One-of-a-kind Craft and Design degree mixes mediums


As Sheridan moves toward becoming a university, the college will offer a new Bachelor of Craft and Design program beginning in September.

This four-year degree combines multiple programs to provide students with a better understanding of craft and design by exploring different media.

“It was a very unique opportunity for us because there are no other programs like this in North America that combine industrial design with craft and design,” said Debbe Shannon, a student recruitment officer.

Students will have the opportunity to learn about various types of craft and design such as: ceramics, furniture, glass, industrial design and textiles.

“It’s exciting because students will be able to work closer with other studios.  It opens up a lot more possibilities for the student, whether they want to stick with one medium or broaden their scope to combine mediums,” said Koen Vanderstukken, a studio head and an instructor in the glass program.

Students must choose one area to major in and they will spend seven weeks experiencing other areas of craft and design.

“When most of the students start their program, they don’t know what different media can offer so through the program you’re able to find out and adjust your pathway accordingly,” said Vanderstukken.

Students will be able to switch their major in their first and second year as long as they meet the academic requirements.

But this will be more difficult in their third and fourth years.

“Usually in the educational level, you make your choice [of program] and you’re stuck with that or have to withdraw and start something completely different whereas in this program we offer flexibility,” he said.

The curriculum is working to develop students with a well-rounded knowledge of craft and design and also build stronger relationships between studios, teachers and students.

Currently, all craft and design programs take three years to complete, but the degree program will require four years.

Sheridan College has also added a fifth studio for the new degree program.

“Having gone through the three-year program, I think the fourth year will benefit students by giving them an extra year to work on their practice and hone their skills,” said Deniree Mendoza, a third-year student in the Textiles program.

Students will be able to create innovative ideas to inspire one another since they reflect a variety of backgrounds with diverse skills.

“A student may introduce something in a way that I never would’ve imagined a textile to be.

“I feel as an educator I’ll probably learn a lot not only from my students here but the ways they approach things from a different discipline,” said Rachel Miller, studio head and an instructor in the Textiles program.

Currently, Sheridan College offers 21 degree programs and is working to create more based on successful diploma programs.

“I think it’s a great decision for the Craft and Design program and for Sheridan. Sheridan has a great program as it is, and the move to make it a degree will only elevate the program and its place in the craft community,” said Mendoza.