The Department of Craft and Material Studies offers a professionally oriented program that leads to a Bachelor of Fine Arts with focus areas in ceramics, fiberwork/fabric design, glassworking, metalsmithing/jewelry or woodworking/furniture design. Within these areas of specialization, courses are designed to assist students in developing concepts, personal direction, and the necessary skills and technical competencies to enable them to pursue a professional career or graduate study. In addition to the areas of study, students have the opportunity for a diverse education in the liberal arts and humanities. Students are encouraged to select courses in other schools in the university that will add to their general knowledge. A student may elect a minor area of study in any department or program offering a minor. The minor can be used to fulfill career objectives or to investigate a discipline of secondary interest.

Career opportunities for craft majors include setting up an independent studio or gallery, restoration or repair work, teaching or participating in the Artist-in-Residence programs in the public schools, and consulting and designing for industry.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  1. An understanding of aesthetic and multicultural issues: The students will demonstrate an understanding and proficiency in craft, design, art and issues.
  2. An understanding of the contemporary field of craft: Students will demonstrate and understand the symbolic relationship and potential impact of contemporary craft and art on culture.
  3. Develop and utilize critique skills: The students will be able to use knowledge gained from critique to improve creative work.
  4. Technical development and proficiency: The students will demonstrate proficiency of basic, intermediate and advanced craft techniques within their specific field media.
  5. Professional practice: The students will demonstrate an understanding of the career demands of a contemporary craft artist, and how to pursue a career through multiple paths.
  6. Become skilled maker: Students will be able to develop and articulate their own ideas — conceptual and formal — via conversation, presentation skills and writing.
  7. Independent reflection: The students will develop an understanding in their ability to interpret their individual motivation in their artwork and studio practice.

Special requirements

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Craft and Material Studies requires a minimum of 120 credits, including 49 in the major. A minimum of 45 of the 120 credits must be 300- and/or 400-level courses. To be admitted into the major, students must successfully complete Art Foundation requirements. Students become affiliated with a major department after the departmental portfolio reviews in the spring semester of the Art Foundation year. At that time the student applies to the department of his or her choice. Department acceptance is competitive and is based on individual student performance and potential in their chosen area. To enroll in an advanced-level craft course, majors must have earned a minimum grade of C in all courses prerequisite for that course.

Degree requirements for Craft and Material Studies, Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)

General Education requirements

University Core Education Curriculum
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IFocused Inquiry I3
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IIFocused Inquiry II3
UNIV 200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Approved humanities/fine arts3
Approved natural/physical sciences3-4
Approved quantitative literacy3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences3-4
Total Hours21-24
Additional School of the Arts requirement
ENGL 215Reading Literature3
General Education electives: (Select six credits from approved University Core courses.)6
Total Hours9

Collateral requirements

Art Foundation requirements
ARTF 131Drawing Studio3
ARTF 132Surface Research3
ARTF 133Space Research3
ARTF 134Time Studio3
ARTF 139Project2
Art History Foundation year requirements
ARTH 103Survey of Art I3
ARTH 104Survey of Art II3
ARTH electives
Select six credit hours from: ARTH 145-ARTH 5996
ARTH non-Western topic
Select three credit hours from list below3
Other arts requirement
Select four credit hours from PAPR 205-PAPR 491 and/or SCPT 211-SCPT 4914
Total Hours33

Major requirements

CRAF 282Sophomore Seminar3
CRAF 382Junior Seminar3
CRAF 480Senior Studio/Critique Course4
CRAF 482Senior Seminar (capstone)3
Basic craft: Select 12 credit hours from list below12
Advanced craft: Select 24 credit hours from list below24
Total Hours49

Open electives

Select eight open elective credits8

Total minimum requirement 120 credits

Electives

Art history non-Western
ARTH 207Introduction to Non-Western Art3
ARTH 245Survey of Asian Art3
ARTH 301Art and Architecture of Ancient North America3
ARTH 335Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture3
ARTH 342African-American Art3
ARTH 345The Art of India3
ARTH 347Studies in Asian Art3
ARTH 350African and Oceanic Art3
ARTH 358African Art and Architecture3
ARTH 440Contemporary Art and Architecture of Africa3
ARTH 449Studies in Asian Art3
ARTH 450Art and Architecture of Mesoamerica3
ARTH 451Art and Architecture of Andean America3
ARTH 452Studies in Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture3
ARTH 454Studies in African and Oceanic Art3
Basic craft
CRAF 211Jewelry4
CRAF 221Woodworking Techniques4
CRAF 240Introduction to Ceramics4
CRAF 250Introduction to Glass Fabrication4
CRAF 260Introduction to Textiles4
Advanced craft
CRAF 301Advanced Metal Fabrication: Forming4
CRAF 302Advanced Metal Fabrication: Mechanisms4
CRAF 303Advanced Metal Fabrication: Surface Techniques4
CRAF 304Advanced Metal Fabrication: Casting and Stone Setting4
CRAF 320Furniture Design4
CRAF 321Advanced Woodworking and Furniture Design4
CRAF 322Advanced Woodworking and Furniture Design4
CRAF 341Advanced Ceramics4,6
CRAF 342Advanced Ceramics4,6
CRAF 343The Figure in Clay4
CRAF 344Ceramics: Mold-Making4
CRAF 351Intermediate Glass Fabrication/Hot4
CRAF 352Intermediate Glass Fabrication/Kiln Forming4
CRAF 353Glassworking: Lampworking4
CRAF 354Intermediate Glass Fabrication4
CRAF 361Intermediate Textiles: Tapestry/Weaving4
CRAF 362Intermediate Textiles: Pattern Weaving4
CRAF 363Fabric Design I4
CRAF 364Fabric Design II4
CRAF 369Ancient Peruvian Textile Techniques4
CRAF 446Glaze Technology3
CRAF 447Ceramic Technology: Clay, Claybodies and Slips3
CRAF 455Glass Through Time3
CRAF 481Senior Studio/Critique Course4
CRAF 491Topics in Craft/Material Studies1-3
CRAF 492Independent Study1-3
CRAF 493Fieldwork3
CRAF 494Fieldwork6
CRAF 591Special Topics and Practicum1-3

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
ARTF 131 Drawing Studio 3
ARTF 132 Surface Research 3
ARTF 139 Project 1
ARTH 103 Survey of Art I 3
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I 3
Quantitative literacy course (University Core) 3
 Term Hours: 16
Spring semester
ARTF 133 Space Research 3
ARTF 134 Time Studio 3
ARTF 139 Project 1
ARTH 104 Survey of Art II 3
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II 3
Social/behavioral sciences course (University Core) 3
 Term Hours: 16
Sophomore year
Fall semester
CRAF 282 Sophomore Seminar 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
PAPR or SCPT (PAPR 205-PAPR 491 or SCPT 211-SCPT 491) 2
Basic craft 4
Humanities/fine arts course (University Core) 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
ARTH non-Western topic 3
PAPR or SCPT (PAPR 205-PAPR 491 or SCPT 211-SCPT 491) 1
Basic craft 8
Natural/physical sciences course (University Core) 3
 Term Hours: 15
Junior year
Fall semester
CRAF 382 Junior Seminar 3
ENGL 215 Reading Literature 3
PAPR or SCPT 1
Advanced craft 8
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
ARTH elective (ARTH 145-ARTH 599) 3
Advanced craft 8
General education elective 3
 Term Hours: 14
Senior year
Fall semester
CRAF 482 Senior Seminar (capstone) 3
ARTH elective (ARTH 145-ARTH 599) 3
Advanced craft 4
General education elective 3
Open electives 2
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
CRAF 480 Senior Studio/Critique Course 4
Advanced craft 4
Open electives 6
 Term Hours: 14
 Total Hours: 120

CRAF 211. Jewelry. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisite: successful completion of the Art Foundation Program. Investigation of basic jewelry making processes such as construction, chasing, surface embellishment and basic stone setting. Research in contemporary and historical jewelry forms.

CRAF 221. Woodworking Techniques. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisite: successful completion of the Art Foundation Program. Introduction to techniques of woodworking. Includes the use of hand tools; hand and machine joinery; shaping and carving; finishing; and techniques involving jigs and fixtures. Students participate in studio work.

CRAF 240. Introduction to Ceramics. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisite: successful completion of the Art Foundation Program. Introduction to beginning processes of wheel throwing and hand-built construction techniques, design, aesthetics and the creative development of clay objects examining cultural, historical and personal modes of expression. Demonstrations and slide presentations are given for assignments along with handouts to assist in illustrating techniques and processes. Students will be introduced to various ceramic aesthetics in contemporary, social and historical context.

CRAF 250. Introduction to Glass Fabrication. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisite: successful completion of the Art Foundation Program. An introduction and investigation into the physical and associative material properties of glass. Students will explore a variety of methodologies for hot, cold and casting glass fabrication. The history and modern application of each technique will be covered through lectures, demonstrations and studio work.

CRAF 260. Introduction to Textiles. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisite: successful completion of the Art Foundation Program. An introduction to basic textile techniques, tools and materials. This course introduces dyeing, weaving, felt-making, embroidery, sewing and related techniques. The history and modern application of each technique will be covered through lectures, demonstrations and studio work.

CRAF 282. Sophomore Seminar. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: successful completion of the Art Foundation Program. Introduction to the fields within the Department of Craft and Material Studies, critique practices, planning for arts career and writing within the field.

CRAF 301. Advanced Metal Fabrication: Forming. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 211 with a minimum grade of C. This course introduces students to various metal forming techniques. While cultivating respect for craft, the underlying theme of the course explores form as a means of expression for both functional and nonfunctional work. It is designed to develop skill, craftsmanship and sensitivity to design in working with metal. The history and modern application of each technique will be covered through lectures, demonstrations and studio work.

CRAF 302. Advanced Metal Fabrication: Mechanisms. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 211 with a minimum grade of C. This course introduces students to various fabrication techniques, findings and mechanisms related to the production of jewelry and small-scale objects. It is designed to develop skill, craftsmanship and sensitivity to design in working with metal. The history and modern application of each technique will be covered through lectures, demonstrations and studio work.

CRAF 303. Advanced Metal Fabrication: Surface Techniques. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 211 with a minimum grade of C. This course introduces students to various surface treatments employed in the production of jewelry and metal objects. It is designed to develop skill, craftsmanship and sensitivity to design in working with metal. While cultivating respect for craft, the underlying theme of the course explores form as a means of expression for both functional and nonfunctional work. The history and modern application of each technique will be covered through lectures, demonstrations and studio work.

CRAF 304. Advanced Metal Fabrication: Casting and Stone Setting. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 211 with a minimum grade of C. This course introduces students to casting and stone setting techniques employed in the production of jewelry and metal objects. It is designed to develop skill, craftsmanship and sensitivity to design in working with metal. While cultivating respect for craft, the underlying theme of the course explores form as a means of expression for both functional and nonfunctional work. The history and modern application of each technique will be covered through lectures, demonstrations and studio work.

CRAF 320. Furniture Design. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 221 with a minimum grade of C. The course explores the development of ideas through drawings, mock-ups and the planning and execution of a small furniture object utilizing basic and specialized woodworking techniques.

CRAF 321. Advanced Woodworking and Furniture Design. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 320 with a minimum grade of C. Advanced design and construction investigation of varied materials and machine processes.

CRAF 322. Advanced Woodworking and Furniture Design. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 320 with a minimum grade of C. Advanced design and construction investigation of varied materials and machine processes.

CRAF 341. Advanced Ceramics. 4,6 Hours.

Semester courses; 2 lecture and 6 or 12 studio hours. 4 or 6 credits. Each of the courses may be repeated for up to a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 240 with a minimum grade of C. Advanced problems in the design and production of functional and nonfunctional ceramic products.

CRAF 342. Advanced Ceramics. 4,6 Hours.

Semester courses; 2 lecture and 6 or 12 studio hours. 4 or 6 credits. Each of the courses may be repeated for up to a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 240 with a minimum grade of C. Advanced problems in the design and production of functional and nonfunctional ceramic products.

CRAF 343. The Figure in Clay. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 240 with a minimum grade of C. This course is a continuation of study in ceramics with a focus on the figure in clay. While cultivating respect for craft, the underlying theme of the course explores the figure in clay as a means of expression in an art-making medium. The history and modern application of each hand-building technique will be covered through lectures, demonstrations and studio work.

CRAF 344. Ceramics: Mold-Making. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 240 with a minimum grade of C. This course is a continuation of study in ceramics with a focus on prototyping and mold-making techniques. While focused on generating original artwork, the course will cover prototype development and serialized production using a variety of mold-forming processes. The history and contemporary application of ceramic mold-making techniques will be covered through student research, demonstrations and studio work.

CRAF 351. Intermediate Glass Fabrication/Hot. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 250 with a minimum grade of C. A deeper and broader delving into hot and cold glass fabrication techniques, with an introduction to the utilization and application of color processes will be explored.

CRAF 352. Intermediate Glass Fabrication/Kiln Forming. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 250 with a minimum grade of C. A deeper exploration of warm glass (kiln forming) processes that will involve advanced mold-making techniques.

CRAF 353. Glassworking: Lampworking. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 250 with a minimum grade of C. Provides an opportunity for further investigation, specialization and technical mastery in glass lampworking design.

CRAF 354. Intermediate Glass Fabrication. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 250 with a minimum grade of C. A deeper and broader delving into hot and cold glass fabrication techniques, with an introduction to the utilization and application a multigenerational approach to image realization will be extensively investigated.

CRAF 361. Intermediate Textiles: Tapestry/Weaving. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 260 with a minimum grade of C. An introduction to the floor loom with an emphasis on tapestry weaving. Concentrated studio work in contemporary and traditional loom techniques along with continuing individual investigation of other textile techniques.

CRAF 362. Intermediate Textiles: Pattern Weaving. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 260 with a minimum grade of C. An introduction to the floor loom with an emphasis on pattern weaving. Concentrated studio work in contemporary and traditional loom techniques along with continuing individual investigation of other textile techniques.

CRAF 363. Fabric Design I. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 260 with a minimum grade of C. Exploration of dye and pigment techniques for fabric along with pattern development and conceptual use of fabric.

CRAF 364. Fabric Design II. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 260 with a minimum grade of C. Exploration of dye and pigment techniques for fabric along with pattern development and conceptual use of fabric.

CRAF 367. Tapestry. 4 Hours.

Semester courses; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4, 4 credits. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Origins of tapestry forms and execution of techniques.

CRAF 368. Tapestry. 4 Hours.

Semester courses; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4, 4 credits. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Origins of tapestry forms and execution of techniques.

CRAF 369. Ancient Peruvian Textile Techniques. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 or 12 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. An examination of textile techniques perfected in ancient Peru and their application to contemporary fiber work. Pre-Columbian cultures will be studied to understand textile development. Course includes student duplication of techniques to better understand "structure" and the production of a personal object(s) utilizing these techniques and information.

CRAF 382. Junior Seminar. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CRAF 282 and UNIV 200 or HONR 200. Continued investigation of the craft field, critique practices, planning for careers through the lens of creativity and exploration, and a continuation of writing in the field.

CRAF 446. Glaze Technology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Development, formulation and application of ceramic glazes. The technology includes high, medium and low firing ranges as well as color and analysis of glaze materials.

CRAF 447. Ceramic Technology: Clay, Claybodies and Slips. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Study of clay from geological origins to practical application. Course includes development and application of clay bodies in different firing ranges, englobes and slips.

CRAF 455. Glass Through Time. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 1 studio hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. This class will be an in-depth examination of the application and utilization of the material glass throughout time. An inquiry into present and future artistic and architectural applications of the material will be explored.

CRAF 456. Survey of Glass. 3 Hours.

Semester courses; 3 lecture hours. 3, 3 credits. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. An examination of significant technological developments in glass from the past to present. First semester: ancient to 16th century. Second semester: 17th century to contemporary. Illustrated lectures.

CRAF 480. Senior Studio/Critique Course. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credits. Prerequisites: CRAF 382; and CRAF 301, 302, 303, 304, 320, 321, 322, 341, 342, 343, 344, 351, 352, 353, 354, 361, 362, 363, 364 or 369, both with a minimum grade of C. Corequisite: CRAF 301, 302, 303, 304, 320, 321, 322, 341, 342, 343, 344, 351, 352, 353, 354, 361, 362, 363, 364 or 369. Focuses on the development of independent interests aimed at creating a cohesive series/body of work.

CRAF 481. Senior Studio/Critique Course. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 6 studio hours. 4 credits. Prerequisite: CRAF 480 with a minimum grade of C. The course will focus on the continuation of creating a cohesive series/body of work begun during CRAF 480.

CRAF 482. Senior Seminar. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: senior standing in the major and CRAF 382. Capstone course focusing on the continued investigation of the craft field with emphasis on the student’s media area(s) of focus and professional practices.

CRAF 491. Topics in Craft/Material Studies. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credits. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. A seminar or workshop on a selected issue or topic in the field of crafts. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

CRAF 492. Independent Study. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits. Prerequisites: senior standing in the major and permission of the instructor. The student will pursue advanced, individually directed study on a subject to be formulated in writing by the student and instructor.

CRAF 493. Fieldwork. 3 Hours.

Semester courses; 135 clock hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: senior standing in the major and permission of department chair. Opportunity for practical work experiences. Senior students are placed with professionals who offer supervised work or research experience appropriate to their major interests. Participation requires the approval of both the department chair and field supervisor. Students must work 135 clock hours and maintain a daily log of their experiences. Field supervisor will plan student's work and evaluate performance.

CRAF 494. Fieldwork. 6 Hours.

Semester course; 270 clock hours. 6 credits. Prerequisites: senior standing in the major and permission of department chair. Opportunity for practical work experiences. Senior students are placed with professionals who offer supervised work or research experience appropriate to their major interests. Participation requires the approval of both the department chair and field supervisor. Students must work 270 clock hours and maintain a daily log of their experiences. Field supervisor will plan student's work and evaluate performance.