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Crafts - Overview


Crafts programs teach people about the methods and traditions of folk art. Students learn about aesthetics and designs in handcrafting. They learn to create artistic items using techniques such as wax molding, weaving, and metalworking.

Craft arts blend values of decoration and utility. While craft artists use techniques and skills of the fine arts, they place a greater emphasis on making things that are used everyday. The craft arts include ceramics, glassware, baskets, jewelry, metalwork, furniture, and textiles.

Although you don't always need formal training to create works of art, going to art school can help you refine your skills and learn how to use them to earn a living. Formal training also allows you to share inspiration with other students who have similar interests and talents. Your course work usually focuses on general art principles, such as design, sketching, and art history, while also allowing you to study your particular craft in depth. Often your courses are structured to give you lots of studio time. This allows you to focus on a project or a skill over the length of the course. In addition, many programs offer business courses in marketing, budgeting, and sales.

About 15 colleges and universities offer crafts programs that lead to the bachelor of fine arts (BFA) degree and the master of fine arts (MFA) degree. Community colleges and independent schools of art and design often provide studio training and degrees in crafts as well. Independent art schools may grant certificates, associate, and bachelor's degrees. Some offer graduate degree programs as well.

An associate's degree typically takes two years after high school. For a bachelor's degree, you need two more years. The master of fine arts degree typically takes two to three years after the bachelor's degree. The MFA is considered a "terminal" degree, meaning that you do not need a doctorate if you desire to teach at the college level. However, a few schools do offer doctorate degrees in crafts. Keep in mind that graduate study is almost always offered through a larger art and fine arts program, so be sure to read this program of study as well.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.
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