Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 by Jim Norrena
The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design announced in April that Hilary Sanders and Michael Esteban, two recent Jewelry / Metal Arts alumni, both were awarded a 2013 Windgate Fellowship, bringing to five the total number to date of Windgate Fellowships awarded to CCA students since the award's inception.
The fellowship selection process presents a “rare opportunity to survey the best and brightest emerging makers in the field of craft.” It also gives these emerging artists both the validation and financial resources to pursue their dreams.
Building Skills, Discovering Voices
CCA's Jewelry / Metal Arts Program is ideally suited to prepare students to participate at this level of competition. The metal arts curriculum is built on a foundation of traditional and contemporary metalsmithing techniques, emphasizing skilled craftsmanship, conceptual rigor, design, aesthetics, and familiarity with the medium's history.
"Each semester, my skills, attention to detail, and sense of personal aesthetic increased exponentially," explains Sanders. "The Jewelry / Metal Arts department is a fantastic place to develop craft-based artwork. All of the teachers exude a love of making and an attention to craft that rubs off onto anyone who takes a class in the department."
Equally important to program leaders is to engage students and challenge them to discover their artistic voice and encourage personal expression through the creation of jewelry, functional objects, and sculpture.
On how CCA's curriculum and faculty helped prepare her to win the fellowship, Sanders explains, "It was the perfect place to translate experiences and ideas into the things I made."
Sanders recalls the Design and Culture seminar taught by Industrial Design instructors Mara Holt Skov and Steven Skov Holt: "This class helped me to understand and contextualize my work in the greater world of art, craft, and design. A lot of the writing I did for this class helped me to write the fellowship proposal."
About the Windgate Fellowship Award
Each year 10 undergraduate seniors working in a craft medium or process are awarded a $15,000 Windgate Fellowship Award. Over 100 colleges and universities across the country are invited to nominate two applicants for the online panel-selection process.
The number of institutions and artist nominations has steadily increased, culminating this year in a record 115 nominations from 68 universities -- again the highest number of nominations and the most universities that have participated since the program began in 2006.
The Windgate Fellowship is also one of the largest awards offered nationally to art students.
History Repeats Itself
2013 marks the second time that two CCA awardees were selected for Windgate Fellowships in the same year! This also happened in 2010 -- the first year CCA received the award -- when Jewelry / Metal Arts seniors Rachael Nyhus and Alexis Myre won fellowships. (Sanders vividly remembers the moment Nyhus received word she'd won, which inspired her to begin preparing for the award.)
CCA Alumna Selected for Windgate Exhibition
Myre will also be honored as a featured artist in the first exhibition solely representing the work of Windgate Fellows. The exhibition, Taking Shape: Celebrating the Windgate Fellowship, which was curated by Cindi Strauss, Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts and Design curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
It opens at SOFA Chicago (Sculpture Objects Functional Art + Design) in October and will feature makers from 2006 to 2010 and highlight the diversity of aesthetics, processes, and materials found in craft today.
Assistant Director of Fine Arts Julie Caffey on Myre's selection: "CCA students have been Windgate fellows three of the past four years that we've applied. This is a notable achievement and we'd like to once again congratulate the Jewelry / Metal Arts team and the rest of the CCA community that helped to foster this particular artist's great talent."
CCA’s Commitment to Craft
CCA has been teaching metal arts classes for over 100 years. "Jewelry / Metal Arts is part of a living legacy of craft at CCA," explains program chair Marilyn da Silva. "We combine exceptional instruction in the fundamentals of the medium with innovative upper-level workshops that invite students to address contemporary conceptual, social, and environmental issues through craft processes.
“Students leave with such a strong foundation technically, conceptually, and intellectually. We don't just teach the how, we focus on the why of making.”
She continues: "Our faculty [members] are so skilled at what they do and genuinely care about the students; it creates a real sense of community in the studio that energizes and supports exciting and ambitious work."
School to Market at American Craft Council San Francisco Show
CCA students and recent grads once again exhibited their fine craft works at the prestigious American Craft Council Show in San Francisco in August.
Now in its third year, the School to Market workshop represents a partnership between CCA and the American Craft Council (ACC) to help bring hands-on entrepreneurial experience to young makers working in craft media.
This year the CCA booth featured select works from 29 artists in ceramics, wood, textiles, jewelry, and metal arts that were chosen through an open and rigorous jury process. (Sanders was on hand to showcase her amazing graphite-based design work to an appreciative audience.)
The spring School to Market workshop is part of the interdisciplinary craft curriculum and is cotaught by David Cole (Jewelry / Metal Arts Program) and Anne Wolf (Textiles Program), both of whom worked with students at the show to guide them through the process of producing, displaying, and presenting their work.
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.
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.
About the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design
The mission of the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design is to advance the understanding of craft by encouraging and supporting research, scholarship, and professional development. The Center’s programs strive to support the best examples of research and practice in the field.