JEWELRY/METALSMITHING/SCULPTURE

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The Metalsmithing curriculum is designed to meet the diverse interests of the students investigating the contemporary metals field. The Sculpture curriculum is concerned with the materialization of an idea utilizing any material or process in any method or combination of methods.

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The Jewelry and Metalsmithing Major at NMU

The metalsmithing curriculum is designed to meet the diverse interests of the students investigating the contemporary metals field. By focusing the program of the broad spectrum of processes and methodologies associated to metalsmithing a student is exposed and experiences numerous problem-solving technologies. The construction of ideas are carried out through the practice of these technologies which include fabrication, casting, mold making, forging, forming, welding, and foundry. Personal student interest becomes the direction of individualized research in specific areas such as jewelry, blacksmithing, hollowware, and sculpture.

The Sculpture Major at NMU

A material or process that indicates the focus of the investigation or the format of the product defines most concentrations. Sculpture is concerned with the materialization of an idea utilizing any material or process in any method or combination of methods. Through the use of different methodologies and format ideas can be exhibited as objects, representations, installation's, and performances. The production of sculpture is a concept based intellectual study. Coursework is designed to present specific technologies for students to use in the production of their ideas. Students move around within the department taking courses in areas of interest that will support the construction of their studio work. The objective is to satisfy each student’s needs through an individualized series of courses that equips the student to solve their unique problems.

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Blacksmithing
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Jewelry Making
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Sculpture Student
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The Metalsmithing/Sculpture Major Focuses on a Broad Spectrum of Methodologies

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Jewelry/Metalsmithing/Sculpture Studios

The studio is equipped for the
processes of:

General fabrication

Gas/ Oxygen and gas/
compressed air soldering

Raising and forming sheet metal

Production casting
and mold making

Forging

Blacksmithing

Welding and fabrication
Foundry casting

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Blacksmithing Studio
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Jewelry Studio
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Sculpture Studio
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Sculpture Studio
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The Metals/Sculpture Studios is Equipped for Working with both Large & Small Scale Projects

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Jewelry/Metalsmithing/Sculpture Faculty

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Dale Wedig

Professor
BS Univ of Wisconsin at LaCrosse
MA Iowa State University
MFA Arizona State University

Dale Wedig is a Professor of Art and Design at Northern Michigan University where he as been the Head of the Metalsmithing and Sculpture departments for 27 years. His studio work ranges in size from jewelry to architectural installations and assumes metal processes from blacksmithing, welding, casting, sheet-forming, fabrication and foundry applications. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States. Wedig works out of his Upper Peninsula home surrounded by trees, lakes, rivers and ice most of the year. It is important to keep busy doing whatever it is that your hands find to do; life without labor is guilt.

Art is the physical and mental labor involved in creating an object from an idea. The end result can be very satisfying. However, it is the activity and struggle throughout the process that is inspiring. Experiencing an idea becoming a real object that started in your head and your hands built is a measure of the accountability of your life.

The lack of rules and insured success combined with the endless solutions to the same problem motivates him to continue pursuing his interests. Making art is no more or less than having faith in what is unknown and having the desire to take the opportunity to create something you find difficult to explain.


EMAIL

dwedig@nmu.edu
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Dale Wedig
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Dale Wedig
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Jewelry/Metalsmithing Courses

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AD 116 Sculpture: Foundations

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall

An introduction to methods of synthesizing form in the production of sculpture. Process, technique, design and composition will be emphasized in assigned projects throughout the semester.


AD 123 Metalsmithing/Sculpture: Foundations

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall, Winter

An Introduction to methods of synthesizing form in the production of sculpture. Process, technique, design and composition will be emphasized in assigned projects throughout the semester. Mixed Media.


AD 223 Metalsmithing

4 credit hours
Offered Winter

Development of skills and knowledge of basic blacksmithing in the production of utilitarian and non-utilitarian forged objects. Beginning through advanced techniques of forging hot steel are covered.


AD 323A Production Casting and Mold Making

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall, odd numbered years
Prerequisites: AD 223 or instructor permission.

Production casting and mold-making for small metal outcomes: jewelry/sculpture. Individualized research of centrifugal, vacuum and gravity casting in combination with RTV and volcanized rubber molds.


AD 323B Sheet Metal Forming

4 credit hours
Offered: Winter, even numbered years
Prerequisites: AD 223 or instructor permission.

This course introduces sheet metal forming techniques including raising, sinking, folding and construction. Each student will produce a collection of finished works utilizing these techniques.


AD 423A Metalsmithing/Sculpture: Seminar

4 credit hours
Offered: Winter, odd numbered years
Prerequisites: AD 303 or concurrent enrollment, AD 323A or AD 323B, or instructor permission.

Production of a group of artwork focusing on multi-media assemblage, found objects and combined technologies.


AD 423B Foundry Bronze and Aluminum Casting

4 credit hours
Offered: Winter, even numbered years
Prerequisites: AD 303 or concurrent enrollment, AD 323A or AD 323B, or instructor permission.

Development of skills and concepts in the production of sculpture using the techniques of foundry style investment bronze and aluminum casting. Concentration is focused upon learning various methods of casting, mold preparation, venting, gating and investing for gravity pour procedures. Students will also learn and practice the operation of the foundry in the production of their assignments.


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JEWELRY/METALSMITHING FAQ

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I am an art and design major but not sure of declaring my area of concentration as metalsmithing because I have little or no experience. What should I do?

Take an entry-level course and see if you are as interested and enthusiastic as you expected to be. Most metalsmithing majors had no hands on experience in a professional studio environment until their first class. It is assumed that you know very little about materials and processes, therefore we start with foundation information and build upon that each semester.

Do I need to have my own tools for each class offering?

NO. In many course offerings you check out a tool kit at the beginning of the semester that will assist you in our studio or take it home to your own. In other courses students check out tools on a need basis for an hour or a full day from an office open whenever the building is open for studio work.

We try to provide all tools and equipment necessary to fulfill the assignments - you are not required to purchase tools or equipment throughout your undergraduate study.You can expect to purchase consumables such as drill bits, rotary abrasives, burrs, and polishing accessories.

What jobs will I locate in my fields upon graduating with a metalsmithing concentration?

We stress the importance of acquiring diverse skills throughout your program of study. With refined skills you locate employment in the fields of Jewelry, Blacksmithing, Welding, Production Casting, Foundry and Sheet Metal Fabrication.

We encourage students to learn what you need to know to do what you want to do. You have four years of undergraduate study to acquire skill, attitude and experience you need to succeed.

Many students develop studio artwork and production techniques focused on marketing their products for sale at art fairs, gift shops and galleries.We encourage students to learn what they need to know to do what they want to do. You have four years to acquire the skills, attitude and experience you need to succeed.

Is the metalsmithing concentration too physically demanding or dangerous for an inexperienced student?

You will never know until you try! No one has ever left the program for those reasons if they desired to succeed. To survive as a metalsmithing major you must like to work, be in the studio and be self-motivated. Many processes are labor intensive, however not dangerous or overwhelming. Techniques and safety procedures are thoroughly covered before every assignment.

What is the emphasis in sculpture: welding, foundry, blacksmithing, or carving?

Students are encouraged to take diverse studio courses to obtain a broad understanding of Art Production. Each student is a unique entity with specific interests and strengths. No two students have gone through the program the same way. We emphasize finding your interests and building a program of study to support them.

What is the emphasis in metalsmithing: Jewelry Making, Blacksmithing, or Hollowware?

Students are required to take courses in a diverse spectrum of metalsmithing technologies. Having a broad understanding of foundation metal courses prepares students with unique problem solving techniques. Throughout four years of study you will gather new information on materials and properties that will effect your studio production. All students experience the same courses but choose to explore specific areas to meet their interest. Everyone blends the information differently and takes on an identity or focus unique to the individual.

On an average, how many majors are in the metalsmithing program?

The number varies from a low of 12 to a high of 25. Any year could be somewhere in between. My upper level class has 10-15 students each semester allowing for plenty of one on one contact time. The studios are open a minimum of 80 hours a week outside of class to work on assignments.

Are the materials I am required to work with expensive?

Silver and gold are expensive!!! However, you are not required to work with them. All work can be constructed from metal other than silver and gold for a fraction of the cost and an equal learning experience.

What is sculpture?

Sculpture is an idea that identifies a given space.

Are there scholarships for incoming freshman?

The school offers the High School Freshman Scholarship (four $1000 awards) that is available each year with applications due in April.

See the web for details
Scholarship Information

More Questions?
Please write Professor Dale Wedig dwedig@nmu.edu
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