Thursday, January 21, 2010

Is it Possible. . .

***Disclaimer: I'm about to get pretty idealist here. I realize that. But it's not costing me anything to go down this path, so I'm going to go ahead anyways.***

At some point in Seminar, Linda mentioned that the Cleveland Institute of Art was considering absorbing it's enameling program into its jewelry/metals program. For those of you who may not be aware, CIA is the last school in the country to offer an undergraduate degree in enameling. Not jewelry, not metals, not jewelry/metals/enameling. Just enameling. Kent State, my alma mater, was the next to last school in the country to offer an enameling degree, before it got absorbed into the Jewelry/Metals program.

I came across this wonderful letter, written to the CIA by Bruce Metcalf, encouraging them to keep enameling as a separate program. He writes about Cleveland's historical connection to the field of enameling, how enameling is it's own distinct set of knowledge and skills, and how the loss of the last degree granting program in enameling would be like a species going extinct. I highly encourage you to read the entire letter on his blog.

This weekend, at our symposium, Linda gave her presentation on the resurgence of enameling in the 21st century. The title pretty much says it all. After being classified on the level of leather work and macrame, enameling has come into it's own, and contemporary enamelists are plumbing the depths of what this medium has to offer.

These two view points got me thinking (a dangerous thing!) . Is it time now, or more likely could it be time in the next few years to consider the re-opening of enameling programs? To not only have the enameling degree preserved at the CIA, but to have other universities either regurgitate the programs they once absorbed, or start brand new programs devoted solely to enameling?

Of course, it all comes down to numbers. Finances and enrollment. I realize that. The economy would have to make quite an upswing to produce that kind of funding for university craft programs. I realize that metals programs all over the country are dwindling, and that the enamelling degree at the CIA being lumped in with the jewelry/metals degree wouldn't be such a tragedy, in light of crafts programs disappearing all together at some institutions.

But, isn't it interesting to consider, however briefly, what might be possible?

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