Medium and Message: Fine Metals, Book Arts, and Design Thinking

Fall 2022
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 48
16 Credits per quarter
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Every creative project involves a medium and a message, a form and an idea. Our task will be to understand the relationship between them. 

In this program, we will explore creative practices and design strategies grounded in fine metal sculpture and book arts, creative practices that challenge and transform how we work and think, such that medium and message are dynamically related. Major themes of the program include connecting destruction and disruption, repair and repurposing, transformations and transmutations, containment and sequence, memory and representation.

While all students will participate in 3D design projects, small-scale collaborative workshops, and shared intellectual work (including work with our sibling program Medium and Message: Graphic Design, Audio Ethnography, and Design Thinking ), each student will choose a focus studio in which they will complete most of their creative work: book arts or fine metals. 

Students who choose book arts will experiment with practices in hand bookbinding, experimental bookmaking, box-making, and artists’ books. Students will create functional and expressive books and book-objects that draw on design principles and explore the “poetics of the book”. Projects will range from hardcover book design, container and box making, to experimental sculpture. In addition to assigned projects, each student will develop a small individual project to address specific program themes.

Students who choose to focus in fine metals will work with copper, brass, and silver to develop skills in designing and making conceptually rich utensils, adornment, and hollow-form containers. In addition to considering the practical aspects of various materials, students will leverage the potent material histories and metaphors embedded in specific media to create objects that are specific to their experiences and needs, choosing one material to experiment with and transform throughout the quarter in conjunction with their metalsmithing work.

By experimenting with materials and tools, by linking intention with form and experience, students in this program will become makers — artists, craftspersons, designers — who create nuanced objects for others to enjoy and experience.

This program is good preparation for further study in the Visual Arts Path of Study. Students with sophomore standing and above who are interested in either fine metals or books arts will also find opportunities in winter quarter 2023.


Fall 2022 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 10126

Academic details

Preparatory For

2D and 3D design, book arts, visual arts, teaching.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$100 for tools and project supplies AND $100 required visual arts studio fee. Total fee: $200

Special Expenses

Optional: Additional materials will be available for individual purchase, and students may choose to spend from $25 to $100 to cover more extensive projects.


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

LAB 2 2209 - Visual Arts Lab