Adornment: Tradition, Innovation, and Power

Fall 2018
Freshman - Sophomore
Class Size: 46
16 Credits per quarter
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Using the lens of history, visual studies, fine metalsmithing, and Native American studies, our program will explore the imaginative and physical ways that we attach meaning to adornment, framing our discussion around themes of materiality, memory, and Indigeneity. We will broadly consider theories of space, place, mobility, and identity to deconstruct the binary of tradition/innovation.

Students will work to better understand and critically evaluate the multiple relationships to materials and objects, while developing a variety of skills in visual literacy, historical analysis, research ethics, and fine metalsmithing. Program work throughout the quarter will require extensive reading and writing. Studio art techniques will include drawing from observation and memory, copper forming, silver soldering, riveting, building links for chain making, and simple jewelry mechanisms. Connections between studio work and reading and writing will reinforce student understanding of the fluidity of material knowledge.

History and memory, the politics of collecting and exhibition, and the changing role of museums are among the issues which will be covered. We will question and frame competing public narratives, particularly how Native people are portrayed in museum exhibits. We will consider how museums reveal the social and cultural ideologies of those who build, pay for, work in, and visit them. The unique political status of Native nations can be better understood by highlighting the strong indigenous connections to place, particularly in art and material culture. We will examine case studies such as Iroquois raised beadwork, wampum belts, and cedar hats. We will support our analysis with guest presenters, documentary films, museum exhibits, and field trips. By the conclusion of the quarter students will present research, writing, and two substantial adornment projects.


Fall 2018 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16): 10232
So (16): 10233

Academic details

Fields of Study
Preparatory For

public history, education, museum studies, and art.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$125 for entrance fees and supplies.


Time Offered
Additional Schedule Details

On Saturday, October 6, 2018 there will be an all-day field trip to the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, to attend the 23 rd Annual Northwest Jewelry and Metals Symposium.

Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 C2105 - Workshop