Mesalands adds new Cowboy Arts/Western Silversmithing degree

January 7, 2019

Shyla Curry, a student at Mesalands Community College, engraves leaf structures and scrolls onto a spur.

Mesalands Community College is now offering an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Cowboy Arts/Western Silversmithing and Fabrication.

The Cowboy Arts/Western Silversmithing and Fabrication Degree is designed to teach students the custom designing, fabricating and engraving of bits, spurs, buckles, and jewelry. This program provides students with the skills and practice needed to pursue employment as precious metal workers, jewelers, welders, and engravers.

Mesalands also offers a one-year Applied Science Certificate and a one-semester Occupational Certificate in Cowboy Arts/Western Silversmithing and Fabrication. The classes offered within the certificate programs are included in the degree. The degree requires additional general education requirements, such as science, math and English classes.

The request for this new degree, began with the increased enrollment in the other certificate programs. The majority of students pursuing these certificates, also showed a great interest in having the opportunity to complete a degree.

“There is a huge need for blue collar workers and when they complete this degree, they will have a vast array of blue collar skills,” said Eddy Mardis, Cowboy Arts/Western Silversmithing and Fabrication Faculty Member at Mesalands. “Students in this program enjoy what they’re doing, because it’s their area of interest, whether their making bits and spurs, jewelry, or belt buckles.”

Students in this program can acquire a number of additional skills, including metal inert gas (MIG) welding, tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, shielded metal arc (stick) welding, and gas welding.

The belt buckle designed by Shyla Curry, for the newly appointed New Mexico Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Shyla Curry, a Mesalands student in the Cowboy Arts/Western Silversmithing/Fabrication Program, has created bits and spurs, belt buckles, jewelry, and cell phone cases. She explains how she has benefitted from this program.

“I have direction in life now and a potential career ahead of me. I’m financially independent and financially stable,” Curry said. “I also want to thank our instructor Eddy (Mardis). He really encourages your independence and creativity in the shop and he’s very helpful.”

Mardis stated that Curry was recently commissioned to develop a belt buckle for the newly appointed New Mexico Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham. Mardis also said Curry sells her items online and has been contacted by store owners, to sell some of her items in their stores.

“Shyla is artistic and she learned how to channel these skills, to make a living,” Mardis said. “This is probably one of the few programs in the world, in which you can pay your way through college, selling what you make.”

Students interested in the Cowboy Arts/Western Silversmithing and Fabrication Program at Mesalands Community College, should visit:, or call
(575) 461-4413, ext. 158.

Enrollment for the spring 2019 semester is Thursday, January 10, 2019, from 9 am-6 pm in the Great Room, located in Building A. Classes will start on Monday, January 14, 2019.