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Conversation on Craft

Conversation on Craft is a forum hosted by OCAC's MFA in Craft program that addresses the skill and art of creativity. Focused on a making space, the intention is to incite discourse and exercise motivations, aspirations, even prejudices that surround Contemporary Craft, particularly Craft’s persistent presence in a contemporary culture suspicious of labored beauty and material literacy. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Conversation on Craft: Methods, Fetishes and Affordance
March 21, 2017


As the culminating event for To Crack a Space, a laboratory-based think tank held in advance of the 2017 Future Flux NCECA conference, a panel of creative professionals will engage in a dialog regarding the ways that limits and opportunities afforded by spaces for making impact the practices and outcomes produce. By focusing on the institutionalized digital fabrication space, the intention is to elicit critical discourse about individual and institutional motivations and aspirations for such spaces, the effect they have on practice, and the prejudices adopted by both practitioners and the public, particularly with regard to Craft’s persistent presence in contemporary creative culture.

Participating Artists:
Brian Gillis
Conversation Moderator, Artists and Associate Professor, Ceramics, University of Oregon

Karl Burkheimer
Artist and Professor/Chair of OCAC's MFA in Craft

Anya Kivarkis
Artist and Associate Professor, Jewelry and Metalsmithing, University of Oregon

Jennifer Navva Milliken
Curator at large

Katherine Ross
Artist and Professor/Chair of Ceramics, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

John Sherry
Archeologist and Director of Business Innovation at Intel Labs


Conversation on Craft: The Object of Image
October 22, 2016


The Object of Image is a conversation investigating the iconoclastic undercurrents within making-based creativity, specifically in relation to image. How do we think about materials in relation to image making? Are there material traditions and/or innovations that condition our work with images? The intention of the forum is to incite discourse and exercise motivations, aspirations, even prejudices that surround Contemporary Craft, particularly Craft’s persistent presence in a contemporary culture suspicious of labored beauty and material literacy. Hosted by OCAC’s MFA in Craft and moderated by Michelle Ross, department head of drawing and painting at OCAC.

Panelists include artist and educators:
Linda Geary – artist and chair of the painting/drawing program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco
Storm Tharp – artist, 2010 Whitney Bienniall participant
Gulsah Mursaloglu – artist and The Collins Foundation sponsored Artist-in-Residence at OCAC
Lindsay Preston Zappas – artist, writer and editor; OCAC MFA in Craft Instructor-in-Residence

Conversation on Craft: Mending
November 14, 2015

Conversation on Craft: Mending, hosted by the Oregon College of Art and Craft’s MFA in Craft and the Fibers Department, will bring together these distinct mending concepts through a discussion with artists and educators Jovencio de la Paz, Rock Hushka, Mark Newport, and Tali Weinberg. Together, with moderator Emily Nachison, they will establish an open dialog concerning the metaphorical, figurative, and formal process of mending in contemporary craft, fiber, and art.A panel discussion investigating the iconoclastic undercurrents within making-based creativity, featuring artists and educators Jovencio de la Paz, Rock Hushka, Mark Newport and Tali Weinberg

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To mend is to repair, to correct, and to improve. Historically this was a common practice of making greater use of the objects in our lives. In recent years, however, mending, repair, and patching has become a political act of anti-consumerism by sustaining an object beyond its obsolescence and a declaration of individuality by opening an opportunity to hack, modify, decorate, connect, and take ownership.

Emily Nachison, is the Department Head of Fibers at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. She received a MFA in Fiber from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA in Fiber from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Nachison’s work has been widely exhibited across the country, including numerous solo exhibitions most recently at Bullseye Projects in Portland. 

Jovencio de la Paz’s works in the realm of performance, physicality, materiality, collaboration and socially engaged practices. Co-founder of the collaborative group Craft Mystery Cult, he is currently the Fiber Area Head at the University of Oregon, Eugene.

Rock Hushka is an artist, curator and art historian whose embroideries recreate motifs from late medieval and early Renaissance textiles, evoking a set of cultural beliefs that illuminate the complex interactions in our own time. Hushka is the Chief Curator of the Tacoma Arts Museum, Washington.

Mark Newport, an artist and educator, is known for his hand knit hero costumes. Newport’s work combines the projection of a super-heroic, ultra-masculine identity and more vulnerable personas. Newport is the Artist-in-Residence and Head of Fiber at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan.

Tali Weinberg fuses text and textiles to address gender violence, the housing crisis, climate change, labor exploitation, and other traumas and insecurities that are experienced as both social and personal. Weinberg lives in Berkeley, California, where she is the Director of the American Textile Society.



Become a part of the future of Craft:
REQUEST a view book
LEARN about admission requirements
ATTEND a Graduate Studies event
APPLY for fall 2016. The application period is now open.
READ about Karl Burkheimer, Chair, MFA in Craft

Learn more about our programs of study:
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Master of Fine Arts in Craft
Master of Fine Arts in Industrial Design
Master of Fine Arts in Applied Craft + Design
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Craft (requires a bachelor's degree)
The Certificate in Craft