Department of Art

Studio Arts - Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design


The study of Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design at Western Illinois University offers students an education in the fundamentals of using the hand and the creative mind to create well-designed and finely crafted jewelry and small sculpture.

A wide variety of techniques are taught within the program. They include both ancient and contemporary metals processes such as fabrication, cold connections, vessel raising, hydraulic die-forming, centrifugal casting, rubber mold making, tumble finishing, chain making, enameling, granulation, photo-etching, reticulation, patination, soldered and fused mokume, stone-setting, and electroplating and forming.

Metals include non-precious metals such as copper, brass, nickel and bronze, as well as precious metals including sterling silver and gold.

Students will leave the program with a strong foundation in working with fine metals. They will be well prepared to continue on in graduate school or set up an artist studio of their own.



Degree Plan

There are two degree paths in the Metalsmithing program:

  • Bachelor of Arts - Studio Art
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Studio Art

The following Program Study Plans will help you determine which classes are needed to complete a degree in a timely fashion:


  • Metalsmithing is taught in the Heating Plant Annex (HPA). The metals studio is a large open space divided into two working areas.
  • One area contains 16 hardwood student bench stations. Each station is complete with a fully adjustable stool, an individual tool kit and several storage drawers.
  • The other area houses the larger equipment used in casting, plating and forming and a large stainless steel sink.
  • The fine metalsmithing studio area has four acetylene-soldering stations and a natural gas annealing station with individual ventilation hoods, a floor mounted centrifugal casting machine, a programmable burnout kiln as well as many forming and hand tools.
  • The studio is designed to allow students the equipment and instruction they need to explore the many possibilities that are available in fine metalsmithing.