California College of the Arts is pleased to announce a newly implemented undergraduate craft curriculum developed by the following five programs:
These fine arts programs have collaborated to create a shared curriculum to better prepare their graduates for success in the 21st century. The new courses are required for students in those majors, but open to any CCA student who is interested in the topic.
Three Categories of New Courses
The Craft Workshop covers an exciting array of subjects, including entrepreneurship, connecting to the world outside of college, and expanding students’ technical skills in an interdisciplinary setting.
Hijacking Santa’s Workshop is a fall course focusing on prototyping and production; final projects are sold at CCA’s annual spring and fall Holiday Fairs.
The spring School to Market course, offered in partnership with the American Craft Council, emphasizes retail opportunities and gives students the chance to curate and manage a booth selling CCA student work at the American Craft Council Show in San Francisco.
Exploratorium Prototypes (a collaboration with the Exploratorium science museum in San Francisco) places students in direct engagement with a community partner to research the museum's new site, develop project proposals, and prototype exhibits..
Lost and Found and Soil to Studio build hands-on, eco-friendly skills for students interested in sustainable practices. In Lost and Found, students recycle second-hand jewelry and metal components into new creations, in the process learning about alternative and ethical sources for raw materials. Soil to Studio explores regenerative design, introducing students to non-toxic natural dyes cultivated through urban gardening and giving them insight into the politics, aesthetics and practice of natural dyeing.
The Visiting Artist Craft Workshop allows students to work directly with a renowned international artist; last fall featured visiting artist Chiharu Shiota.
Digital Tools 3D
The second family of courses is called Digital Tools 3D. These courses introduce students to the potential of computer-aided design and the latest production tools, including the laser cutter, the CNC router, and the 3D printer. Besides exploring skills and tools beyond traditional handwork, students gain valuable experience in documenting their own work and preparing digital visual presentations.
Contemporary Issues in Craft Theory
Finally, the Contemporary Issues in Craft Theory courses (not required for Sculpture students) connect current material and process-based practices with historical, cultural, and intellectual histories, enabling students to reimagine themselves and their work in tomorrow’s society.
CCA’s Commitment to Craft
CCA has a long history of commitment to the craft disciplines. The college was founded by Frederick Meyer, who was active in the Arts and Crafts movement and a cabinetmaker by trade. The college has had numerous influential alumni and faculty in the craft disciplines, including Robert Arneson and Peter Voulkos (alumni) and Viola Frey (faculty), who helped instigate the ceramics revolution of the 1960s.
In spring 2011 CCA hosted Craft Forward, a national symposium on the state of craft. Craft Forward examined the multifaceted practices that both distinguish and blur the historically charged edges between craft, art, design, architecture, and writing. The symposium brought together a diverse group of makers and thinkers to explore the ethos of craft and its resurgence in the twenty-first century.