Under the Wire
On this last day of Februray, I finally make my post – as the email reminder from Shinobu and Matthew says, “Februrary is the cruelest month.”
One of my larger, non-residency goals was met – I met with my deans and our provost, and I was approved to write a craft curriculum to go up for approval in the fall with NASAD. I had a long proposal written to justify the move, and under my dean’s directive, reduced it to bullet points (I had to google, “writing effective bullet points”) so the information was easy to digest in a 10 minute meeting. I was excited but sad at the same time – all that work and research was reduced to:
What is it:
Professional craft study with an imbedded minor in business
Digital integration with hands-on making
Conceptual emphasis for the high-end market
Why should we do it:
Name recognition for the college for unique programming, with potential enrollment growth
Facilities, faculty and much of the curriculum already exist
Columbus is perfect location to launch innovative programming
There’s a practical side to writing all this, and I believe in professionally preparing students, but I had a certain amount of reservations writing “embedded minor in business” and “high-end market.” I question the way we educate crafts majors in the united states – I find myself more in line with, say, the Dutch and how they approach materials and ideas. In the crafts areas where I teach, students are usually in two camps: they create production work they hope to eventually sell, or they use the material conceptually, usually in a more sculptural way. They don’t do well together in critiques, as they view each other as “sell outs” or “art freaks.” One of my goals in writing this major was trying to find a home for both groups, and my fear is that by trying to make everyone happy, no one will. It will be challenging as the months go on, and I work with my colleagues, to maintain integrity and create a unique identiy to this program.
On a more personal note, I really loved what Heather wrote in her last post about “cheating.” It’s been really funny and odd to do this residency – as I stated at the start, I really haven’t made any significant work in years due to the administrative nature of my job, having two young children at home, and just life. But once I declared that I WASN’T going to make anything, I find myself like a recovered smoker or someone who has decided not to eat gluten. I WANT to make things – but I worry that I violate the terms of the residency if I even grab a sketchbook or play with some materials. I felt sneaky when I made paper robot sculptures with my kids on a snow day a couple of weeks ago.
But it felt great too.