Craft is a Tapestry of Color, Texture, and Dimension.
How we experience what we think and do is revealed in the sensuality of the art we make. The fibers department curriculum immerses students in the conceptual, visual and physical nature of fiber application. Students learn the use of tools, techniques and processes to produce work from concept to finished project.
The department emphasizes exploration and assessment of the communicative nature of fiber materials and processes in the rich history of textiles that move into the contemporary practices. Techniques and processes studied include surface design, weaving, two and three dimensional fiber construction, embroidery, studio production felting, papermaking and alternative processes.
First year students develop fundamental knowledge of materials through the use of various fibers and fabrics. They develop surface design skills (chemical and natural dyeing, direct applications, and resist dyeing) and weaving techniques, both tapestry and Ikat. Second and third year studies emphasize intermediate skills that promote idea development and personal voice.
Assignments are conceptually designed to explore techniques. Assignments elevate the importance of textile related processes as a means of artmaking and encourage students to embody a coherent set of ideas and goals in their work. Students develop innovative techniques and learn about the field of fiber arts through readings and academic research. Through digital presentations, discussion, review and critiques, students also develop strong communication skills.
Students are encouraged to push the boundaries of their work and experiment with materials and processes, exposing them to the pluralism within contemporary fiber art today. Graduates are prepared for studio practice and production, community arts involvement, graduate school or employment within their field.
Studio Space in Fibers
Weaving: Twenty-eight floor looms including a 24-harness compu-dobby loom, jack looms and a 16-harness AVL dobby loom; four vertical tapestry looms including a 12' Shannock loom; computers for drafting; and an extensive yarn collection.
Construction: Large work tables; drum carders; felting and spinning tools; eight Pfaff sewing machines, including two 1222 models; a Bernina 1260 sewing machine; and two sergers.
Surface Design: Padded print tables, equipment and materials for direct applications; painting, printing, and resist dyeing; batik and shibori; dye studio fully equipped for synthetic and natural dye processes and papermaking.
FT111 Surface Design | 3 semester credits
A survey of fiber materials, processes and forms with its content structured for art majors wishing to develop their skills in visual communication through surface design, Basic properties of cellulose and protein fibers using MX reactive dyes are investigated. Studied processes include immersion dyeing, direct applications such as painting and screen printing, and resist dyeing processes including gutta and wax resist. Students are encouraged to express well-developed ideas through layers of colors, textures, and patterns on fabric. Both historical and contemporary textiles are discussed to expand technical skills and concepts. Demonstrations and critiques are a significant part of the course in order to learn critical thinking and problem solving skills. Pre-requisites: None.
FT112 Resist Dyeing and Weaving | 3 semester credits
Introducing the comprehensive processes of creating works in fibers, traditional dyeing and weaving techniques in a contemporary context are covered. Included are surface design techniques using natural dyes, such as Shibori, a Japanese resist dyeing process that allows creating patterns on the fabric and three-dimensionally manipulating the structure of the fabric. Weaving will also be introduced as an expressive medium. In relationship to resist dyeing, Ikat and warp painted weaving will be explored to integrate the surface and structure of the weaving in addition to learning to use basic weaving patterns and the hand manipulated weaving technique; brocade. By discovering the interrelationship of color, design, and texture through fiber choice and structural variation, students are encouraged to develop an individual expressive style. The series of demonstrations, lectures, and reviews will be an integral part of the class that will allow students to become proficient at various skills and concepts. Pre-requisites: None.
FT 210 Papermaking | 3 semester credits
An introduction to papermaking as an art medium, students have the opportunity to learn to use related fibers, tools and equipment to become proficient at making paper using three traditional papermaking techniques: Eastern, Western and Nepalese. The first assignments are aimed at mastering the process of making production paper and challenging students to explore a variety of techniques followed by an exploration of the many ways pulp can be manipulated to manifest the students’ individual ideas and concepts in paper. The studied techniques include: pulp painting, inclusions, watermarks and collage, as well as creating unique papers as a surface for other two and three dimensional work. Assigned projects encourage students to develop new approaches to papermaking and learn a vocabulary to describe their work. Research projects, presentations, readings and examples of contemporary art supplement the lectures and critiques. Prerequisites: None. Required text to be determined.
FT215 Survey of Wearables | 3 semester credits
A survey of the functional and conceptual elements of textiles through the investigation of historical and contemporary garment construction, students are introduced to techniques such as pattern making, draping and fitting, armatures and garment infrastructure, slipcovers, joining and closures, appliqué and insets, and non-fabric constructions. Lectures and critiques include discussions of the conventional and unconventional use of materials and forms as well as the relationship between the body, contemporary culture and personal expression. Pre-requisites: FT112 for fibers concentration and no pre-requisite for non-fibers concentration.
FT216 Dimensional Fiber Forms | 3 semester credits
An investigation of the structure of three-dimensional fiber forms through the creative transformation of surface and structure by using soft and flexible materials and both traditional and alternative processes. With an introduction to felt-making, students have the opportunity to investigate how color and imagery converge in the structure of this non-woven surface. Exploration of blocking and molding techniques in felt-making will allow students to work three-dimensionally. In addition, the alternative textile processes such as shibori forming, knitting, crocheting or coiling may be investigated. With these techniques, the relationship between a single element and the structured form, the repetitive nature of the processes, and their technical and conceptual link to historical textiles are emphasized. In combination with studio projects, researching modern and contemporary fiber art is introduced to emphasize the range of forms and content inherent in the fibers medium. Students are encouraged to explore technical and conceptual problems and develop individual direction. Offered spring semester, alternate years. Prerequisites: FT110 for students in fibers concentration; FDR102, FDS104 and one year (6 semester credits) in student’s concentration for all others.
FT315 Weaving: Pattern & Structure | 3 semester credits
Focusing on weaving as a means of fabric making and structure forming, students will be introduced to pattern weaving through learning the use of weaving pattern design software. Students will have the occasion to weave a variety of woven pattern samples on the floor loom and the AVL dobby loom, which will be developed further into fabric yardage or into 3D objects. The historical value of weaving and woven objects will be discussed to encourage personalized ideas. Students will then have the opportunity to explore weaving with manipulated woven structure, surface and form and unconventional materials. The techniques may include tapestry, double weave and pulled warp along with many other potentials of structural manipulation. The projects will focus on encouraging students to be proficient in creating weaving pattern and structure and to be able to take advantage of what the medium can offer. Lectures will provide an overview of the use of weaving in historical, modern and contemporary fibers and assist students in developing ideas and pursuing individual direction. Pre-requisites: FT216 for students in fibers concentration; FT112 for students in non-fibers concentration.
FT316 Construction and Embroidery | 3 semester credits
Students will be presented with the opportunity to explore the conceptual and tactile physicality of surface through building layers through the techniques of hand and machine sewing, piecing, appliqué and embroidery with various materials. Several stitchery methods used in diverse cultures will be investigated in relationship to their historical uses and their relevance to the contemporary culture. The techniques introduced will be further examined through academic research and presentation related to contemporary quilt and embroidery. Students are encouraged to collect, salvage and mix materials relevant to their developed concepts. The discussions, reviews and image lectures provide technical and conceptual critique of the context to assist students in creating a body work in the semester. Pre-requisites: FT216 for students in fibers concentration; FDR102, FDS104 and one year in student’s concentration for non-fibers concentration.
FT490 Fibers Tutorial | 3 semester credits
The tutorial setting allows the student to work one-on-one with a faculty mentor to gain knowledge and insight not available in regularly scheduled class. Together they design a curriculum that includes a number of individual projects based on the student’s skill level to help direct the student toward his/her goals. As individual problems arise, the student develops solutions in conjunction with the mentor, providing an intense learning situation for the student. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
Learn more about programs of study:
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Craft (requires a bachelor's degree)