Tradition and Innovation in Indigenous North American Fiber Arts
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Native American peoples from Indigenous Nations in Canada, the United States, and Mexico have developed a rich tradition of woven and twined textiles. They have used a wide variety of fiber arts techniques to design and make objects like baskets, clothing, bags, tools and buildings out of plant and animal fibers so that they can create their art and material culture. In this program, students will explore the history and traditions of Indigenous fiber artists, and the ways that contemporary First Nations artists both maintain and innovate on those traditions. Students will learn the vocabulary and techniques required to make a number of the objects whose art history they are studying, then design and create art using the techniques they learn. In the process, they will develop a sophisticated understanding of this art and master the weaving and other fibers techniques required to design and make their own artworks. In addition, students will learn about the political and cultural contexts in which contemporary Indigenous art is made, and develop a deep understanding of the place of fiber arts in the contemporary Native American art movement.
This program coincides with the opening of the new Indigenous Fiber Arts Studio, where our studies and project work will take place. Everyone will attend a major exhibit associated with the studio opening, and study the objects in that exhibit and the way the exhibit is installed. Students interested in learning more about curating and installing art will have the opportunity to talk with the people who chose the objects and to help with the exhibit installation, as well. Everyone will also have the opportunity to meet and work with an amazing group of Indigenous fiber artists from New Zealand and from Indigenous communities across the United States. Students will support the various events at the opening ceremonies, and will have the opportunity to sign up to help artists attending to set up materials for their demonstrations. In addition they will be able to watch them teach their workshops.
For their final project, each student will do research on an Indigenous fiber artist or a traditional fiber arts practice that interests them. They will then design a project that is inspired by their study. At the end of the quarter, students will exhibit this project, along with the artwork they made over the course of the quarter and create an artist statement and labels for their work. They will also prepare a short PowerPoint presentation that will inform their program colleagues about the things they learned. All full time students will also be required to take two field trips, one to Seattle and one to Tacoma, to study museum collections and sources for materials to create a variety of fiber arts. Finally everyone will be required to attend a panel on Tradition and Innovation in the Work of Contemporary Indigenous Basket Makers.
This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:
fiber arts techniques, Indigenous North American art history, museology, and various other fields related to working in the arts in ways that benefit art museums and other exhibit spaces in American Indian reservation communities or public Museums and Institutions around the United States that exhibit Indigenous Art.
Credits per quarter Variable Credit Options Available
4-12 credit options may be available. Contact the faculty for more information.
- Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
$150 for entrance fees and materials.
Students will do a research project on an Indigenous North American Fiber Artist or a Native American Weaving Tradition, and put together a ten to fifteen minute PowerPoint Lecture for colleagues in the program.
Class Size: 25
25% Reserved for Freshmen
Scheduled for: Day
Final schedule and room assignments:
First meeting:Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 11:00 am
Located in: Olympia