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The Metalsmithing curriculum is designed to meet the diverse interests of the students investigating the contemporary metals field.

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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.

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

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Jewelry/Metalsmithing Studio

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



Welding and fabrication
Foundry casting

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

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Jewelry/Metalsmithing Faculty

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Dale Wedig

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.

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Dale Wedig
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Dale Wedig
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Jewelry/Metalsmithing Courses

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AD 123 Jewelry/Metalsmithing

4 credit hours

Introduction to methods, techniques and materials used to construct metal objects and jewelry. The course covers forming, soldering, cutting, forging, casting, fabricating metal and other materials in the production of jewelry/art.

AD 223 Blacksmithing/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 323 Metalsmithing: Seminar

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall, every odd year
Prerequisites: AD 123, AD 175, AD 223

Production casting and mold-making techniques. Individualized research of casting processes in the production of jewelry and metal objects.

AD 423 Metalsmithing: Seminar

4 credit hours
Winter, every even year
Prerequisite: AD 303, AD323, and junior standing or instructor's permission

Sheet metal forming techniques: raising, sinking, folding and construction. Production of a collection of work using these techniques as the foundation of the structures designed by each student.

AD 460 Metalsmithing: BFA Seminar

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall, Winter
Prerequisites: AD 303, Ad 423 and junior standing or instructor's permission

Continued development of ideological concerns in the production of studio art work as contracted with the instructor.

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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.

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 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.

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
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