“Art is in so much that we do on a daily basis, it isn’t just a painting or a sculpture,” says Karenna Maraj, ACA’s wickedly talented Making Metal Jewelry teacher, as she revs up for another exciting semester ahead. “I believe it comprises everything that we make. Always being creative has centered me and shaped me into the person I am today.”
Karenna hopes to pass on that love for the act of creating to her students this spring. Making Metal Jewelry, running for 8 Mondays from March 27 to May 22, will give students the opportunity to solder, saw, hammer, set stones, and make hollow forms to create any form of jewelry they can imagine.
“I am interested in seeing what new designs students come up with,” Karenna notes. “I am always inspired by their ideas. I like to teach a new technique each week and then give students free reign to create what they want. In my experience, students have found this to be motivating and highly rewarding.”
A RISD graduate, Karenna spent a few years working for a company that created mass manufactured jewelry. While she admits that the work was “fun,” something about the prospect of teaching, and passing along her love for jewelry, called to her. “During [the time I was working at the company], I also started to teach and I realized how much I missed being around more creative and inspirational people. Teaching was not only a rewarding experience, but made me realize what I was missing and how much I wanted to do something else.”
Karenna has since been teaching at ACA for 7 creative and explorative years and notes that the “time has flown by!” She continues: “I really enjoy the people here, both behind the scenes and especially the students taking classes. I do have a few students who come back session after session and I really appreciate my relationship with them.”
And teaching isn’t the only way Karenna has been able to pass along her love of jewelry to those around her. After leaving her job in jewelry manufacturing, Karenna opened her own jewelry store where, in her words, “I continue to metalsmith and where I can be creative every day!”
Karenna Maraj Jewelry Collection, based out of Belmont, offers handmade artisan jewelry and is a labor of love for Karenna. She notes: “My work is organic and industrial because of the materials that I use and I love working like that. Mostly I get my best ideas while I am already creating. I don’t like too many constrictions.”
And Karenna wants to let potential students know that the course this spring will often lead to creative and surprising places. “Students usually sign up for the class because many are interested in how jewelry is made, but then more often than not they are surprised and pleased to learn how successful they can be creating their own in a short amount of time. Students routinely take projects home on the first night to show off to friends and family, and, as a teacher, I take great pride in how the confidence of my students grows as they develop skills and a sense of personal style.”