Artspan Portal: Fiber Arts

Introduction to Fiber Arts

Throughout the course of its history, fiber art has been recognized for its domestic and utilitarian functions. Thus, an artist’s choice to work in this field is today often loaded with an acute awareness of the many contexts in which it exists outside the world of fine art. Although fiber art is not exclusively gendered, is has typically been viewed as “women’s work” because women have so frequently been responsible for making clothing, bedding, and household accents. Some of the most common conceptual devices in fiber art consequently involve the revival or distortion of those traditions. For contemporary fiber artists, materials include woven fabric, yarn, string, thread, synthetic fiber, and leather. Technical processes can range from conventional skills such as knitting, sewing, or embroidery to more alternative means such as gluing, stapling, or direct application of paint. Fiber art appeals to some because the materials’ tactility and versatility help artists produce unique, powerful artwork. It also engages because of its attachments to gender stereotypes and cultural heritage. For example, Aminah Robinson uses quilting and mixed media fiber pieces to celebrate her Ohio roots, while Annette Messanger uses needlepoint circles as the vehicles for ironic, misogynist sayings. Regardless of the sometimes disparate pieces that this medium is used to create, it is consistent in its ability to facilitate a vast range of art, craft, and expression.

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Alex Mitchell
Laura Rizzardini
Glenda Richardson
Andrea Huffman
Tarja Cockell
Mary Monteiro
Linda Marsden

Resources: Fiber Arts

Associations (see all)
The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers
Cornwall, UK
Strives for preservation and improvement of the craftsmanship in hand...
The Textile Society of Hong Kong
Hong King, China
Objective: to explore all aspects of both traditional and contemporary...
Fiber Arts Collective
Objective: to enable professional fiber artists to work cooperatively to present and...
Education (see all)
Cranbrook Academy of Art
Bloomfield Hills, MI
MFA in Fibers Arts
Manchester Metropolitan University
Manchester, UK
MA in Textiles
Memphis College of Art
Memphis, TN
MFA in Fiber/Surface Design
Education (see all)
Savannah College of Art and Design
Savannah, GA
MFA in Fibers
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, IL
MFA in Fibers
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Carbondale, IL
MFA in Fiber/Weaving
Galleries (see all)
Arlington, Massachusetts
Artwear offers a variety of art that can be worn including fiber...
Exhibit A, art and craft collective
Mangonui, New Zealand
Features a collection of locally produced art and craft.
Fairhaven Furniture
New Haven, Ct
Features the "fiber revolution," focusing on fiber art as an exciting art form.
Museums (see all)
Mint Museum of Craft + Design
Charlotte, NC
Museum of Arts & Design
New York City, NY
For nearly half a century, the Museum of Arts & Design has served as...
Publications (see all)
Covers the best and most interesting work in fiber, knitting, needlework, papermaking, quilting,...
Creative Fibre Magazine
Issued quarterly to all members of Creative Fibre with online articles for non-members.
The Journal for Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers
Exists to further the aims of the Association and to provide an interesting and informative...