MFA Candidate Mariah Shelby Metalsmithing

We are committed to the artistic growth of our students & provide a rigorous environment for exploration, experimentation, & critical inquiry.

Who We Are


The Metalsmithing and Jewelry MFA program at Colorado State University is a three-year, 60 credit course of self-guided study with a focus on creative studio practice and research. Our program encourages students to deepen their understanding of the field and their place within it, to expand their practice and develop a stronger individual artistic voice, and contribute to the growing and evolving visual and design culture that metalsmithing and jewelry encompasses.

Students are expected to participate in the technical and conceptual development of their own work and cultivate a creative approach that is relevant to their own intentions and sensibilities. Our program encourages continuing dialog between the student and their professor in development of that work, as well as engagement with other graduate students. We encourage interdisciplinary studio work that can encompass photography, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, painting, fibers, drawing, and electronic media.

Graduate students are presented with vast opportunity to participate in an R1 research institution through interdisciplinary collaborations.


Graduate students are presented with vast opportunity to participate in an R1 research institution through interdisciplinary collaborations. Students often enroll in courses outside of the department to enhance their studio work and deepen their research.

The Metalsmithing Guild is a student-run guild that helps bring nationally or internationally recognized metalsmiths to campus for lectures, demonstrations or workshops, and one-on-one critiques with graduate students. The Colorado Metalsmithing Association (CoMA) is a statewide organization that hosts its yearly annual conference in Salida, Colorado. The conference offers excellent opportunities to meet nationally recognized and local artists working within the field.

Our program allows for a small number of admitted applicants every year, encouraging more focused studio time, feedback from advisors, and access to teaching opportunities and technical assistantships. Incoming graduate students must be technically proficient to successfully explore themes and approaches for the furtherance of their own artistic, intellectual, and philosophical investigations. They must be ready to grow beyond their comfort zone and to engage in the broader field of contemporary visual art.


Students will develop technical and conceptual skills

In addition to in-area studio work, the curriculum includes studio electives, art history coursework, graduate seminars, and non-art electives. A continuous exchange of ideas and critiques with a faculty Graduate Thesis Committee will assist in defining and setting the pace of your personal advancement. Individual artistic practice is both supported and challenged through an ongoing series of meetings and critiques.

The successful graduate student will develop an in-depth body of work for an MFA qualifying exhibition at the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art. Students prepare a written thesis to accompany their MFA thesis body of work. They will present both their work and written thesis to their graduate committee in their MFA Thesis Defense.

Our Facilities


The 2,000 square foot Metalsmithing & jewelry studio includes a large, well-ventilated main studio area outfitted with jeweler's benches, two large worktables, rolling flex-shafts, & a wide selection of specialized hand tools. There are are separate rooms for raising & forming, casting, enameling, buffing & grinding, welding, & blacksmithing processes. Graduate students have their own studio space, which is next to the main Metals studio.


Students have access to a wide range of forming & forging anvils, stakes & hammers, rolling mills, a draw bench, a 20-ton hydraulic press, multiple soldering & heating torch systems, drill presses, a B-2 Beverly shear & 12” guillotine-style shear, vacuum & centrifugal casting machines, enameling kilns, etching & patina processes, & buffing and finishing equipment. A MIG & TIG welder are available for use, as well as both a gas forge and coal-fired forge located in our 300 square foot blacksmithing shed.


The studio also includes a flexible workspace used for artwork installation, group critiques, student meetings, & an informal gathering. Students have access to the Visual Art Building’s Digital Fabrication Lab and Woodshop, & computer labs.

Our Faculty

  • Haley Bates

    • Associate Professor of Metalsmithing
    • Graduate Advisor for Metalsmithing

Interested in our MFA program?

Prospective students are encouraged to contact the Graduate Advisor for the concentration of their interest for more information or to schedule a tour about our MFA Program.