Maine History Transformed through Metal Design

December 17, 2020
Lauren Head's Metal Design class delivers their wearable art, created using 100-year-old copper from the Maine State House dome, to the Museums of the Bethel Historical Society.

Lauren Head’s Metal Design class delivers their wearable art, created using 100-year-old copper from the Maine State House dome, to the Museums of the Bethel Historical Society.


Jewelry display cards for the metal design student's work

Jewelry display cards for the student’s work

A Unique Proposal – Maine History Transformed into Wearable Art

Lauren Head’s metal design class used copper that once protected the Maine State House roof and re-purposed it to make domed circular earrings. 

The copper sheeting that adorned the state house for over 100 years, from 1910 until its renovation in 2014, bears a beautiful green patina from more than a century of Maine weather, which students kept intact as they transformed the historic items into wearable art.

Stan Howe ’67 at the Museums of the Bethel Historical Society (MBHS) received some of the copper a number of years ago and recently inquired if  Gould would like to use/have a section, hoping metal design artists could make something from it. Savannah Sessions, the current MBHS director, agreed to the project and the material was delivered, ready to be transformed.

Each metal design student made four pair of the historic earrings for MBHS

Each metal design student made four pair of the historic earrings for MBHS


Metal design student Dali Gao ’22 shows off a pair of historical earrings he prepared for sale.

Dali Gao ’22 shows off a pair of historical earrings he prepared for sale.

Making Time to Learn by Doing

Applied learning blocks are a new part of the schedule this year and give students and teachers more time for hands-on works. Each student made four pairs of earrings or 20 in total. Head’s metal design students used this opportunity as a lesson in how to make and market production-line jewelry. The end product went full circle, as the class intent was to donate the copper earrings back to the Historical Society for the purpose of selling in their gift shop to help with their funding.

“I thought this would be a good opportunity for students to learn about the production of jewelry to sell in the retail market,” says Head. “Who knows, they may decide to have their own jewelry business someday. They could find out first hand how do-able it is. Plus, it was also a lesson in giving back.”

The jewelry is an expression of Maine heritage and a fitting joint venture with the historical society. 

“If you buy a pair,” Head adds, “you are wearing over 100 years of Maine history!”


Timoth Pearson has a pair of metal design earrings ready for delivery

Creating jewelry and other utilitarian pieces of art is achievable! Discover more visual arts opportunities at Gould beyond metal design!

View Visual Arts Course Offerings


Check out this video from the Metal Design class


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One Response

  1. Avatar Charlotte Bacon says:

    Imagine all these benefits of a Gould education in 2020. Wish we had opportunities like this in 1953! Thank you for the demo.

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