Jewelry and MetalsmithingJewelry and Metalsmithing
Of course a major in jewelry and metalsmithing means more than designing fabulous pieces with which to adorn yourself or the object of your every desire. But, that would be a nice perk! As a jewelry and metalsmithing major, you’ll gain all the skills you need to design jewelry and create other works of art from metals. You’ll learn a wide range of techniques, including casting, forging, and raising, plus how to enamel and how to set stones. You’ll learn the art of fabrication and master the use of jewelry and metalsmithing equipment such as ultrasonic cleaners, buffing machines, ring sizers, sandblasters, enameling kilns, and rolling mills. And as with any art major, you’ll study the forms jewelry and metalsmithing have taken in the past in order to gain perspective on their current state and to get an idea of where your own art might fit in—even how it might push the field in brand new directions.
Your major in jewelry and metalsmithing can lead you down any number of paths, and you’ll acquire the skills you’ll need to pursue a career in retail, design, and many other fields. Bonus skills include those required for jewelry repair and restoration, the ability to create work for retail or exhibition, and the fundamentals of setting up your own studio or shop. Most important, this major will give you the opportunity to focus on your own creative vision. You’ll be able to experiment with forms and techniques you may not have even known about before, while being surrounded by faculty and students who can critique your work and offer advice and inspiration. Your imagination may be limited only by the materials you can afford to work with. That is, most freshmen aren’t making eight-karat solitaire bands—but there’s nothing wrong with sketching designs of them for later.
To prepare for a major in jewelry and metalsmithing, you should take a well-rounded selection of courses including math, science, English, history, and languages. Because much of this major requires you to produce your own works of art, art classes will help get you thinking creatively. Computer proficiency is a must for any major, so if your skills are weak, take a computer class or two. You can do some of the best preparation on your own: drawing, thinking, and even making mock-up samples of the kinds of art you might like to make someday.