Made in Yame, Japan

June 8 – 26
credits (to be determined)
Course number IPD-3891-A
Tuition: $6,300


Program Overview
Study traditional Japanese craft techniques, apply those techniques to contemporary product design and have the opportunity to have your product manufactured and distributed globally by MoMA Wholesale.

Made in Yame is a three week intensive product design program that takes you deep into the cultural heart of Japan. Study with the finest craftspeople, visit ancient temples and shrines and relish the food, architecture and landscape of this extraordinary country. Yame is a small, rural city, on the Western island of Kyushu, located one hour from Fukuoka City, the fifth largest and fastest growing city in Japan. Best known for its green tea, Yame is home to a surprising concentration of traditional crafts and cultural preservation and it provides a unique context in which to practice translating traditional Japanese crafts and forms into contemporary product designs. The program includes a four day inspirational trip to Kyoto, Japan’s former capital and cultural heart and a trip to Arita, the birthplace of Japanese porcelain. In Arita, students will stay in an Onsen Ryokan, a traditional hotel with natural hot springs at the base of the building.

Upon completion, finished product prototypes will be returned to New York City and shown to the buyers at the Museum of Modern Art’s product division, MoMA Wholesale. MoMA Wholesale has had three successful years of producing select designs from the SVA MFA in Products of Design. Made in Yame extends that partnership to include contemporary products influenced by traditional Japanese craft. Designs chosen will be licensed by MoMA Wholesale and distributed to retail outlets globally.

Course Description
The program provides an intimate, hands-on way of studying materials, form, color and product design technique through the lens of traditional Japanese craftwork. Students will visit the factories and workshops of over a dozen traditional crafts, including lacquerware, ceramics, textile weaving, lantern making and more. They will be exposed to the nuances of the craft processes and how materials are carefully selected and manipulated for production. Simultaneously they will learn how traditional Japanese culture informed the development of these crafts and products and how the crafts and products in turn informed traditional Japanese culture. Students will be asked to rigorously maintain a sketchbook and to explore contemporary forms and products using the tools and techniques they have been exposed to. After a week of visiting workshops in Yame, the group will travel to Kyoto for four days of cultural inspiration. In Kyoto, trips to shrines and temples, museums, gardens, restaurants and shops will scrutinize how traditional Japan coexists with and evolved into contemporary Japan. This theme will guide the final phase of the course when we return to Yame for the final week to work alongside the craftspeople to develop one contemporary product. Students will draw, make three-dimensional sketch prototypes and make mechanical drawings to inform the production of their product. After the program ends, a finished prototype of each student’s design will be produced by the craftspeople and shipped back to New York where it will be shown to the buyers at MoMA Wholesale. MoMA will have the option to license and produce the design and distribute it globally through its stores, catalog and retail partners.

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For further information contact Sinclair Smith program coordinator via email: [email protected].