Gian-Martin Joller in class crpd 1

To say jewelry designer Gian-Martin Joller is a popular instructor is an understatement.

Students like his Jewelry Design class, offered through SMC’s academic program, so much that they want to take it over and over again. But state regulations restrict course repetition, leaving students stranded without their beloved professor and class.

SMC Community Education came to the rescue and is offering a modified, but similar class starting this fall. And because the course is not for credit and fee-based, there are no restrictions on how many times students can repeat the course.

“I’m so pleased that Professor Joller will be able to offer this popular jewelry making class through Community Ed,” said SMC Trustee Louise Jaffe, who received calls from students asking for help. “Unfortunately, the state has imposed restrictions on how many times a student can repeat a class. It’s great that SMC can expand offerings through Community Ed to serve the community.”

Gian-Martin headshot

A Swiss-trained jeweler and artist, Joller has been working in Europe and the U.S. for many years producing fine custom-made jewelry and restoring antique jewelry for museums and private collections.

He has been teaching in the SMC Art Department nine years, and also teaches classes at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles.

Aside from his degree from Switzerland, he attended SMC for three years before transferring to California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, where he earned bachelor and master of fine arts degrees.

Why is jewelry design your passion?

I decided to become a jeweler when I was 17 years old. What initially attracted me to it was that I could do everything from designing to the fabrication of pieces. Later, through my work restoring antique jewelry for museums and private collections, I got interested in the history of jewelry and the techniques and processes that were used back then. Many of them I still use in my work today. On the other hand I’m not opposed to the use of more modern techniques such as 3-D printing. It’s the creative part of designing in combination with the technical part of fabricating that interests me.

Gian-Martin student

What kinds of students take your class?

There are many kinds of students that take my class. It ranges from art students to people in the fashion world, to the retired fire chief. I always enjoy seeing people from all walks of life and ages come together in my class.

Why do you think your students are so passionate about your class?

I hope it’s because I’m so passionate about it. The class is designed so that the students learn the basic techniques relatively quickly. Once they see the potential of this, there is no stopping them. It gives the students an opportunity to transform their ideas into a physical form.

Tell us one to three things that most people don’t know about you.

I have a passion for wood and stringed instruments. I also build electric bass guitars and guitars.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

The craziest thing was when I decided to run a 50-mile ultra-marathon in the Santa Monica Mountains last year. At the time, I didn’t think I would do something like that again. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it pushed me to my limits. I did two more since then.

Gian-Martin running

What is your idea of a perfect day?

Coming home at the end of the day and knowing that I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do. That unfortunately rarely happens. I like to set my goals high.

What was the last picture you took with your phone?

I went on a field trip with my son’s class and took a picture of him standing in front of the Space Shuttle engine at the California Science Center.

What book(s) are on your nightstand now?

“How Bad Do You Want It / Mastering the Psychology of Mind over Muscle” by Matt Fitzgerald, a book about endurance sport psychology, and Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air”.

Gian-Martin Joller will teach Jewelry Design this fall.

  1. helen a says:

    i was looking forward to having this class repeat but it appears it was offered only once. I am very disappointed.

    • Bruce Smith says:

      Hi Helen, Thank you for your comment. We are keenly aware that Gian-Martin’s wonderful class is very popular. Indeed, this is why we added the class in the first place. Unfortunately, we are restricted to room and instructor availability. A specific classroom for jewelry making is needed (there is only one on the SMC campus) and a specific instructor, Gian-Martin, is also needed. Alas, the two are not available at the same time. Trust me, we’ve tried to work it out. And if anything changes – that is, the instructor and classroom are available at the same time – you can be sure we will offer the class again. Again, many thanks for your comment!

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