The undergraduate program in J+M offers progressive levels of design complexity and technical challenges as students seek unique design solutions and learn to execute their ideas with skill and ingenuity. Professors help students to hone critical thinking and making skills through challenging assignments, selected readings, lively group discussions and by encouraging unconventional approaches that allow for expressive exploration.
Graduates are prepared to:
• think critically by questioning, evaluating options and being aware of their own working methodologies
• articulate positions and defend decisions regarding materials, making processes, location of work on the body and intended audience
• master the varied technical processes inherent to creating original work responsive to contemporary materials and methods
• demonstrate a deep understanding of both traditional gold/silversmithing and contemporary jewelry making, in terms of methods, history and culture
• understand personal aspirations in order to work from an authentic position and establish a self-reflective practice
• create work that is personally expressive and responsive to evolving global values
• be a conscientious practitioner by sourcing materials that consider environmental sustainability and other factors
• develop the agility, skills, sensibilities and rigor necessary to sustain a creative practice
Approximately 35 undergraduate students working with all types of materials and techniques share studio spaces and specialized equipment in RISD's Metcalf Building. Faculty members are readily available to provide focused, individual attention both in class and as students work on their own in the studio. The dozen grad students in the department enrich the discourse, contributing to a ready exchange of ideas.
Throughout the program, students benefit from recurring contact with the professional world. Visiting artists from across the US, Europe and beyond offer valuable exposure to current critical analysis and artistic practices developing in the field. They also provide refreshing insight and international perspectives during critiques and individual studio visits. In addition, the department assists students in finding rewarding professional internships at selected companies or studios.
Elizabeth Wilson BFA 2013
Stephanie Kim BFA 2013
Esther Fell BFA 2012
Alexa Minc BFA 2013
Kelly Riggs BFA 2011
Sophomores enter the program after RISD’s required year of Foundation Studies and are introduced to fundamental design principles, the history of adornment and the traditional skills of the gold/metalsmith. Students also begin to develop their own design process for jewelry. Juniors continue to refine their technical skills by delving further into a personal approach to design and content, while learning fundamental computer design skills, formal rendering techniques and the basics of enameling, casting and alternative materials usage.
Seniors pursue independent work that reflects a personal aesthetic and culminates in the exhibition of a final body of work. A professional practices seminar and meetings with visiting professionals help strengthen each student’s portfolio.
All first-year applicants apply to RISD as opposed to a specific department and begin with a required year of Experimental and Foundation Studies. Students select a major midway through the first year but don’t begin those programs until sophomore year.
For more information or to begin the application process, visit the Apply page.
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