Project-Based Courses

The Ceramics Program offers students the opportunity to hone not only their art-making skills but also their awareness of ecological matters. Take for example the "Designing Ecology: Ano Nuevo Island" course, which was offered in spring 2010 as part of ENGAGE at CCA, an innovative initiative housed at the Center for Art and Public Life that combines the Community Arts Program’s successful model of community engagement with the project-based learning approach of the architecture and design disciplines.

Activated across academic programs, ENGAGE at CCA serves as a hub to connect interested faculty and students to community partners and relevant outside experts.

Ecotap: Stone Washed

CERAM370/CRAFT370, spring 2014
Instructor: Nathan Lynch, Chair & Advisor

Course description
Levi Strauss has been examining its apparel washing and finishing facilities based in 500 sites around the world and is looking to repurpose tons of sludge they produce to reduce their load on landfills. To date the company's explorations have been applied to building roads in Nicaragua and to a model home in Haiti. Now they are looking for additional solutions. This is both a speculative and practically-based outcome class. Artists, architects, and designers enrolled in this project-based course will have the opportunity to work with Levi's water engineers, local scientists, and ceramic engineers to research the material, develop project proposals, and prototype new solutions. The course is open to all disciplines - Ceramics, Textiles, Glass, Jewelry/Metal Arts, Sculpture, Fashion, Industrial Design, Architecture, Interior Design, and graduate students are particularly encouraged to participate.

La Honda Project

CRAFT370, spring 2012
Instructor: Nathan Lynch, Chair & Advisor

Course description
This interdisciplinary, field-based course will focus on the development of project proposals and outdoor installations for a private sculpture reserve near the Portola Redwoods State Park. In addition to studying earthworks, public art, land use, and ecological interventions from across the globe, the class will visit artists and local historians to learn from the specific history of San Mateo County. Methods of fabrication and materials will range from low to high-tech and from permanent to ephemeral. Students will be required to participate in three overnight camping trips at the site in La Honda, including spring break.

Exploratorium

CERAM350, spring 2011
Instructor: Nathan Lynch, Chair & Advisor

Course description
The Exploratorium, San Francisco's beloved art and science museum, will move into Piers 15 and 17 in 2013. Artists enrolled in this project-based course will work with Exploratorium artists, local scientists, exhibit designers and historians to research the new site, develop project proposals and prototype exhibits. In particular, the site research will focus on water issues related to the San Francisco Bay including bay ecology, shipping traffic, tourism, toxicity and climate change. Project proposals and prototypes will be reviewed directly by Exploratorium curators and considered for possible commissions.

Designing Ecology: Ano Nuevo Island

CERAM370, spring 2010
Instructor: Nathan Lynch, Chair & Advisor

Course description
This interdisciplinary studio course examines the role of the artist and designer in the context of an ongoing habitat restoration project on Ano Nuevo Island, a nature preserve located off the coast of Santa Cruz. Working in collaboration with local art and design studio REBAR and Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, an international conservation biology nonprofit organization, students help design a functional ceramic nest module that will be used as shelter by the Rhinoceros Auklet, a burrowing seabird listed as a "species of concern" by the State of California.

This course offers hands-on opportunity for students from any creative discipline to contribute to an applied design solution that is a critical element of a long-term habitat restoration project on Ano Nuevo Island. While primarily a Ceramics studio course, cross-disciplinary discourse and design strategies are encouraged.

This course includes field excursions to Ano Nuevo Island as well as guest lectures from practitioners with a range of disciplinary backgrounds, including art, landscape design, and restoration ecology.

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Pie Ranch

UDIST, Summer 2008
Instructor: Nathan Lynch, Chair & Advisor

Course description
This interdisciplinary, field-based course focused on land use, food systems and ecological interventions. Working closely with Pie Ranch and Mission Pie students took several trips to the Ranch in Davenport, California, to camp, study, experiment, and participate in the local food system.

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FOR-SITE Foundation

CERAM370, spring 2008
Instructor: Nathan Lynch, Chair & Advisor

Course description
This interdisciplinary, field-based course focused on earthworks, land use, and ecological interventions. In addition to studying major earthworks from across the globe, the class visited local artists, ecologists, and historians to learn from the specific history of the Nevada City, California, landscape.