The study of craft and making has been foundational to Bard Graduate Center since its earliest days and continues to gather momentum. Our endeavors are inherently cross-disciplinary, bringing together multiple fields, theoretical approaches, and methodologies, including Indigenous, postcolonial, and gendered perspectives. We analyze materials-based and technical expertise to better understand making as a means of creating knowledge, both explicit and tacit. Topics encompass forms and practices in a variety of media, among them fiber, wood, paper, ceramics, glass, and metals. Throughout we traverse and critique geographic, temporal, and intellectual boundaries via research, teaching, publication, oral history, ethnography, digital humanities, and curation and exhibition.

One of the hallmarks of BGC is the seamless integration of teaching and research. Graduate seminars are taught by the faculty who organize the seminar series, symposia, and publications and who select visiting fellows. These research events, in turn, inspire new faculty and student work. In this online series we re-present to you research at BGC as facets of faculty teaching and publishing. Themes reflect curricular foci and areas of special strength.

Meet the BGC: Catherine Whalen

Professor Catherine Whalen talks about how her research informs her teaching and the digital projects that have come out of these courses. She discusses her work on post-war craft and design in the US, including her research on glass critic and historian Paul Hollister.

Interview: Hadley Jensen

BGC-AMNH Postdoctoral Fellow Hadley Jensen (BGC PhD ‘18) speaks to Dean Peter N. Miller about her fall 2021 exhibition, Shaped by the Loom: Weaving Worlds in the American Southwest, and how the project contributes to an arc of exhibitions on textiles and weaving at BGC.

Symposium: Shared Ground

This symposium explored cross-disciplinary approaches to craft studies, with an eye towards intersecting and divergent theories, methodologies, and sites of practice. Presented by BGC, the Center for Craft, and the Museum of Arts and Design with support from the Windgate Foundation.

Research Project: Craft, Art & Design Oral History Project

An online archive of oral history interviews of contemporary craftspeople, artists, and designers. The project responds to the growing interest in craft and design history, in which oral histories have been a key resource for a growing body of scholarship.

Seminar: Lynda Teller Pete & Barbara Teller Ornelas

In “Spider Woman’s Children: Navajo Weavers Today,” Teller Pete and Teller Ornelas introduce the history of Navajo weaving and the family’s process of weaving from sheep to tapestry, which spans seven generations in the Teller Family of Two Grey Hills, New Mexico.

Panel: The Future of Making and Knowing

The launch event for the publication of Ways of Making and Knowing, which explores the circumstances under which making constituted knowing, specifically the relationship between making objects and knowing nature in Europe and its colonies from about 1450 to 1850.

Past Exhibitions: Making & Craft

Learn about past exhibitions including John Lockwood Kipling: Arts & Crafts in the Punjab and London (2017), Sheila Hicks: Weaving as Metaphor (2006), and Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture (2014).

Fellows Talk: Urmila Mohan

Urmila Mohan, former BGC fellow and curator of the 2018 exhibition Fabricating Power with Balinese Textiles, explores loom technology and culture in Indonesia as well as the physical influence that the weaving process takes on the body, shaping the textiles and the people making them.

Lecture: Michelle Erickson

In “Making History: The Art and Politics of Clay,” Erickson discusses her practice as a studio potter and how her work gives dynamic relevance to the legacy of ceramics as a form of social expression, referencing how makers and users have deployed ceramics to advocate for political change and social justice.

Interview: Sasha Nixon

BGC alum Sasha Nixon (MA ‘18) discusses the inspiration for her 2019 exhibition at the BGC Gallery A View from the Jeweler’s Bench: Ancient Treasures, Contemporary Statements, a project that developed out of her MA qualifying paper.

Digital Interactive: The Codex and Crafts in Late Antiquity

This interactive features a multigathering codex, the precursor of today’s bound book. In late antiquity, makers of codices adapted a number of existing craft techniques. This interactive features the five main processes used to make a bound codex.

Image Credits: [Symposium: Shared Ground] Courtesy of Center for Craft. [Seminar: Lynda Teller Pete & Barbara Teller Ornelas] Photograph by Mr. Joe Coca, courtesy of Thrums Books. [Past Exhibitions: Making & Craft] John Lockwood Kipling. A Wood Carver, Simla, 1870. Pencil and pen-and-ink on paper. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 0929:56/(IS). [Fellows Talk: Urmila Mohan] This Balinese youth is protected by a geringsing cloth during a toothfiling ritual. Ubud, Bali, 2016. Photo by Urmila Mohan. [Lecture: Michelle Erickson] Michelle Erickson, Patriot Jug, 2018, creamware (wheel thrown and lathe turned earthenware, modeled and press molded spout and handle extruded through a custom cut brass die), H: 9.5 x W: 9.5 in. Photograph: Robert Hunter. [Digital Interactive: The Codex and Crafts in Late Antiquity] Designed by CHIPS, in collaboration with Jesse Merandy, director of the Digital Media Lab, Bard Graduate Center.