Artists in Billings teaching creative arts classes in Rocky Mountain College’s June 17-21 Summer Art Academy include Susan Germer, a jewelry maker, and Jason Jam, a cartoonist.
Ms. Germer will teach “Jewelry, Art and You,” which provides kids from ages 8-14 with four jewelry projects, while Jam, whose father is an English and art teacher and whose mother is a pre-school teacher, will teach “Drawing Comics” for the third year with Rocky’s academy.
“Comics is a huge mystery for those who want to do it,” he said. “Any book is incomplete - but with hands-on and showing them how you create, it knocks down any wall of impossibility.”
His mother, Jeanie Jam, had a comic strip in the 1970s in the Times Clarion, a newspaper serving Harlowton and Ryegate, where he grew up for part of his life. The strip was called “A Day in A Jam Jar” and focused on family antics, similar to “Family Circus,” he said. Originally from Billings, Mr. Jam returned after about 12 years in Ryegate.
Ms. Germer’s mother was an artist also.
“I took a lot of inspiration from my mother,” said Germer. “She was a jewelry maker, painter and did a wide variety of other art, too.”
This year is Ms. Germer’s fourth year teaching jewelry making, in which she and the students use many kinds of tools and materials.
“We will be using round- and flat-nosed pliers, wire cutters, found objects and jump rings,” said Germer. “There will also be wire-wrapping, where we encase a beautiful stone or other object in wire.”
Ms. Germer also paints with watercolors and oils, makes cards and sculpts fine jewelry in Precious Silver Clay.
“I fell in love with beading … I use buttons, wine bottle foil, sticks … it’s getting lost in the process … [sewing with beads] it’s very meditative,” said Germer. “I respect the meditative quality of the process.”
Regarding her young charges at Rocky’s summer academy, she said, “I really enjoy being with the kids … I learn so much from them every year … what their imaginations produce. They have shown me different ways of putting together design components … they always surprise me.”
Rocky’s Summer Art Academy began 13 years ago thanks to the diligence of Ryniker-Morrison Gallery Director Sally McIntosh. McIntosh said kids come not only from Montana but also from other states.
“Many times they are visiting relatives, and they are able to participate in the Art Academy as well,” she said. “Our Parent-Student Studio Day is June 21. That day is the only day completed student works will be available to see.”
Ms. McIntosh plays a major role in organizing each Artwalk, in which both Ms. Germer and Mr. Jam participate.
Both Ms. Germer and Mr. Jam are open by appointment and during each Artwalk.
Ms. Germer’s Studio is susang at (406) 671-7176. Mr. Jam’s business is Jason Jam Gallery at (406) 530-4344, website www.jamcomics.com.
For information on the Art Academy, call Ms. McIntosh at 259-6563.