Textiles News

Posted on Monday, August 13, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Bean Gilsdorf (MFA 2011) never imagined herself as a professional advice columnist. But in a moment of levity at an editorial meeting of the art blog Daily Serving, she tossed out the idea of an art advice column, and the others wouldn't let it drop.

And once she launched the thing, it really took off. She posted her first "Help Desk" column in January 2012, and it was almost immediately picked up by KQED.org and the Huffington Post.

What have been the most memorable questions? "One was, 'I just discovered that my MFA faculty advisor is an adulterer. I find that morally reprehensible. Should I continue to trust him in our student-advisor relationship?'"

This dilemma can't be reduced to yet another case of people not living up to expectations, Gilsdorf explains, since your advisor is your designated critic-advocate, and the nuances of the trust and the power dynamic are quite specific. In other words, Dear Abby can't deal with this one. You really need the advice of another artist.

What's been the strangest question so far? "'What is the best and most humane way to skin a cat as part of an art piece, in front of an audience'’ I wrote the guy back privately and told him I wasn't qualified to give an answer."

Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2012 by Ace Lehner

From August 3 to 5, approximately 30 students will present their work at CCA's "School to Market" booth at the American Craft Council Show at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.

With more than 230 of the top contemporary jewelry, clothing, furniture, and home-decor artists from across the country, this is the largest juried craft show west of the Rockies, providing an unparalleled opportunity for students to exhibit their fine art and functional craft works in a high-profile venue.

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 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.

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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.

Watch the video of all the presentations (91 minutes), shot and edited by Yoni Klein (Photography 2012)

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.

Posted on Thursday, April 5, 2012 by Allison Byers

WHEN you are a practicing alchemist, as Sasha Duerr is, strangers will often ask you to demonstrate your powers by heating up a caldron in the yard. It’s a living, and Ms. Duerr is usually happy to give it a try. On a recent Monday afternoon, she had arranged to spark up three propane camp stoves and scavenge a few things to boil.

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Posted on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Craftlab
Issuu, 2012
Digital, 20 pages, free

This catalogue documents the work done in Sasha Duerr's (Textiles and Fine Arts faculty and MFA 2003) fall 2011 Craft Lab course, a cross-pollination of textile, fashion, and environmental systems thinking, inspired by ecological principles found in permaculture and regenerative design applied to restoration, repair, and its inherent connection to "craft."

Posted on Friday, January 27, 2012 by Molly Mitchell

A CCA student greets visitors to the School to Market booth at the 2012 American Craft Council Show at Fort Mason.

California College of the Arts and the American Craft Council have in common a passion for furthering craft education and mentoring young makers.

It’s no surprise that CCA and the ACC have over the past years joined forces to produce a number of programs geared toward the practice and business of making and selling craft.

Posted on Monday, August 22, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Cory Gunter Brown and Cassidy Hope Wright founded The Moon, a self-described "slow fashion" boutique and design studio in 2007

This is the first installment in a series of artist profiles that depicts CCA's connection to the Oakland Art Murmur -- in particular to 25th Street in downtown Oakland, where in almost any given gallery, shop, or studio, artists from California College of the Arts are making their living in the arts. Collectively, they are changing the cultural landscape of Oakland, elevating its reputation as one of today’s most talked-about art scenes.

Earlier this summer, while walking along 25th Street between Broadway and Telegraph avenues in downtown Oakland, I found myself appreciating a discernible shift in the neighborhood's appearance. It used to be only abandoned warehouses and defunct automotive repair shops comprised the city blocks in this area (the result of 1989's Loma Prieta earthquake, which took its toll on an already economically depressed downtown Oakland).

Yet now, slowly, one by one, this same area seems to be the impetus for an appreciable spate of creative businesses and artist live/work spaces.

Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Happy Earth Day, CCA!

California College of the Arts is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to The Princeton Review, an education service that helps students select and apply to colleges.

CCA's inclusion in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition reinforces the college's reputation as an exemplary institution of higher education committed to sustainability.

The news, which USA Today reported Wednesday, April 20, arrives just in time for today's Earth Day celebration—and brings to a close CCA's Earth Week festivities with a remarkable bang!

The Guide to 311 Green Colleges, the first and only free comprehensive college guidebook to focus solely on high-ranking U.S. colleges and universities, showcases outstanding commitments to environmental sustainability in and out of the classroom (e.g., environmentally related practices, policies, and academic offerings). The 220-page guide contains profiles of 308 institutions of higher education in the United States and three in Canada, all of which demonstrate a significant commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation.

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