Metal Classes

Metalsmithing Throughout Time 3.A03 (FALL, First Year Only)

Metalsmithing Throughout Time is a fusion of metallurgy and art history. Through the hands-on exploration of techniques including lost-wax casting, enameling, soldering and repousse, students will clearer understanding of metal's physical properties. Students will also gain a cultural contextualization of techniques that span from ancient to modern times and around the globe. The seminar meets once a week for an evening laboratory session and once per week for lecture and discussion. Students will begin by completing some specified projects and progress to fabrication of projects of their own design.



Modern Blacksmithing and Physical Metallurgy 3.A04 (FALL, First Year Only)

Physical metallurgy encompasses the relationships between the composition, structure, processing history and properties of metallic materials. In this seminar you'll be introduced to metallurgy in a particularly "physical" way. We will do blacksmithing, metal casting, machining, and welding, using both traditional and modern methods. The seminar meets once per week for an evening laboratory session, and once per week for discussion of issues in materials science and engineering that tie in to the laboratory work. Students will begin by completing some specified projects and progress to designing and fabricating one forged and one cast piece.  More info...


Introduction to Metalsmithing, 3.095, HASS-A, 2-3-4, (SPRING) NEW!

Centers around art history, design principles, sculptural concepts, and metallurgical processes. Covers metalsmithing techniques of enameling, casting, and hollowware. Students create artworks that interpret lecture material and utilize metalsmithing techniques and metal as means of expression. Also covers topics of art patronage, colonial influence upon arts production, and gender and class issues in making. Lectures and lab sessions supplemented by a visiting artist lecture and art museum field trip.   
Limited to 12.   

Enameling (IAP)

Enameling is the process of fusing powdered glass to copper, steel or fine silver resulting in a glossy, colorful finish. Students in this course will gain a clear understanding on how to work with vitreous enamel--composed of smelted minerals, such as sand, feldspar, borax, soda ash, and sodium fluoride--on metal through the exploration of enameling techniques such as stenciling, sgraffito, cloisonné, and champlevé. We will work with both flat and formed pieces to create jewelry and sculptural objects. Previous metal work experience is beneficial, however the only prerequisite is fearlessness to experiment.

Hollowware (Fall)

Hollowware is a hands-on class focused on metal’s natural tendencies of plasticity, ductility and elasticity. This course will cover specific metal forming techniques such as raising, sinking, forging and fold-forming as well as more detailed metal manipulation through chasing and repousse. There will be demonstrations during most class meetings and time will be provided to work toward mastering these different techniques. In this course, students will form bowls and vessels from non-ferrous metals. For the final project, students will design a project of their own choice drawing inspiration from the culmination of learned techniques. Some metalsmithing knowledge is beneficial but not necessary.

Intro to Blacksmithing (IAP, Summer)

Students will learn basic blacksmithing techniques using traditional tools to hand-forge mild steel. Drawing a taper, forming a scroll, twisting, and finishing techniques will be incorporated into simple projects.




Intro to Casting (IAP)

Students in this class will learn the techniques necessary for investment casting metals.  We’ll first make models of the items to be cast – either by sculpting wax into the desired shape or by casting wax into a rubber mold of an existing object. We will then build ceramic shells around the models, burn out the wax, and cast molten bronze, brass or aluminum into the resulting mold.



Intro to Jewelry (IAP, Summer)

In this introductory course, students will create wearable art such as pendants, earrings and bracelets from non-ferrous metal. Through the jewelry design process, which includes sawing, piercing, forming, bezel setting and finishing, students will become comfortable with both hand and power tools. Fabrication techniques including cold connections and silver soldering will be covered as well.


Intro to Metal Sculpture (IAP)

In this introductory course, students will create sculptural works. Our dominant medium will be metal, although plaster, cement and other forms of mixed media may be explored as well. Lost wax casting, forging, hollowware techniques and fabrication techniques including cold connections, soldering, brazing and welding will be covered. Students will become comfortable with both hand and power tools.



Intro to Welding (IAP)

This course covers the basics of welding metals with various techniques: oxyacetylene torches, stick welding (SMAW), MIG (GMAW) and TIG (GTAW) will be explored. The first four instructional sessions will review the procedures and techniques, safety concerns and equipment, and capabilities of each welding method. Students can then use the final session as time to practice welding or to weld a small project under the supervision of the instructor.


Background Image: Pre-fired stoneware and charcoal investment molds cover wax models from 3.094: Materials and the Human Experience.