Q: What are some of the advantages of attending a craft school? I’ve always thought it would be interesting to take a few classes…but I’m older and don’t want to invest an entire two years of my life to the course of study if it isn’t necessarily worth it. Do they teach you just about the medium and show techniques, or are there craft-specific business courses you can take too? I feel like I know just about all there is to know about my medium.
A: To answer this question we first need to realize that a craft school can take many forms and then we need to think about why a mature craftsperson would want to go to “school.” A craft school could be Cranbrook Academy or Oregon College of Art and Craft, offering planned multi-year programs in various crafts media. On the other hand it might be a craft center like Anderson Ranch in Colorado or Brookfield Craft Center in Connecticut that offer short, unrelated classes in a wide range of media.
There are many benefits to going to school. You are likely to be introduced to new techniques, challenged with new problems to solve and introduced to a new network of fellow craftspersons working with materials other than yours, as well as those working in your field. I think one of the challenges facing the mature craftsperson is staying fresh and excited about the work. Going to an intensive class session is one way to keep your creativity going. I might suggest you take a class in a totally new media with no goal other than being open to new materials and possibilities.