Mara Holt Skov

Mara Skov

Lecturer, Industrial Design

B.A., Art History, University of Washington, WA

M.A., Art History, San José State University, CA

Mara Holt Skov is an educator, author and curator specializing in the historic and contemporary context of art, craft and design. She is particularly interested in rising macrotrends in design and visual culture, interdisciplinary teaching and learning, and design for human needs especially health, wellness and the end of life.She brings her curatorial experience to the classroomthrough a series of “Object Lessons” in which students analyze examples of historic and contemporary designed objects for hands-on learning about form, function, context and meaning.

Professor Skov considers design the most interesting space to be working in today because it is influenced by so many other areas of society—psychology, sociology, the sciences, economics, politics, among others. She believes that design is the art of our time—the creative response to human needs from the most practical and essential to the most poetic and emotional. Through her teaching experience, she has seen that design students have empathy, curiosity and a sincere desire to make life better for others. She encourages her students to contribute in small or large ways towards making positive change in the world.

As an educator, Professor Skov believes that history and context matter because when students understand both, they begin to realize the relevance and potential impacts of their own work.As an author, she strives for "user-friendliness" in her work and helps her students to use their writing as an essential part of their creative process and to clearly communicate their ideas to others. She designs curriculum that is flexible enough to fit each student’s particular interests and goals. There are so many ways to practice design that motivated students can develop their individual talents and passions into work that is both meaningful and rewarding.

Professor Skov is co-author and co-curator of Manufractured: The Conspicuous Transformation of Everyday Objects(2008) and Blobjects & Beyond: The New Fluidity in Design(2005) (both with her late husband Steven Skov Holt. She has contributed essays to Object Focus: The Bowlat Portland's Museum of Contemporary Craft (2013), Heath Ceramics: The Complexity of Simplicity(2006) and Selections: The Permanent Collection of the San Jose Museum of Art (2004) and authored articles for I.D. Magazine, ARTNewsandArt & Antiques. She is currently working on a series of installation pieces and books on the themes of impermanence and memory.