Pratt Institute is uniquely positioned as the only school in New York City to offer a comprehensive course of study in jewelry and metalsmithing resulting in a BFA. This undergraduate curriculum in the department of fine arts embraces all aspects of design, creativity, fabrication, and social responsibility in the discipline. Pratt’s cross-disciplinary approach to learning fully prepares students for higher education, industry positions, and entrepreneurial pursuits.
Specialized courses include the history of jewelry, stone setting, wax working and casting, raising and forging, chasing and repousse, jewelry beyond metal, design and rendering, and CAD. Seminars provide students with the opportunity to explore design theory, current trends in jewelry, and industry developments through readings, discussion, and field trips. Our list of prominent guest lecturers is extensive and has contributed to a collaborative learning experience between professionals, students, and the jewelry community at large.
Pratt Institute’s location in Brooklyn allows students easy access to major museums, galleries, and shops featuring historic, designer, studio, and art jewelry collections. New York City provides access to industry suppliers located in and around the famous diamond district, as well as a strong jewelry community connecting artists, designers, and industry professionals.
Patricia Madeja, professor and jewelry coordinator, received her BFA in 1985 from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and established her studio in 1989 in West Islip, New York, where she designs and produces limited-edition collections and one-of-a-kind works in sterling, 14-karat, and 18-karat gold for galleries, museum and designer boutiques, fine craft shows, and private collectors.
Patricia is the recipient of an American Vision Award, an American Jewelry Design Council Award, a Saul Bell Award, a Jewelry Arts Award, and a Niche Award, and has been featured in a variety of periodicals and books including Adorn, 500 Necklaces, Art Jewelry Today, The Art and Craft of Making Jewelry, and American Couture Jewelry. A strong advocate for jewelry education, she has been teaching in the fine arts jewelry department at Pratt Institute since 1998, was appointed jewelry coordinator in 2005, and received a full-time appointment in 2011.
Mary Beth Rozkewicz, adjunct associate professor, was born in Norwalk, Connecticut, where she began studying jewelry making. She attended SUNY New Paltz, where she received her BFA in 1980. Mary Beth went on to create and market her own work, which was sold in galleries and stores worldwide. Now living in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, Mary Beth teaches at many prestigious institutions, including the Pratt Institute, where she is an adjunct associate professor.
David Butler, adjunct associate professor, graduated with a BFA from Georgia State University and an MFA from the University of Washington, Seattle. He is a goldsmith and sculptor whose work has been frequently exhibited in museums and galleries, including the Mint Museum, Charlotte, the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, and the National Ornamental Metal Museum, Memphis. Galleries include Aaron Faber in New York City and Mobilia gallery in Boston. He has also collaborated with other artists and designers, including Donna Karan and Leila Tai.
David teaches jewelry design at the 92nd St Y in Manhattan and the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he is an adjunct associate professor. He has also taught different workshops at other art schools, including Penland in North Carolina, Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore, and Arrowmont in Tennessee.
He is involved with museum exhibition design and installation, working with several museums in New York, including the American Folk Art Museum in Manhattan, the Guggenheim, the New-York Historical Society, the Brooklyn Museum, the African Museum, and others.
Leila Tai, visiting assistant professor, is a jewelry artist, designer, and teacher. A native of Beirut, Lebanon, she studied art and metalwork at the American University of Beirut as well as the University of Wisconsin. After moving to New York, she was drawn to design upon meeting the late Donald Clafflin, who was associated with Tiffany and Bulgari.
After working for several years as an in-house designer in the fine jewelry industry with Gemveto and Van Cleef & Arpels, she moved to the fashion industry and held positions at Trifari and Monet, and has done free-lance work for Liz Claiborne and other houses.
She currently works in the medium of plique-à-jour and has increasingly been introducing the use of computer technology (CAD) into her work. She shares her passion and expertise through teaching and has taught at the American University of Beirut, Parsons School of Design, the Revere Academy, Pratt Institute, and the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Karen Backmann is a visiting assistant professor. Her interest in jewelry making began while she was still a student at the Bronx High School of Science. Upon graduation, she matriculated in the sculpture and metals program at Pratt Institute, where she received her BFA. She then worked as an assistant designer at James Murphy, Ltd. and Patricia von Musulin, Inc., and eventually apprenticed with David Walter, Wilhelm Kalich, Montreux, and Guillemin Soulaine. Karen is expertly skilled in special-order wax work, direct metal fabrication, and modelmaking. Her clients have included Buccellati, Bulgari, Fred Leighton, and Tiffany & Co., amongst others.
In 1999 Karen started her own company, Karen Bachmann Designs. “I continue to create one-of-a-kind and limited-edition pieces in both precious metals and gemstones and alternative materials such as various plastics and exotic wood.” Karen regularly exhibits in trade shows such as the American Craft Council shows, Philadelphia Museum of Art show, Walters Jewelry Show, and the Buyers Market of American Craft. Her work is sold in stores and galleries throughout the United States and United Kingdom. Published work includes various periodicals and books such as Art Jewelry Today I, II and III, 500 Plastic Jewelry Designs, The Art of Jewelry in Wood, 500 Bracelets, 500 Earrings, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Marie Claire, among others.
Janet Koplos, visiting associate professor, is co-author (with Bruce Metcalf) of Makers: A History of American Studio Craft (University of North Carolina Press, 2010). For 18 years she was a staff editor at Art in America magazine and is currently a contributing editor. She has written extensively for magazines and newspapers in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Europe, and has also taught at Parsons in New York City and University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Alexia Cohen, studio technican, is originally from Venezuela and graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a BFA in metalsmithing and jewelry in 2006, with departmental honors and distinction. She is inspired by different aspects of nature and the human body, and more often than not her work is guided by the experience and the process of making, so that the end result might not be what was planned all along. She currently makes a variety of jewelry and art pieces out of her studio in Brooklyn and works at Pratt Institute as a lab technician for the jewelry department.
RECENT GRADUATES: If you recently received a degree--BA, BFA, MA, or MFA--from this university, everything you need to know to upload your graduate portfolio can be found at this link.