Craft is Process.
Process incorporates experimentation with what's known in order to reveal new potential. The metals coursework teaches complex techniques in an atmosphere that encourages innovation and experimentation. Students are challenged to create well designed and individually conceptualized work that is functional, wearable and/or sculptural in nature. Students learn the careful crafting and production of fine-art jewelry, traditional hollowware, metalsmithing processes, and small-scale sculpture.
First year students develop the fundamental technical skills of sawing, filing, soldering, finishing and riveting through the execution of creative assignments and sample making. Students learn multiple surface embellishment and stone-setting techniques in addition to basic forging processes, ingot and tool making. Second and third year students augment technical skills with casting and mold-making, electroforming, hollow form construction, fine mechanisms, raising, chemical patination, and enameling. Several mold-making technologies are investigated which facilitate experimentation in forming multiples. Crafting a formal teapot advances skills in larger-scale-raising and the fabrication of sterling silver.
Assessment includes regular critiques and individual discussions between students and faculty. Students develop a solid understanding of jewelry and its relationship to the body, sculptural forms, silversmithing methods, and a comprehensive appreciation of historic and contemporary metal work.
The curriculum arms graduates with the necessary skills to work as a professional artist within the scope of metalsmithing- creating one-of-a-kind and production jewelry for galleries, trade fairs, commission and exhibition work- or prepares them for graduate studies.
Studio Space in Metals
Facilities: Equipment for centrifugal and vacuum casting; soldering; annealing; raising and forming; electroforming and plating; enameling; stonecutting and lapidary; oxy-acetylene welding; and tumbling. Drill presses; rolling mills; hydraulic press; horizontal and vertical bandsaws; metal lathe; chop saw; arc welder; wax injector; vulcanizer; sandblaster; jump and beverly shears; sanders; grinders; box break; and scroll saw.
ME109 Fundamentals of Metalsmithing | 3 semester credits
Students begin with an introduction to jewelry and metalsmithing to prepare them for further work in the field. Basic fabrication skills such as sawing, filing, soldering, basic forming, cold joining and a variety of finishing metals are covered. Other techniques such as forging, sweat soldering, and chain-making are studied, as well as the investigation of some surface treatments including stamping, roller printing, etching and embossing. These skills build the framework for the creation of several pieces of jewelry and metal projects. Offered fall semester. No prerequisite.
ME110 Surface Treatments and Stone setting | 3 semester credits
Focusing on a combination of surface treatments and stone setting, techniques from the previous class (ME109) are continued as students have the opportunity to examine further surface treatments such as chasing and repoussé, reticulation, laminate inlay, and other surface fusion techniques. Other processes taught include Masonite™ die forming, tool making and creating ingots from scrap silver. As an introduction to stone setting, students have the opportunity to focus on the basics while looking at the relationship between stones and metal. Round, oval and square cabochon stone setting, simple faceted, tube and prong settings are taught. Assignments encourage personal imagery, and with the techniques presented, students have the opportunity to improve their fabrication skills, their personal imagery within their work, design skills and innovative approaches. Prerequisite: ME109.
ME201 Casting and Electroforming | 3 semester credits
Two methods of creating three-dimensional forms in metal are exercised: casting and electroforming. Students have the opportunity to investigate centrifugal, vacuum, direct methods of casting, and work with a variety of waxes, plastics, found objects and other models for the casting process. Techniques such as sprueing, investing, burnout, finishing and rubber mold making are explored as are methods to create lightweight hollow forms with the electroforming process on either a small sculpture or jewelry scale. Students may prospectively gain technical skills in electroforming and examine a variety of matrices including wax, plastic, found and natural objects, in addition to investigating a variety of mold making technologies which allow experimentation in forming multiples. Throughout the semester, students are expected to combine new technologies with previously learned skills. Prerequisite: ME110
ME202 Hollow Forms and Mechanisms | 3 semester credits
With consideration to sculptural and jewelry scale, hollow forms in metal along with mechanisms for jewelry are explored. Hollow forming techniques include anticlastic and synclastic forming, hydraulic die forming and seamed vessel construction. Mechanisms include various types of hinges, catches, clasps and fasteners, the use of taps and dies, as well as some alternative mechanical configurations. Students also may explore detailing with an emphasis placed upon acquiring accurate layout skills and precision fabrication techniques. Conceptually based assignments inspire the incorporation of technical proficiency and observations. Offered spring semester, but subject to change to alternate years. Prerequisite: ME201.
ME 207 Resins, Mold Making and Casting Alternative Materials | 3 semester credits
Designed as a sculptural exploration of resins, flexible mold making, cold casting and basic non-ferrous metal fabrication, two part resins, including rigid epoxies, flexible silicones and various types of mold making: plaster, silicone and alginate are investigated. Students have the opportunity to explore casting alternative materials such as plaster, concrete, salt, paper and resin (there will be no metal casting). In order to build structural armatures for the castings, the fundamentals of non-ferrous metal fabrication will be covered: cutting, drilling, filing, soldering, forming and finishing. Each student must complete three sculptural projects and multiple samples. Offered spring semester. No prerequisite.
ME303 Color and Holloware | 3 semester credits
Students have the opportunity to gain an understanding of coloring techniques on metal and holloware, which compliment one another in jewelry, sculpture and functional work. The process of raising, planishing, finishing and the additional construction techniques of copper, brass or silver bowls and cups is investigated, as are various coloration techniques, such as: heat patination; chemical patination; hot and cold applications of chemicals on copper, bronze and brass through samples; and actual patination on finished pieces. Enameling is introduced with basic firing techniques using opaque and transparent enamels, stenciling, the use of foils and cloisonné and champlevé processes. Over and underglaze pencils and paints is also covered. Offered fall semester. Prerequisite: ME202.
ME304 The Teapot | 3 semester credits
Students will delve into design and create a functional, hand-raised teapot from sterling silver or copper. In this intensive course, raising, forming, and the fabrication of larger scale non-ferrous metals, including soldering and fitting processes are covered. Additional technical methods related to holloware and raising are taught, including key and lap seam joints, the formation of spouts, bases, feet, finials and fitted keyed lids. Students have the opportunity to make decisions about construction methods and design, choose materials for handles, and look at historical and contemporary examples of teapots and other holloware. Offered spring semester, but subject to change to alternate years. Prerequisite: ME303.
ME490 Metals Tutorial | 3 semester credits
Designed for post-baccalaureate students, the tutorial provides an opportunity for a student to work one-on-one with a faculty mentor to gain knowledge and insight not available in regularly scheduled classes. Together they design a curriculum, which includes a number of individual projects based on skill level, guiding the student toward his/her goals. As individual problems arise, the student will have the opportunity to develop solutions in conjunction with the mentor, with the intention of creating an intense learning situation for the student. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
Learn more about the College's programs of study:
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Craft (requires a bachelor's degree)