Thinking Through Craft
Fall 2015, Winter 2016 and Spring 2016 quarters
What if we acknowledge the recent historical status of craft as “inferior” to fine art and then seek out the potential of that unique vantage point? What if contemporary craft is used as a subversive strategy to question issues such as function, materiality, skill, and the role of the amateur in our culture? What if we propose craft as foundational to environmental awareness? The impetus for this program is Glenn Adamson’s book of the same title, which treats craft as an idea that transcends discipline. This program will center on a studio practice working with wood, metals, and other materials in the context of craft. Students will choose to work in a wood studio or a large metals studio for the year and will collectively take part in collaborative lectures, workshops, seminars, design challenges, research assignments, and field trips.
Work in wood and large metals readily deals with issues of function, structure, ornament, finish, and comfort, but can just as readily address issues such as power and personal space, identity, privileged resources, the uses of discomfort, the role of ornament, or the limits of utility. The studio will explore and advance studio practice in functional and expressive works, using primarily wood, wood composites and substitutes, steel, sheet metals, cast metals, and a variety of mixed and re-purposed materials, and working in the college’s well-equipped wood and large metals fabrication shops. Fall quarter work will address foundational skills and background readings on craft, art, and materials, with individual and collaborative studio and research projects. Winter quarter projects and research will work from this base to address more complex challenges in wood and metals. Students will have the opportunity to develop their own individual or small-group studio work and research projects for the spring quarter. Craft-related internships are also possible. Craft-related internships are also possible.
Many visual artists today are interested in the meaning of workmanship and the physical experience of manipulating and interacting with three-dimensional forms. This will be an opportunity to participate in the redefinition of craft today by making works in wood, metals, and other materials, studying the environmental, social and economic significance of these materials, exploring tools and processes, and reading, writing, and reflecting on craft. Eschewing the well-worn “craft vs. art” arguments, we will investigate the potential of craft as a vital subject in contemporary art, design, and environmental stewardship, and as a means to create timeless and timely forms.
Students in the program will gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and satisfactions of their own craft in wood or metals, and a fuller sense of craft as a responsive and responsible approach to materials and making in contemporary culture. They will develop informed skills in drawing, design, and the use of tools and materials; abilities in expressive, expository, and reflective thinking, speaking and writing; and a body of their own works in wood or metal.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day
|April 24th, 2015||This program will be offered to Juniors and Seniors.|