The Allesee Metals and Jewelry Design program prepares students for a variety of careers within the jewelry field. Students are also exposed to a variety of traditional and contemporary materials and practices that they can employ in the service of design for manufacturing or in the production of custom or independent studio work. We also prepare students who have strong design and production skills. Our alumni have found success in fields of fine and costume jewelry design; working for established brands and marketing lines under their own name. Many of our students intern for jewelry and fashion brands in NYC before their senior year or immediately after graduating.
As a student in the Allesee Metals and Jewelry Design program, you’ll learn to forge original contemporary expressions in one of the world’s oldest creative mediums. Beginning with a deep dive into process, your educational experience will grow into a focused study of a wide range of materials, design principles, small and medium scale manufacturing techniques used in the jewelry industry, and the historical and modern functions of jewelry in culture, all of which informs your own creative work as you develop original solutions to modern design challenges.
You’ll also round your education out with a wide range of general education and art history courses that will stimulate your curiosity, broaden your perspective, and inspire new creative expressions. KCAD’s flexible General Education Pathways model empowers you to direct your learning by exploring subjects you find most engaging and relevant.
As you progress through the Allesee Metals and Jewelry Design program, you’ll be exposed to both traditional and experimental materials and processes that will expand your sense of creative possibility. From this rich context, you’ll solidify a diverse technical skillset that includes applied design, basic goldsmithing and silversmithing, stone setting, CAD modeling and rendering, and 3D printing and casting. You’ll also balance your creative and technical skills with original research, critical thinking, and presentation skills, as well as an intimate understanding of the jewelry industry and how to design in ways that respond to the commercial demands and industry trends.
KCAD’s Allesee Metals and Jewelry Design program focuses on developing the fine motor skills and refined understanding of commercially appropriate forms that are crucial to your ability to have a successful career in the jewelry industry. We’ll teach you to research and respond to decorative problems with compelling and producible design solutions. The program is unique in its mix of aesthetic, technical, and conceptual approaches, all balanced in order to develop jewelry products that will enhance the lives of its wearers.
By stressing the formal elements of design and the execution of those designs in material, rather than the individual narrative or conceptual concerns of makers, the Allesee Metals and Jewelry Design program prepares you to enter the field immediately after graduation. Alumni from the program are currently working in the fields of fine and costume jewelry design, custom goldsmithing, jewelry repair, independent design and production, teaching, jewelry manufacturing, CAD surfacing, and technical services related to 3D printing and jewelry making.
As a student in the Allesee Metals and Jewelry Design program, you’ll have access to a fully-equipped studio featuring wax injectors, vacuum and induction casting systems, torches and flexshafts, a complete enameling setup, pneumatic assisted engraving toolsets, a collection of silversmithing stakes and hammers, a rolling mill, shears, a brake, a drawbench, a fume hood, equipment for electroforming and acid etching, as well as laser welders and a vast collection of small, specialized tools. You’ll also have access to large-scale metal fabrication facilities; The Dow Center FlexLab, KCAD’s state-of-the-art digital fabrication facility featuring 3D printers and scanners, laser etching and vinyl cutting machines, CNC machines, plasma cutters, large format inkjet printers, and more; KCAD’s Material ConneXion Satellite Library, which offers direct access to more than 1,000 physical samples of advanced, innovative, and sustainable materials as well as online access to over 7,000 more; and the KCAD Library, which provides access to millions of books through the MeLCat shared library catalog as well as access to specialized research databases and subscriptions to scholarly journals.
You’ll benefit from access to industry interactions, guest speakers, design forums, and other events hosted by Design West Michigan, a KCAD organization that explores and advocates for design as an economic building block in the region. There’s also KCAD’s Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), an innovative cultural institution hosting exhibitions of such contemporary artists and designers as Nick Cave, Kehinde Wiley, Kara Walker, Nari Ward, Carrie Mae Weems, and Judi Werthein; and many more.
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From a combination of perceptual psychology and ethnographic research,the student will explore the underlying elements of how we perceive, react and relate to the designed world. The student will consider the physiological and learned behaviors that shape our interactions with the built environment with an emphasis on experiential and emotional design.
Freehand drawing using basic perspective principles and quick sketch techniques.
Advanced freehand drawing and sketching with the addition of color media.
A problem-solving course covering the principles of composition and modular design systems. Uses predominately abstract shapes and black, white, and achromatic gray ranges.(Students who have earned credit for VISC 110, Design I, may not use credit earned in KCPA 110 to meet graduation requirements.)
To explore the elements, principles and aesthetic concepts integral to three-dimensional design and to consider relationships between concept, process, materials, tools and technical skills. (Students who have earned credit for ARTS 120, 3-D Design, may not use credit earned in KCSF 11 to meet graduation requirements.)
An introduction to product sketching and presentation techniques used in the industrial design profession.
The creation, manipulation, and employment of three-dimensional, digital models in the industrial design process.
This course focuses on gesture drawing, rapid visualization skills, movement and expressive content, composition, structure, skeletal anatomy, and engaging in critiques.
Students will study the illustration of contemporary fashions, designs and accessories as well as research the work of current fashion illustrators. Course work will include practical techniques of fashion illustration along with experimentation with various media.
An introduction to the computer as a design tool using the industry standards in page layout and digital illustration, and photo manipulation software, the Adobe Creative Suite. File transport (PDF) and font management software will also be introduced.
Students will be exposed to the full range of design disciplines, their history of development, how they interact, differ, converge and lead to change in accommodating new needs. Students will explore design principles and processes, including product innovation and development, sustainability, form and function, and discover how design is an asset to the economy and works with business.
The process of drawing as observation and conceptualization through eye-hand coordination. Emphasizes linear construction with concern for accurate proportion and simple positive-negative/figure-ground relationships. Includes an in-depth study of linear perspective. (Students who have earned FSU credit for VISC 112 Drawing I, may not use credit earned in KCDR 131 to meet graduation requirements.
Emphasis on development of convincing illusion of three-dimensional objects, through the combined use of line, value, proportion, and composition. This course focuses on the further refinement of the concepts, processes, and techniques introduced in Drawing I. Expanded exploration of perspective, composition, color investigation, media exploration, and idea development within traditional subject matter will be emphasized.
Students will be introduced to the basic materials and processes used in the production of hand made jewelry. Through objective samples and individual experimentation with forming and fabricating metals, students will translate the elements and principles of 3D design into original objects of adornment.
Students will learn carve wax; resulting in models which can be burned out and cast using the lost wax method. Emphasis is placed on the ability to model to specified dimensions. Original work will concentrate on the technical and aesthetic possibilities of casting for jewelry and other small metal objects.
Metals/Jewelry Design I, II and III courses combine cultural, individual, technical and aesthetic research to arrive at original and effective jewelry design solutions for commercial or custom problems. Students will be required to design one or more jewels each semester in response to a project brief that varies each semester. Design I reinforces basic design skills, introduces jewelry-specific design criteria, and allows students to effectively integrate process knowledge to generate convincing prototypes and production plans.
The Metals/Jewelry Design I, II and III courses combine cultural, individual, technical and aesthetic research to arrive at original and effective jewelry design solutions for commercial or custom problems. Students are required to design one or more jewels each semester in response to a project brief that varies each semester. Design II reinforces jewelry design skills, introducing projects of increased technical sophistication with greater emphasis on market appropriate solutions.
Students will approach stones and their settings from the point of view of appropriate design, durability, and quality of craftspersonship. Students may bezel, bead, flushset, channel, and/or prong set stones of various sizes and types. Layout preparation, layout technique, and finishing will be covered.
Advanced techniques and applications for use of the computer as a creative studio for jewelry design and production. Modeling skills will enhanced to allow for more systematic approaches to design projects such as multiple stone settings, suites of related designs, and organic form generation. Photorealism rendering techniques will be reinforced. Output technology selection and use will be reinforced by researching standard and emerging printing and machining systems.
Students will identify the major professional markets and issues that students will encounter in the field. Previous work will be utilized, enhanced, and augmented with targeted projects intended to showcase ideal skillsets. Portfolios will be developed for professional opportunities, including resumes, statements, and professional photographic quality documentation. These assets will be put into forms appropriate for various types of applications.
Thesis leads students through the research, design, and execution of a unified body of work. After selecting a thesis topic, students will research related subjects, identify problems and opportunities, propose original solutions, refine design ideas and technical approaches, and produce work to show during Kendall’s Annual Student Exhibition.
Intermediate instruction in the production of jewelry by hand. Projects will extend the fabrication foundation established in the introductory course, and proceed through a number of intermediate forming and fabrication processes such as chasing, repousse, forging, raising, welding, and stone setting.
Advanced instruction in the production of jewelry by hand. Projects include basic repair, commercially quality samples as well as original composition and construction with an emphasis on precision craftspersonship.
An overview of the Western Art tradition from prehistory through the Renaissance using a socio-cultural methodology in a chronological framework. (Students who have earned credit for ARTH 110, Prehistoric through Middle Ages, may not use credit earned in KCAH 111 to meet graduation requirements.)
A survey of Western art from the Baroque to the present, this course will continue building upon the foundation of Western Art I; Prehistoric through the Renaissance, using a socio-cultural methodology in a chronological framework. (Students who have earned credit for ARTH 111, Renaissance through 20th Century, may not use credit earned in KCAH 112 to meet graduation requirements.)
A study of male and female fashion as an art form, related to the fine arts and reflective of the changing cultural and aesthetic values of Western history.
This course focuses on using writing to develop ideas, hone critical thinking skills, and express ideas clearly and appropriately according to audience and purpose. Students write in a variety of modes and spend a portion of the semester engaging in scholarly research. Students also develop their public speaking skills.
This course provides a core understanding of effective storytelling. It examines the ways in which storytellers-both past and present-craft, organize, and convey ideas to successfully impact audiences, doing so through both inquiry into established narratives, as well as students' own experiments with narrative forms.
This course examines what it means to be a member of a particular society and how individuals both form and are formed by society. It will provide students with a better understanding of the social and cultural worlds they inhabit.
This course is an inquiry into the nature and power of philosophy to transform the way we experience the world around us and understand our place within it. Through a selection of readings representing various philosophical traditions and perspectives, critical discussion, and writing, students will examine some of the great questions that have intrigues philosophers from antiquity to present.
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The Allesee Metals and Jewelry Design program blends the historical and modern context of jewelry design and metalwork with focused technical training in a variety of traditional and contemporary materials and processes, preparing you for a wide variety of careers in the commercial and fine art jewelry fields.
By stressing the function of jewelry in people’s lives and the formal principles and elements of design rather than individual narrative or conceptual elements, and by facilitating internship opportunities through industry connections, the program enables you to enter the field immediately after graduation.