University of Oregon Craft Center

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A Community Resource for the Willamette Valley

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the University of Oregon Craft Center is truly an incredible resource for students, faculty, and the broader Willamette Valley community. Offering members “the freedom to experiment with their crafts, collaborate, and explore new artistic possibilities”, the Craft Center boasts eight different studios in the EMU on campus, each devoted to a distinct artistic practice, including one focused on glass.

Started in 1974, the Craft Center has grown and changed over the years to reflect student interests and needs. Today, the Center serves more than 4,000 students each year, including 300 – 400 who use the Glass Studio, in addition to community members.

In the Craft Center hot shop

According to Assistant Program Director David Wagner, the majority of the students using the Craft Center are not majoring in fine arts. Instead, “it serves as a place for students to stretch their creative muscles, do something fun, and de-stress from the anxiety and pressure of a college workload.” The Craft Center also offers students a sense of community and a place to make connections outside a strictly academic environment. Wagner notes “The Craft Center is an important campus resource, used by students, faculty, and staff, and was one of the first campus programs to re-open after the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Faculty are drawn from the local community and include both professional glass artists as well as amateurs who love to teach and share their skills. Students sometimes develop into instructors as well, providing them an opportunity to hone their leadership and artistic skills. The primary torchwork instructor is a former student and the stained glass instructors count both a student and an alum among their ranks.

In the Glassworking Studio, you can find fusing kilns, stained glass tools and equipment, torches, flameworking tools, and an annealing kiln, as well as a hot glass studio with a covered, outdoor glass blowing area. With a strong boro culture, it is a key resource for Oregon torchworking, as well as being one of the best equipped hot shops in the region. While the Craft Center is not designed to be used for commercial or production glass, it provides the regional glass community a great opportunity to learn and practice new glass skills and collaborate with other artists. In addition to providing equipment for use in the Studio, artists may purchase glass and other materials onsite.

With a welcoming and encouraging environment for artists of all skill levels, the Craft Center offers workshops and classes as well as open studio time. Community members without a University of Oregon affiliation can register for Craft Center workshops each term after the student priority registration period and can sign up for Open Studio Passes when studios are available. Studio Orientation is required for all new studio users not registered for a workshop to become acquainted with studio policies and space usage.

The Craft Center will be offering a number of glass workshops over the summer, and Open Studio times will be available from the second week of July until the end of August. If you are interested in a workshop, studio time, or becoming an instructor, check out their website at https://craftcenter.uoregon.edu/ or email them at craftctr@uoregon.edu.