, with a portion of the price going to the gallery. This goes against nature for the students, who often want to hold on to their class projects.

Sakihara found a space in elle Couture Jewellers, a new jewelry gallery that opened at the 909 Kapiolani complex last month. The student exhibition will be displayed Saturday through Jan. 29, and a percentage of sales of Roberto Coin jewelry and some students' works will benefit the KCC program.

  “;I thought it could work because we carry designers like Roberto Coin, who's very creative,”; elle Couture creative director Lance Ishibashi said. “;It would be great if we could encourage students from Hawaii and show them that they could work for companies like Roberto Coin, Tiffany or Harry Winston if they apply themselves.”;

What's surprising is that few of the students are art majors. As a basic elective course, the work is coming out of students in KCC's cooking or language programs.

Working outside their disciplines and being new to the art form seems to have a liberating effect, which is exciting to Sakihara, an award-winning artist and jewelry designer, who notes that “;contemporary jewelry functions not only as adornment but also as an expression of ideas, whether social, political or personal.”;

“;I'm really impressed by the students because they have a sense of risk-taking,”; she said. “;They're really interested in experimenting. They're not working with a formula.”;