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Which School? Help!

I’m writing today to ask for your advice.

Over the last five years, I have come quite far – rediscovering and developing an art form which is fairly unique, meeting many like-minded and gifted artists, and making friends all over the world through our shared love of paper arts. This has been a wonderful journey and I have loved every minute of it.

However, I’m at a bit of a crossroads right now. I have so many areas I want to explore; working with metals, wood, fabrics, leather, and plastics, using CNC routers and lasers and plasma cutters and 3D rapid prototyping… but I don’t have the time, resources, or knowledge to do these things. This has led me to the decision that I really need to find a school or university where I can learn all about these technologies and techniques, and put them to good use making my own artistic visions become reality.

… And I’ve hit a stumbling block. Most of the schools I am looking at offer either focused Paper and Bookmaking Arts programs (like Columbia College in Chicago) or more general Fine Arts programs (Pratt, SVA, etc.) which often require students to have the ability to draw/sketch/paint. This is not a gift I happen to have 🙂 I also have little desire in designing book art; I truly adore good book art but it’s just really not something I see myself doing, and I hesitate to look into a program that would want me to spend a lot of time working with books rather than the paper itself.

Here’s where I need your help, fair readers. Do any of you have suggestions or ideas as to schools or universities I should look into? Is there a better focus to look at, like design vs. art, that would allow me to better use the talents I have? I’m very interested in branching out to new art forms and materials but I do have a rather focused interest, which makes this all a bit complicated. I want to find a school that focuses my geometry and pattern skills to their best possible level.

I’ve seen so many interesting things that people do – design, architecture, sculpture, paper arts, graphic design, printmaking, and so on… I’d love to pursue these things further and see where my potential can take me.

If you have any ideas, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line at I’d be happy to have a phone conversation with you, just send an email and I’ll respond with my contact info.

Thanks so much to all of you! I greatly appreciate your help.

-Eric Gjerde

(And a quick note – I’m currently working on some new projects out of leather, I hope to have finished pieces in a few weeks to share with you! I’m very excited with how this is turning out!)


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