California College of the Arts’ craft curriculum is a stream of courses co-curated by the following six programs:
Craft courses are required for students in these majors, and are open to any CCA student who is interested in the topic.
CCA’s craft curriculum emerged in 2011 as a way for students and faculty to explore craft as both a discipline and dialogue.
The central issues in contemporary craft discourse have historical antecedents in both the Arts and Crafts movement and the 1960s Bay Area studio craft movement. These include corporal sites of knowledge, alternative economies, sustainability and slow movements, diversity and identity politics, and production from the local to the global.
With contributions to both of these movements and a stellar lineage of pioneering artists working in the crafts, fine arts, design, and architecture, the California College of the Arts is at the forefront of these national and international dialogues.
The CCA craft curriculum creates meaning through nuances of materiality. The curriculum introduces students to contemporary issues of critical making within an expansive definition of craft that includes art, design, architecture, activism, art history, anthropology, and science.
The goal of the craft curriculum is to identify ways in which craft making and thinking link diverse disciplines.
Three Categories of Courses
Craft Workshops are technical or thematic studio courses that provide opportunities for students to work in a transdisciplinary setting. These courses emphasize making and process contextualized within broad craft discussions on expert skill, material study and knowledge, and DIY approaches. Advanced workshops extend these dialogues and practices to investigate economic, political, and social contexts for students’ work. Individual sections incorporate readings, lectures, videos, and gallery and museum visits.
Digital Tools 3D courses introduce students to the potential of computer-aided design and the latest production tools and technology, including the laser cutter, CNC router, and 3D printing. In addition to expanding their skillsets beyond analogue hand-based techniques, students gain valuable experience in documenting and presenting their work.
Contemporary Issues in Craft Theory connects contemporary art practice with centuries-old traditions and emergent craft discourse through a sustained engagement with the growing body of critical scholarship in craft theory and history. Through lectures, readings, discussion, research, and writing, students deepen their critical understanding of material histories in relation to gender, race, labor, and class, and are better able to locate and articulate their own practice within the current landscape of materiality and meaning.
CCA’s Commitment to Craft
CCA has a long history of commitment to the craft disciplines. Founded in 1907 by cabinet maker Frederick Meyer at the height of the Arts and Crafts Movement, CCA’s educational philosophy has long been based on the synthesis of fine and applied arts, theory, and practice.
In spring 2011 CCA hosted Craft Forward, a national symposium on the state of craft. Attended by over 350 participants, Craft Forward examined the multifaceted practices that both distinguish and blur the historically charged edges between craft, art, design, architecture, and writing. For more information about the Craft Forward Symposium, please visit the event's website. You can participate in the ongoing conversation about craft on the Craft Forward at CCA page on Facebook.