Meet the Chair

Meet Russell Baldon

I am honored to serve as the chair of CCA’s Furniture Program and could not dream of a better place to work. I have had the pleasure of working here since 2002, serving as chair since fall 2009.

My Background

I grew up in the Central Valley of California, where I designed and built wooden toys for my family’s company. So from an early age I was fortunate to be steeped in a creative studio space. Upon moving to San Francisco in 1984, I earned a bachelor of arts degree in Furniture from what was then called CCAC.

In 1997 I received a master of fine arts in Furniture from San Diego State University. Along the way I studied and worked with some of the nation’s leading furniture makers:

Garry Knox Bennett
Gail Fredell
Tom Loeser
Wendy Maruyama

My Work

I strive in my work to walk the thin line between function and nonfunction. It is not easily categorized as one or the other, but is intentionally in the gray area in the middle. Viewers are often attracted, and perhaps seduced, by the work’s seeming familiarity, while searching to expose the message inherent within.

The seduction draws new ideas and vigor from the interplay or tension among three points of view: the ideas and emotions of art, the nonverbal language of design, and the techniques and materials of craft.

It is a visual art that strives to be at the edge of understanding. I want my work to straddle the line between furniture and sculpture, science and art, technology and people, and the sensual and cerebral.

My Commitment to Student Success

I am the only person in my family with an advanced degree. It took me a great deal of time, but my motivation was derived from a firm belief in the value of education.

I believe knowledge, particularly in a group-learning context, is vital to self-esteem and self-expression.

As a teacher, my emphasis is to build upon each student’s individuality. Through instruction, dialogue, and hands-on experience, I aim to enable students to communicate using visual and verbal languages alike.

To do this, we create a nurturing, creative environment in which risks can be taken without fear. It is through risk-taking that one learns self-confidence, which is the foundation for success throughout one’s life.

My teaching experience has provided contact with a multitude of students from various backgrounds. This contact has had a great effect upon me personally and it continues to nurture in me a growing awareness and understanding of the world that surrounds us.

The uniqueness of the individual is what makes this awareness happen, and to be a part of fostering a student’s individuality is an awe-inspiring experience.

I feel it is an invaluable gift to learn and share with my students, and this opportunity is one of the greatest benefits of teaching at an institution like CCA.