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Craft + Design

It’s an exciting time to explore contemporary craft, as artists and designers cross disciplines to meld traditional and new technologies to develop hybrid approaches to making.

Our Craft + Design program provides a contemporary approach to your education, offering cross-disciplinary innovation, creative experimentation, and knowledge sharing with an emphasis on art, design, technology and entrepreneurship through the lens of makers and making.

The material objects in our lives enrich our day-to-day experiences through the artistic expression and skilled craft of the maker. In the Craft + Design program, you’ll push the limits of both contemporary and traditional methods, take risks in your work, and challenge the conventional use of materials.

Focus your creativity or explore across mediums
Students can choose to focus their creativity in three areas of concentration:

or cross disciplines to explore how various media can merge to best convey your ideas around making.

Core curriculum
Our core curriculum brings Ceramics, Glass and Jewelry + Metals students together to explore shared themes of creative process, material, form and context.

Artists and designers who focus on object-making work with clients very effectively. You’ll learn how to understand an idea that a client has, conduct research and ideation, present design options, make prototypes, and produce work that will fulfill the objectives that your end product is supposed to fulfill.

Our Craft + Design alumni have celebrated careers in custom commissions and production assignments for high-end and mass production environments.

Real-world experience for real-world careers
What may best set CIA apart from other colleges of art and design is our commitment to preparing students for a career path through real-world experiences. You'll learn by working on real-world projects with external partners or clients, or in the public sphere—all before graduation.

These opportunities allow you to put your classroom and studio knowledge to work in a professional setting while still being guided by faculty. You’ll learn what it takes to meet clients’ expectations, and you will emerge with confidence that will serve you as you launch your career.

Northeast Ohio and the Cleveland Institute of Art have a long history of leadership and innovation in Craft, with legendary faculty and alumni over the years including John Paul Miller, Frederick Miller, Brent Kee Young, Judith Salomon, WIlliam Brouillard, and our world-renowned practicing faculty.

What can I do with a degree in Craft + Design?

  • Designer + Artist
  • Jeweler
  • Studio Artist & Lighting Designer
  • Designer and Creative Director
  • Sculptor
  • Fabricator, Glass Company Founder


CIA's Craft + Design studios were designed to provide an extensive array of capabilities while also encouraging collaboration, like you'd experience in a studio after graduation.

Having all these spaces interconnected helps students experiment and think more broadly about materiality and context.

You'll have your own studio space with access to the tools, technology and peer support to help you explore and execute your ideas. Developing a sense of community and collaboration is an important aspect of the program.

Ceramics Studios
Our sky-lit studios with floor-to-ceiling windows offer large common workspaces with access to specialized spaces for clay making, glaze making and testing, and plaster working.

CIA is one of only a few ceramics departments in the country to own a digitally-controlled, Blaauw gas kiln. A unique kiln, it is fully computerized and capable of any firing cycle, oxidation, or reduction. Our sizeable kiln room also contains three gas kilns, eight electric kilns and one raku kiln. Students may fire work ranging from six inches to five feet in height.

Glass Studios
CIA has one of the best-equipped undergraduate glass studios in the country. The well-ventilated, three-station hot glass area features furnaces for melting clear and colored glasses, benches and tools for working hot glass, and large annealing ovens. An adjacent area holds additional computer-controlled ovens for casting, slumping and special forming projects. The cold glass facility is furnished with great lighting, diamond saws, lapping wheels, German and Czech engraving/cutting lathes, polishing lathes, and assorted hand tools for grinding and polishing. Lampworking also has a designated space to complement the other complex glass-working processes.

Jewelry + Metals Studios
Our studios offer exceptional opportunities to explore and create using a full range of materials and technologies including traditional metalworking, kilns for enamel, casting, as well as CAD, 3D modeling, and 3D printing. You’ll have access directly in the studio to 3D printing to turn your CAD models into real 3D elements for jewlery, accessories, and objects.

Fabrication Studios
CIA also houses the fabrication studios, a shared space, staffed and supervised by highly qualified technical specialists. Students from all courses of study are encouraged to use this space and do hands-on material studies. This communal environment gives students optimal means of making for their individual exploration and group projects.