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Blacksmith Course Syllabus


ART 297: Blacksmithing 

Fall 2019; 3 Credits; 8 weeks 

T/TH 6:00 PM- 9:00 PM 

AD/CL 18B 

Office hour: TH 5:00 PM- 6:00 PM AD/CL 18B 

Office Phone #231 439-6443 

Instructor: Leon A. Nash 


Course Description: This course focuses on the fundamental techniques of forging and metalsmithing. It will cover the basics of forging, fabrication and finishing, as well as an introduction to decorative processes, ergonomic and functional problems, and the construction of mechanisms. The class is structured with an emphasis on technique, and will include demonstrations each class. 

Expected Course Outcomes: 

1. To explore blacksmith design 

2. To apply blacksmith methods 

3. To learn the use of a variety of forging tools 

4. To understand the use of forging processes 

5. Develop the vocabulary necessary to objectively critique metalwork 


1. Attendance is mandatory 

2. Being more than 10 minutes late to class counts as a tardy. Excessive or habitual tardiness, leaving early, or overindulging in breaks will impact your grade. 

3. In your course notebook, you will make notes, collect clippings, make preliminary designs & keep handouts for the course. A three-ring binder, with page protectors will work well. Thumbnail sketches, whether done in a separate sketchbook or kept in your notebook, will be required for every project. 

4. There will be 5, in-depth projects. (The projects will be based on specific concepts & may consist of several components.) Your work will be the focus of class critiques. Every project will have a DUE date. Failure to submit your work on time will mean that your grade will be lowered for that project. 


Critique is a vital part of developing as an artist. This class will encourage a fluent art dialogue, focusing on developing a healthy vocabulary, effective communication skills, and competence in critical thinking and perception. It is important that the voice of each member of the class is heard and that every idea is vocalized. Every student will participate by asking questions, expressing what you see, offering interpretation, and challenging others. Critiques will remain object-specific and are never intended to be directed personally at the artist. All input must be constructive. 

It is better to bring unfinished work than bring nothing at all. Unfinished work will be graded accordingly; however the absence of work will simply be graded with a zero. 

If, for some reason, you cannot make it to class, email me PRIOR to the class to inform me and to discuss options for making up what you have missed. This will not excuse your absence, but will keep you on track. 

Your grade for each assignment will be decided on the following criteria: 

1. Completion of assignment ON TIME with obvious effort & dedication 

2. Accomplishment of the objective of the assignment 

3. Craftsmanship 

4. Participation in the Critique 

Project grade: 

Participation 15pts 

Notebook/ drawings 20pts 

Craftsmanship 50pts 

Design 15pts 

For a total of 100pts for each assignment 

Grading Structure: 

An “A” project is excellent! The project not only meets the stated criteria of the assignment, but also reflects a high degree of determination, thoughtfulness, resourcefulness, and sophistication. The craftsmanship is impeccable, and the concept is clear and well executed. An “A” student has made full use of studio time and worked outside of class. 

A “B” project is very well done. It meets the stated criteria and demonstrates an understanding of the concepts and techniques involved, and shows careful attention to detail. Craftsmanship is of a high quality. Object is well executed, but needs refining, and the student could have managed time more wisely. 

A “C” project is satisfactory. This project meets stated criteria but does not demonstrate ambition. This idea has been executed poorly or awkwardly. A “C” project needs much more refining. Poor time management may also be a factor. 

A “D” project shows a lack of commitment, ambition, and understanding of stated criteria. It attempts to fulfill the assignment, but does not demonstrate an understanding of concepts and techniques involved. A “D” grade is assigned to a project that only considers the minimum requirements for the assignment. 3 

An “E” project is unacceptable. This project has made no effort to address the stated criteria or assignment objectives. The idea has not been well thought out, craftsmanship is sloppy, and a lack of care is evident. 

Academic dishonesty in this class will result in a zero for the assignment and possible failure of the course. 

Clean Up: 

Remember that other classes use this studio. In order to ensure that open studio privileges exist during out-of-class times, please be responsible and clean up after yourself. A limited number of lockers are available outside the art studios. 


Self-discipline and a respect for the rights of others in the classroom or studio and university community are necessary for a conducive learning and teaching environment. Threatening or violent behavior will result in the administrative withdrawal of the student from the class. Disruptive behavior may result in the removal of the student from the class. 


Blacksmithing is a class where safety is a priority. Do not use equipment with which you are unfamiliar. If you have questions, please ask. Do not attempt anything you are not comfortable or trained with. Unsafe behavior endangers the whole class, and will not be tolerated. Unsafe behavior may result in expulsion from the class. Keeping the studio clean, putting away tools, and properly storing materials are important to class safety. Proper safety includes proper dress, including CLOSED toed shoes, no loose or dangling sleeves, and hair properly tied back when using rotary equipment and torches. Proper shop maintenance will be monitored and evaluated. 

CELL PHONES or other communication devices are not appropriate in the classroom. Please turn your cell phone off; NO TEXTING while class is in session. 

NOTE: Reasonable accommodations can be provided for students with documented disabilities. Please contact Learning Support Services to arrange for these: SCRC 533 or 231.348.6682