Jewelry and Small Sculpture: Wax Work for Casting - RISD Summer Programs

Jewelry + Small Sculpture: Wax Work for Casting

An intriguing piece of jewelry not only attracts the eye, but also complements its wearer and tells a story. Alternatively, small sculptures have served as utilitarian devices such as Japanese netsuke, personal objects of adoration or components of larger artworks. In this course students first focus on idea development and the critical-thinking skills needed to realize a vision for a ring, pendant or small sculpture. Concepts are developed through sketches, paper models and prototypes to problem solve issues of scale, form, proportion and aesthetics. Lectures, presentations and demonstrations provide historical context of jewelry and small forms along with an introduction to design tools and methods.

Once concepts are finalized, students experiment with multiple approaches, both additive and reductive processes, and different types of wax. Students may choose to have their design cast in metal through the utilization of a third-party vendor. By learning the fundamentals of outsourcing, students leave the course with the ability to confidently order metal casting for future design work.

RISD degree students: This course offers 3 transfer credits with pre-approval from your department head or major advisor using the Prior Approval for Transfer Credit Form. Submit the signed form to the Registrar’s office and then complete the online course registration.

Technology Requirements:

  • This class will be taught through our online course management platform (CE Link).
  • Please visit our Registration FAQ for additional information and resources.

Course #4089
Johan Van Aswegen

Online Course
June 22–July 31, 2020

Tuition $2,200
3 Credits


Johan Van Aswegen

Johan van Aswegan is an enamelist and jeweler born in Namibia, Africa. He earned an MFA from Akademie der Bildenden Kunst in Munich, Germany before moving to the US in 1996 to teach at RISD. Van Aswegen’s work encapsulates an age-old tradition in jewelry–that of a personal marker or monument. The scale and tone of his work is monumental; subtle arrangements of historical references and classic forms are combined with desert-like tonal variations in color to embody the purity of contemporary ornamentation. His work has been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums, including the Museum of Art and Design, NY; Nitskana Gallery, South Africa; Stadt Museum, Munich, Germany and Deagu, Seoul, Korea.