Studio Areas

Our Mix of Media

Seven different media areas comprise the Studio Art program: Clay, Fibers, Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design, Painting and Drawing, Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture. All studio areas support the development of each student’s unique conceptual ideas along with the technical skills critical to bringing those ideas to life. All BFA Studio Art majors are required to complete a minimum of four courses in any individual studio area, but the flexibility of the curriculum allows students to dig even more deeply into one or two areas, or to explore multiple studios through a multi-disciplinary approach to art-making. Small class sizes insure individual attention and full access to the studio facilities.

CLAY

The Clay area’s goal is to foster and develop an understanding of how to express, through clay, one’s unique artistic voice. This is nurtured through exposure to a variety of techniques and traditions, and freedom of time to create. It is our goal that through this exposure and with faculty guidance, our students will graduate with a strong background in ceramic traditions, and an eagerness for future vision.

Our diverse faculty speak to a wide range of interests within the field of contemporary ceramics. From wheel thrown and slip cast vessels to large scale sculpture, our students are exposed to a variety of expressions within our field. Historical precedents as well as contemporary art and issues are incorporated into each class to help students understand the broader context in which they are working. Introductory classes begin to cover the depth and breadth of the field of ceramics; advanced courses provide students an opportunity to develop personal direction and voice.

The Clay area has an active Ceramic Association that helps bring in visiting artists, provides entrepreneurial experiences, and cultivates a connection to the local community. The Ceramic Association pottery sale raises money to supplement student travel to regional and national conferences, and provides them hands-on professional experience. Internships with professional artist, field trips to artist studios and Penland School of Craft, Study Abroad opportunities, and travel to Appalachian State University NYC Loft broadens student’s awareness of the field, the world, and the possibilities outside of the classroom.

Full-time faculty: Lisa Stinson, Andréa Connell


FIBERS

The Fibers area introduces students to the incredibly rich and varied field of contemporary fibers and its multicultural and historic roots. In a supportive, collaborative studio environment, students explore both traditional and experimental approaches to fibers techniques, including (but not limited to): surface design, weaving, paper making, and off-loom structural processes. Students learn to unlock the science of dyes, to speak the ancient language of weaving, and to build paper from plants harvested directly from the earth. Students are empowered with deep knowledge of these technical processes as vehicles for their individual conceptual ideas. Interdisciplinary and experimental approaches to studio practice are encouraged, and students frequently make work that pushes beyond the traditional boundaries of “Fibers”. Class responses to a single project assignment may range from a wall-hanging to a sculpture to a video projection to a performance, and materials may be as diverse as beads and bubblegum, wool and wax, cochineal and cardboard. The curriculum is structured to be fluid and flexible so that students may pursue the breadth and/or depth of the fibers world and enroll in those courses that most closely match their individual artistic goals. 

Full-time faculty: Jeana Eve Klein


METALSMITHING & JEWELRY DESIGN

The Metalsmithing & Jewelry Design area at Appalachian State University offers a broad curriculum in metalworking techniques that provides students with a solid foundation of technical skills. The program offers historical perspectives through the study of traditional formats, materials and processes, while also exploring concepts in contemporary craft discourse. The Jewelry & Metalsmithing program focuses on quality, craft, and practice through the development and fabrication of metal objects and wearables. The curriculum encourages students to gain an understanding of the discipline, its conditions, possibilities, and limitations, while allowing for multiple, traditional and experimental processes and approaches. Our goal is to create an environment in which students are given the technical and critical support they need in order to develop, and continually refine, their own unique artistic vision and voice.

Additionally, the Jewelry & Metalsmithing Design Area provides undergraduate researchers with access to the latest digital fabrication CAD/CAM technology. The Digital Craft Research Lab (housed inside the Metals studio facility) places these tools directly into students’ hands, developing a true understanding of process and how traditional and digital techniques may be combined to create new ideas. Access to rapid prototyping technology provides a critical advantage to Appalachian State University students for career advancement.

With this diverse background, students are able to develop their own creative vision exploring their ideas in metal. With an understanding of the field, the students are able to test its boundaries and draw on what a craft discipline has to offer while pursuing their ideas that cross over into other disciplines. Students will be prepared to work as professional designers, artists, metalsmiths, jewelers, and fabricators. The program’s goal is to prepare students to be engaged makers and community participants that utilize their skills and ideas to shape the world through the objects they create.

Full-time faculty: Frankie Flood

PAINTING AND DRAWING

The Painting and Drawing area is an integral part of the BFA in Studio Arts. Courses range from beginning level courses in drawing and painting through intermediate and advanced courses. In beginning and intermediate courses, the basic elements of painting and drawing are explored in depth. Drawing and painting courses share a common interest in deepening the act of 'seeing' in order to more effectively understand the visual world. Using the media of drawing and painting, students develop a personal style and conceptual approach that enables them to discover truth and authenticity. There is an emphasis on creative growth and development of a professional quality body of original artwork in painting and drawing. Critique and supervised studio practice develop critical and creative awareness of artwork and self-exploration. Drawing explores numerous drawing tools, themes, and topics. Painting emphasizes figurative and abstract approaches using acrylic, oil and watercolor. Painting and Drawing encourage experimentation with alternative, advanced technical and conceptual approaches - 'extended forms'.

Full-time faculty: Hui Chi Lee, Mike Grady

PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography mediates our experience of the modern world. As an art form it holds a unique place, encompassing not only aesthetics, but also cultural, political, historical, and personal issues. The Studio Art Photography area at Appalachian State is designed to educate our students to think of photography as a visual language, as well as to provide them with the technical and formal skills they need in order to express their ideas. We offer a range of classes, from digital photography to black and white wet darkroom and alternative processes. Photography is housed within a BFA Studio Art program, which allows students to integrate photography into a larger, interdisciplinary artistic practice, or focus on developing a personal voice within the medium.

Full-time faculty: Josh White

PRINTMAKING

The Printmaking area offers a diverse range of contemporary print media including relief, intaglio, screenprinting, lithography, and book arts. Digital and low-toxic applications are integral to the curriculum and include processes such as photopolymer, polyester plate lithography, waterbased, acrylic etching resists and low-impact etching mordants, all of which provide a safer working environment for students. The program emphasizes sustainable printmaking practice and an exploration of the hybrid potential of traditional, current and alternative print processes. The history of print-based media is addressed, along with contemporary art historical and theoretical issues. Students are encouraged to critically investigate a wide range of approaches that develop into challenging, personally expressive, visual statements. Through the media of printmaking, students are given the opportunity to establish a broad base for self-discovery and growth as both artists and as responsible human beings.

Full-time faculty: April Flanders, Scott Ludwig

SCULPTURE

The Sculpture area empowers the maker within the ever-changing contemporary landscape of three-dimensional studies and expanded media. The area offers a full range of sculptural experiences with a preliminary focus on traditional skill development in form, materials, techniques, and technologies framed with comprehensive conceptual exploration and historical context. The area provides in-depth studies in methods of fabrication, modeling, mold making, casting, and carving. These studies culminate with investigations into experimental approaches and conceptual development within the expanded field of contemporary three-dimensional studies. Explorations into video and digital technologies, actions, politics, performance, time based works, installation, and transdisciplinary collaborative approaches expose students to contemporary practices and encourage innovative problem-solving. Students explore composition and its relevance to conceptual conversations revolving around spacial relationships and communities on a personal and global scale. Students who study in this area are confident and adept in continuing their explorations as professional visual practitioners in both emerging genres and technically driven material practices.

Full-time faculty: Travis Donovan

Being a Studio Art major at Appalachian has given me the chance to explore many different mediums and experience multiple ways of approaching a topic. I am able to combine my love for both metals and painting because we are not confined to a single concentration. 

Grey Von Cannon, BFA Studio Art major

BFA Studio Art Senior Studio students

Senior Studio

Senior Studio students have their own studio space to build their bodies of work for exhibition.