Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cranbrook Art Academy Tour

I may have mentioned in a way earlier post, that our son Jack attends Cranbrook Academy of Art, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He's finishing his Masters in Print Media - this is his last year....YEAH!! We recently spent a weekend with him, and spent some time walking around the campus. Are you familiar with Cranbrook? Here's a little history about it.

In 1904, George Gough and Ellen Scripps Booth bought the property that would become Cranbrook, and spent their first years at Cranbrook landscaping the property and constructing their family home designed by Albert Kahn. With their estate established, they began the buildings for public use. A Greek Theatre was built in 1916, Christ Church Cranbrook was completed in 1928, and plans were made for an academy of art based on their visit to the American Academy in Rome. At the suggestion of his son Henry, George Booth approached Eliel Saarinen, a visiting professor in architectural design at the University of Michigan, with his idea for an academy of art. Ultimately Booth invited Saarinen to move to Cranbrook from Finland to oversee the architectural and landscape development of the campus. 
Cranbrook Art Museum

Cranbrook Design Studio

Informal art education began at the Academy in the late 1920s, in studios built for the artists and crafts people working with Saarinen. The Academy of Art was officially sanctioned in 1932 with Saarinen installed as president. He continued to design new buildings for the 319 acre campus with Academy student apprentices. The original Cranbrook Institute of Science building was completed in 1937. The campus is a National Historic Landmark, considered the most complete example of Saarinen’s genius. Saarinen’s designs can certainly be seen across campus in the buildings and vistas, but design is also present in small details – brickwork patterns, signature chimneys and doorways. 

On top of a gate.

Jack & Earl in front of another very cool gate.  Aren't they cute??

The campus is dotted with sculptures by Carl Milles, Marshall Fredericks, Mark di Suvero and Michael Hall, sculptures which are framed by planned gardens, both structured and loose. It is an architectural and horticultural treasure where Academy students live and work today, inspired to write their own history in an environment of beauty and innovation.

Jack in front of his favorite piece.

At Cranbrook, each of the ten departments is led by an Artist or Designer-in-Residence: a single full-time artist or designer who is the primary mentor for students and the head of their studio program.  Each department has an enrollment of approximately 15 students, who are selected by the Artist-in-Residence, the sole faculty member and head of the department. It is also important to note that all Artists-in-Residence (and their partners and families) live on campus – very close to their studios.  In this, Cranbrook is not simply a graduate program – it is a unique community of artists and designers living and working together on a campus designed for this kind of exchange.
There were so many interesting things to see. As you can probably tell, I really liked the sculptured fountains.  I also loved the ivy covered buildings. I know ivy is not good for brick structures, but it was so pretty.

This is the window in Jack's studio.

Jack took us through all of the departments studios, and we got to see what students were working on. Since I don't have their permission, I can't post any photos, but let me tell you - there are some very talented artists at Cranbrook.

As a crafter myself, I think what intrigued me the most was an old letterpress that some of the students are starting to work with, as well as catalog all of the type that has been sitting for a very long time. Evidently, this is not a technique used frequently anymore. 

Can you believe this stills works?

This is the "type" that is sitting inside the letterpress.  Can you read backwards?

All of these drawers are full of different movable type.

More type on an adjoining wall.

Of course Jack took us through his studio - but I'm not showing those photos! It reminds me of his bedroom when he was a teenager - YIKES......but I guess it gives him inspiration! Here are some photos of specific items in his studio though.

These will be worked into one of his next projects!

Interesting books on his shelf!

Some practice work from last year. 

A significant stencil. During his undergrad, Jack did a lot of projects with spray paint  and stencils- 
they were amazing!

A couple more photos from his department............ 

The spray paint room!  It vents out so you are not overcome by fumes. 
I could use one of those.

Some of the screens used in printing.

Jack, the artist, in front of a huge printing machine.

I have a LOT more photos, but this post is long enough.  We had such a fun time with Jack.  The campus was beautiful with autumn colors starting to come out, and the weather was perfect.  This is how I felt that day - I was so happy.....

Thanks for stopping by - and making it to the end of this post!  


No comments:

Post a Comment