"The reason I do this is I'm retired. I'm not in the business anymore. I haven't done professional work for about 15 years, and I don't use a computer. I just make my own handmade pieces." Fella is also profoundly disinterested in business knowledge. He doesn't see the world of business today as any different than it was in the '50s, '60s, and '70s, when he was actively working. In addition, he doesn't know how to use a computer to do design—an essential element in the nuts-and-bolts education for design undergraduates today. "I don't really want to think about that anymore. It's part of the student's obligation to have to deal with professional practice, obviously. I have plenty of wisdom to impart, but I don't have so much knowledge anymore about the professional business and all the digital stuff. I enjoy my graduate seminar because there are other faculty involved with it. I can be kind of a grand old man of technical problems. Now I'm 65. I did teach full-time for about 13 years after my career in professional work."
Staying engaged with the creativity of his older students and colleagues and maintaining his own studio on the Cal Arts campus keep Fella involved with a somewhat rarified corner of the design world, but that is OK with him. "In the grad program at Cal Arts, we deal in the possibilities, not the necessities. In undergraduate education you have to teach people how to be graphic designers. Graduate education is more experimental. By the time you come to graduate education you already are a graphic designer. In graduate education you deal with possibilities and experimental stuff."