A scratch of the flint, and the torch burst to life.
The blue flame glowed as a student carefully rotated the flame around the ring.
In an instant, the tiny fleck of solder liquefied, and a quick dip in a pan of water solidified the ring.
That instant gratification is part of what Lori-Martin Price said she loves about teaching metalsmithing.
Martin-Price said metalsmithing can be very gratifying for beginning students because they can have anend product more quickly than some other mediums. Her goal for the first night of her beginning class is for the students to be able to take home a completed band ring.
This is the second year Martin-Price of rural Inman has taught metalsmithing as a part of adult classes at the what is now the McPherson Arts Alliance Inc., formerly Visual Arts Alliance of McPherson.
She taught metalsmithing for 16 years at the Wichita Center for the Arts before she was asked to teach classes in McPherson. She also teaches classes as a part of Lifelong Learning Series at Hutchinson Community College.
Martin-Price started as a graphic arts major at Hutchinson Community College, back in the day before computers were used for much of the design.
“With graphic design, you have to create an aesthetically pleasing ad to sell a product. You can have worked all night on something and put your blood, sweat and tears in it, and they tear it a part. I could not live that life.”
Martin-Price took a metalsmithing course and eventually went on to study the art format the University of Kansas where she received her art degree.
Martin-Price said her style has evolved during her career. She described her early work as primal. She drew from Inca, Indian and African influences. She used found objects, including bone, hair and teeth.
One piece on display at the VAAMart gallery includes South American porcupine quills and part of a jaw bone.
“I suppose you could wear it on a coat or something, but you would have to wear it very carefully,”
One of her favorite pieces was one she did in college. She made a pendant using a technique know as granulation. The technique requires the metalsmith to fuse tiny metal balls onto plate silver without melting the granules.
“The piece worked the first time,” she said. “It was miraculous. I love the piece. It is very organic. I
have been asked before if I would sell it, but I don’t think I would ever sell it.”
More recently,Martin-Price hasmoved toward simpler designs. She loves to work in turquoise, especially
Page 2 of 2 - Chinese turquoise, which comes in a variety of colors.
“I like a clean look—something that is simple and sophisticated,” she said.
Today, Martin-Price’s day job is teaching primarily two-dimensional art at Elyria Christian School,
but her true passion always has been in metalsmithing and jewelry.
“I love teaching metalsmithing when I don’t have to grade,” she said. “I get to see people’s creativity
For adults, art can be therapeutic, she said.
“When children grow up, they lose their creative desires,” she said. “They don’t realize it’s in there.
This way they can release their pent-up creativity.”
The students inMartin-Price’s class this session range in age from teens to seniors.
Christine Vasper, 16, of McPherson is working on a pendant she hopes to enter in the 4-Hfair this fall.
She won honors last fall for a piece she made using chainmail and rolled beads made from cat fur.
This is the first time she has worked with silver solder.
Sandra Brunselo of Lindsborg is a dog groomer. She has taken metalsmithing classes before, but jumped at the change to get back into the studio.
“I like all art, but when I know how the art is done, I appreciate it more,” she said.