Metals/Jewelry

  • student using a torch for jewelry
  • overhead of the sculpture studio
  • someone using a grinding wheel
  • sculpture displayed on a wall
  • overhead of a hammer over an anvil

The metals/jewelry program is an exploration of the materials and technical processes necessary to produce jewelry and other forms of adornment, functional objects, or larger sculptural works in metal. The overall emphasis is placed on the formation of ideas and concepts.  In specialized studios with state-of-the-art ventilation systems, students focus on practical and professional issues that concern practicing artists.

The metals/jewelry program offers a thorough exploration of technical processes that can apply to jewelry or sculptural works. While the overall program emphasis is placed on ideation, the courses are also structured to encourage students to pursue materials and technical processes inherent in working with non-ferrous metals. The beginning metals/jewelry courses have a significant amount of demonstrations; slide lectures and discussions on readings that address specific technical practice, and theoretical concerns to making. As the student moves through the program, they develop individual coherent bodies of work and possess a solid technical skill set. 

CURRICULUM: Bachelor of fine arts WITH AN EMPHASIS IN Metals/Jewelry

Basic studies requirement—12 credits

  • 1040 Object Drawing*
  • 1050 Drawing Studio*
  • 1070 Form and Surface*
  • 1080 Form and Space*

*Prerequisites for all studio art and art education majors and minors

Writing—3 credits

  • 3250 Writing About Art

Art history—12 credits

  • 2200 History of Art
  • 2210 History of Art
  • Art history elective 3000-4000 level
  • Art history elective 3000-4000 level

Metals/jewelry emphasis requirement—21 credits

  • 2380 Metals/Jewelry I
  • 3380 Metals/Jewelry II
  • 5380 Metals/Jewelry Workshop (15 hrs.)

Art studio electives—34 credits

Three hours of non-western art history may be applied to the elective requirement.

Graduation presentation—3 credits

  • 4930 Graduation Preparation

Summary of Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in metals/jewelry

  • Art Major—85 credits
  • General Education—37 credits
  • Total Credit Hours—122 credits

Students should consult the WMU catalog for the metals/jewelry program course descriptions and requirements.

WMU catalog

Portfolio reviews

Portfolio reviews for admission into the B.F.A. program with an emphasis in metals/jewelry will be held in the second week of November and March.

Faculty

Facilities

The metals/jewelry studio consists of seven rooms, in which the main bench room is the nexus for all of the process rooms. These separate process rooms are for enameling, casting, polishing, smithing, annealing and storage. This storage room is for equipment, but also functions as a small photography studio enabling students to photograph their works. Advanced level students are assigned a bench space in a separate studio.

Tools

  • Rolling mills
  • Hydraulic press
  • Draw bench
  • Engraver's ball
  • Vulcanizer
  • Small metal lathe
  • Nine acetylene torches
  • Six natural gas/air torches
  • Small natural gas forge
  • Wide variety of raising stakes and specialty hammers
  • Sinusoidal stakes
  • Oval and round bracelet mandrels
  • Repousse' pitch bowls
  • Chasing tools
  • Four Paragon programmable casting kilns
  • Vacuum casting machine
  • Centrifugal casting machine
  • Variety of flasks and other casting equipment
  • Ingot molds—both hand held and table top
  • Three double sided polishing motors with exhaust systems
  • Steamer
  • Drill presses
  • Three Amaco enameling kilns
  • Individual jewelers benches
  • Table vises
  • Jump shear
  • Bending brake
  • Small slip roller
  • Photography equipment for documenting student work
  • Various hand tools specific to metals/jewelry processes, such as ring mandrels, tubing jigs and files

Student Group

The Metal Alchemists Collective at Western Michigan University provides its members with a supportive community that will share technical information, provide opportunities to exhibit and sell work and promote the metals program at WMU within the local and national arts community. 

Learn more about the collective