National metalsmithing students join in SIU exhibition “Form Forge Fabricate”

By Bill Lukitsch, @Bill_LukitschDE

Southern Illinois University Metalsmithing Society is gearing up for its annual event “Form Forge Fabricate,” and it’s already shaping up nicely.

Blacksmithing and metalsmithing students from around the country have begun submitting entries to participate in the juried exhibition of metallic artwork at the SIUC University Museum from Oct. 9-10. SIMS, a registered student organization at SIUC, is also inviting two experienced demonstrators — Andrew Hayes and Michael Rossi — to show attendees various blacksmithing and metalsmithing techniques on campus.

Rebecca Zink, this year’s organizer, said she is eager to see what the event will bring this time around. The organization this year changed its submission policy to allow students from around the country to participate, and Zink said new entries are coming in from all over.


Zink, a graduate student in metalsmithing from Indianapolis, said SIMS expanded its reach this year to allow national submissions, which will broaden the scope of artwork reviewed and displayed.

Blacksmithing and metalsmithing is popular in southern Illinois because it is hard to find a good program anywhere else, Zink said.

“We’re the only program in the country to offer blacksmithing as a bachelor of fine arts and master of fine arts,” she said.

Jurying this year’s exhibition is local SIMS member John Medwedeff, owner of Medwedeff Forge and Design, who has more than 25 years experience creating artistic metal sculptures in southern Illinois.

Prizes are $300 for first place; $200 for second place; and $100 for third place which will be decided by Medwedeff, and are judged on various aesthetic and technical criteria.

The weekend-long event in October is the organization’s biggest yearly fundraiser, and will include a silent auction and public auction. Zink said money raised has traditionally been used to purchase new tools and materials for SIMS and fund new educational opportunities for its members.

Ultimately, she is most excited to see what students have come up with this year.


“That’s the fun part about this job — you get to see all the work,” she said.

Bill Lukitsch can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter @Bill_LukitschDE.