September 26, 2018

Public demonstration, lecture and auction highlight SIU’s 2018 metalsmithing conference

by Hannah Erickson

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Home of the only blacksmithing university program in the nation, Southern Illinois University Carbondale students are gearing up to share their unique work with the local community. 

The Southern Illinois Metalsmiths Society, a registered student organization, will host their annual conference Sept. 28 – 29, featuring special guest artist Rachel David. The conference includes a live demonstration of metalsmithing practice and a variety of other unique events.

Conference showcases a national juried exhibition

The conference begins with a student metalwork competition, complete with prize money and recognition.

The national juried exhibition is an annual event providing students with an opportunity to dialog between institutions and promote metalsmithing and blacksmithing to the community. This year’s juror is Tobias Birgersson, associate professor and senior lecturer for The University of Gothenburg HDK.

The three best pieces from the Form, Forge and Fabricate exhibition will receive awards and will be on display at the University Museum Sept. 24 – Oct. 27. An opening reception will take place Sept. 28 from 4 – 7 p.m.

Guest artist to give unique look into how metalsmithing works

red metal Visiting artist David will present an artist lecture at the University Museum following the opening exhibit reception. David, a designer, blacksmith, fabricator and installer at Red Metal, uses her blacksmithing techniques to express emotions and intentions in iron and steel.

She will also conduct a public demonstration Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Pulliam Industrial Wing. This event will provide visitors with an inside look into the work of a blacksmith/metalsmith, while also giving art students a greater understanding of the field.

Dinner and auction feature a variety of crafts

A fine craft auction 5 – 9 p.m. on Sept. 29 will highlight over 100 works in metals, jewelry, prints, ceramics, glass, printmaking, painting, photography and wood. The event will pair with a dinner at 17th St. BBQ, located on 32 N. 17th St. in Murphysboro.

Funds raised from this event will go towards keeping student fees low and bringing in visiting artists year round.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the exhibition reception at the University Museum, 4 – 7 p.m., Sept. 28, the artist lecture at the University Museum auditorium 7 p.m., Sept. 28, and the public demonstration at the Pulliam Industrial wing, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sept. 29.

For more information contact Sun Kim, associate professor of metalsmithing/jewelry at SIU, at or 618/453-3774.

Activities and events for all audiences

The event overlaps with SIU’s family weekend, beginning Sept. 28.

  • 4 – 7 p.m. Opening reception at the University Museum.
  • 7 – 9 p.m. Artist lecture, featuring Rachel David, at the University Museum.

The conference concludes with a full day of activities on Sept. 29.

  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Public Demonstration at Pulliam Industrial Wing.
  • 5 – 9 p.m. Dinner and Auction at 17th St. BBQ in Murphysboro.

Register at the door

Prior registration is not required, but admission fees will be taken at the door.

  • General registration – Includes admission to lecture, opening reception, demonstration, dinner and auction - $35.
  • Student (non-SIU student) registration – Includes admission to lecture, opening reception, demonstration, dinner and auction - $25.
  • SIU student registration – Includes admission to demonstration, but not dinner and auction – Free with SIU ID.
  • General admission to just dinner and auction - $10.
  • SIU student admission to just dinner and auction - $5 with SIU ID.

For more information on this event, visit or contact Kevin Dotson at