B.F.A. with an Emphasis in 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

Program Overview

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 skillset. 


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

Basic studies requirement—18 credits

  • ART 1040 Object Drawing
  • ART 1050 Drawing Studio
  • ART 1070 Form and Surface
  • ART 1080 Form and Space
  • ART 2170 Writing About Art and Design
  • ART 2360 Professional Practice

Art History — 12 credits

Two of the four 2000-level Art History courses (6 hours)

  • ART 2200 Caves to Cathedrals
  • ART 2210 Modern and Postmodern
  • ART 2220 Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
  • ART 2230 Introduction to Asian Art History


Two additional Art History courses at the 3000 or 4000-level, or at the 5000-level with instructor approval.

Metals/Jewelry Emphasis Requirement—22 credits

  • ART 2380 Metals & Jewelry I (3 credits) 
  • ART 3380 Metals & Jewelry II  (3 credits) 
  • ART 3070 Topics in Metals & Jewelry (3 credits) – repeatable for credit
  • ART 4500 3D Contemporary Practice (3 credits) 
  • ART 4700 Topics in Studio Art (3 credits) – repeatable for credit
  • ART 4830 Senior Project I (fall 3 credits) 
  • ART 4840 Senior Project II (spring 4 credits)

Art studio electives—33 credits

Three hours of non-western art history, and all art education credits, may be applied to the elective requirement.


  • 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

Visiting Artists 

The mission of Frostic School of Art’s Visiting Artist program is tri-fold: to provide students direct, meaningful contact with working artists, both established and emerging; to elevate the regional, national, and international profile of the Frostic School of Art and Richmond Center for Visual Arts; and to nurture a sense of community among students, faculty and staff within WMU’s College of Fine Arts. Recent visiting artists and scholars that supported the metals/jewelry curriculum include; Motoko Furuhashi, Lauren Tickle-Tietje, Tedd McDonah, Michael Nashef, Danielle James, Laurel Fulton, and Daniel DiCaprio.

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.



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.


  • 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

 Student Work

Metals Student Artwork

Eric Ricchi