What's your favorite piece of clothing? As we've learned from our forays into street fashion, every treasured scarf, worn-out t-shirt, and hand-me-down skirt has a story. Most fashionistas could give an itemized tour of their closets, describing when each piece was bought and how it was worn. These stories may seem inane -- we wonder, Why can I remember this and not my parents' birthdays? -- but now they're being granted a higher purpose in the Local Wisdom project.
Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 by Allison Byers
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2012 by Amanda E. Gross
from Team JuaBar IMPACT 2012 project proposal
Within the next few weeks, the three teams of CCA students who won IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards will be heading to Alaska, Tanzania, and Mexico to attempt innovative social transformations. Bolstered by the support of their $10,000 IMPACT grants and their community partner organizations, the teams -- KVAK TV, JuaBar, and 20/20 FOTO -- will work to empower three different communities to address pressing local concerns. Each team brings together a mix of graduate and undergraduate students from different academic programs.
IMPACT is one of the anchor programs at CCA's Center for Art and Public Life, providing students with opportunities to build relationships for social change. It is about innovation, community, collaboration, and making. It celebrates the entrepreneurial drive of CCA students combined with their desire to create a tangible, positive influence within a specific community.
Posted on Monday, June 25, 2012 by Allison Byers
Sasha Duerr is a CCA alumna (MFA 2003), a member of the CCA faculty, and the founder of the Permacouture Institute. Just like the cloth she dyes by hand, everything about Duerr radiates passion, a generous investment of time and hand labor, and a deep respect for history.
When you think of the color red, you probably imagine a bright, saturated red, like a Crayola crayon. Yet when Duerr thinks of red, she imagines a living, breathing, mottled red -- the red that comes from a fern, or a pinecone.
Just like the cloth she dyes by hand using what she calls a garden-to-garment process, everything about Duerr radiates passion, a generous investment of time and hand labor, and a deep respect for history.
She focuses her teaching and research practices on organic dyes, alternative fibers, and the creative reuse of materials. She has written and lectured extensively, becoming a well-known authority in these emerging fields over the last 10 years. Her artworks have been exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States and in Japan, and she has taught at artist residencies, colleges, and community and school garden programs.
Posted on Thursday, June 21, 2012 by Allison Byers
The designer behind the One Laptop Per Child Project, Yves Behar is truly a world-class designer, balancing aesthetics, function, and socially-based initiatives. Founder and principal designer of FuseProject, he also happens to be the Chair of the Industrial Design Department at San Francisco’s California College of the Arts. Recently, he facilitated a design studio in which Industrial Design students partnered with South Korean cell phone manufacturer Pantech to design new cell-phone models, taking on the future of mobile communications and addressing the idea of emotional networking.
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2012 by Allison Byers
A couple on a weekend hike through the Oakland hills pick a few blossoms, some wild onions and fennel. They eye the blackberries, just starting to flower, and make a note to come back for those in late summer.
Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 by Jim Norrena
(l to r) Fashion Design chair Amy Williams, Maybelline representative Gabriel Almodovar, and program manager Pam Zahedani
CCA's sold-out 2012 Annual Fashion Show, a favorite among the numerous commencement-week events held at the college, took place Friday, May 11. The runway presentation, held inside a trademark tent in front of the main building on the San Francisco campus, is the program's capstone event of the year and serves to showcase the innovative thesis collections built by senior Fashion Design students.
Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 by Allison Byers
Water scarcity in the U.S. west may seem like a problem that affects western residents alone, but where the national food supply is concerned, the consequences of a water crisis spread quickly in all directions. The San Joaquin Valley is the most productive agricultural region in the world, according to a Reuters data report on California agriculture and water supply. The state produces “over half of U.S. fruits, nuts and vegetables and over 90 percent of U.S. almonds, artichokes, avocados, broccoli and processing tomatoes,” and is the nation’s largest dairy supplier.
Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook
Furniture faculty member Barbara Holmes spent most of February installing a tour de force exhibition in an impressive new space in one of San Francisco's more down-and-out neighborhoods. Located at 1045 Mission Street between 6th and 7th Streets, it will be on view through Sunday, May 27, 2012. Since it's viewable only through the front windows, visitors are welcome to come take a look 24 hours a day. At night the piece is theatrically lit with interior spotlights.
1045 Mission Street is a 100-foot-long window-front space on the ground floor of SOMA Residencies. In 2011, the owners invited Recology's artist in residence (AIR) program to utilize it for off-site exhibits. Holmes is one of the first artists to install there, and she leaped on the opportunity to conceive her most ambitious piece to date -- one that would specifically take advantage of the entire available space and the nighttime illumination possibilities. The opportunity to create something so abstract, almost alive, on this big of a scale, was deeply interesting.
Also interesting were her interactions with people who live in the neighborhood and passed by while she was installing. The door was closed, but that didn't stop people from tapping on the window pretty much daily, wanting to ask about what she was doing and, occasionally, relate their life story. "It's a pretty tough neighborhood. Sometimes the interactions were funny, sometimes sad. A lot of the people who were passing by, seeing the piece, were not people who would ordinarily go to art galleries, so it was wonderful to reach them with an artwork."
Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook
Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change
Laurence King Publishers, 2012
Paperback, 192 pages, $29.95
Fashion Design faculty Lynda Grose coauthors (together with Kate Fletcher) this book about the potential of sustainability to transform both the fashion system and the innovators who work within it. Sustainability is arguably the defining theme of the 21st century.
The issues in fashion are broad-ranging and include labor abuses, toxic chemicals, and conspicuous consumption, giving rise to an undeniable tension between fashion and sustainability.
The book is organized into three parts. The first is concerned with transforming fashion products across the garment's lifecycle and includes innovation in materials, manufacture, distribution, use and re-use.
The second looks at ideas that are transforming the fashion system at root into something more sustainable, including new business models that reduce material throughput.
The third is concerned with transforming the role of fashion designers and looks to examples where the designer changes from a stylist or creator into a communicator, activist, or facilitator.
As of 2014, the book is available in four languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese.
Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Mitchell Schwarzer
Mitchell Schwarzer gives his introduction at the CCA faculty retreat
On February 4, 2012, the faculty at California College of the Arts gathered at the college's San Francisco campus for a retreat focused on the state of the arts across our many disciplines. In the morning, 25 short presentations offered insights into challenges and opportunities faced by practitioners and thinkers in recent times. The word aired most frequently was crisis: the crisis of the Great Recession; the crisis of Global Climate Change; the crisis of understanding and working within a discipline in our digital age.
The economic downturn has produced an economic squeeze within most of our disciplines. Art directors, as Alexis Mahrus remarks, have diminished roles in shaping an illustration. Smaller profit margins reduce the flexibility and time given over to experimentation. Branding and celebrity worship take up a larger slice of the creative pie. Some presenters, like Sue Redding of Industrial Design, see no problem in this conflation of art and business and, furthermore, dispute the notion of a crisis. Yet many presenters feel that the economic crisis is not only real but wielding dangerously asymmetrical impacts. Demand remains strong for high-end craft goods and blue-chip fine art. Some small nonprofits are struggling to survive. To Ignacio Valero of Critical Studies, the priority given over to luxury items can be attributed to the ongoing influence of classical economic policies that privilege individual decision making over collective social and natural needs. Likewise, Sandra Vivanco of Diversity Studies notes that economic inequalities have greatly worsened over the past few years, especially in the developing world. Contemporary society is forging a timeless, spaceless way of conducting business, a race for lucrative and short-term gains that concentrates investment more than ever in the hands of a few.