One blog I read regularly is Elizabeth Barton’s Art and Quilts, Cogitations Thereon, which often contains interesting notes on design in textile art. Much to my excitement, Elizabeth announced this morning that registration was open for two classes she is teaching, one of which is an introduction to design! So I immediately signed up. I’m not a quilter, but the class is more about design and quilting, so I think I can get a lot out of it. She has some other classes as well, but I’m satisfied with the introductory one for now.
One question I have been contemplating for awhile is the role of imagery in my work. I tend to think symbolically rather than visually, which is to say that my work tends to be less about visual design and more about the combined symbolism of the components. For example, Autumn Splendor is composed of maple-leaf imagery on top of color shifts in autumn colors, with curved lines symbolizing the drift of autumn leaves. This is explicit messaging, “readable” as you would read a book. Other fiber artists don’t feel compelled to do this: they are happy to work with color and design, abstractly.
While there is nothing wrong with symbolic work, and I expect it to continue as my mainstay, I feel that I over-focus on symbolism, producing a weakness in design. So a class in something more abstract and design-focused should help me with my weak points. I am still trying to come up with another plan for continuing study.
One possibility I am seriously considering is Open College of the Arts in the UK. It’s an entirely distance-learning B.A. program in the arts, and they have a textiles program! Judy in Australia is taking the first course and blogging about her experience at her blog, Fibres of Being. I’ve been very intrigued by what she’s done so far – once Autumn Splendor is complete, I may seriously consider signing up for the first class. My only concern is that it’s not cheap – about $1000 – and there are so many weaving seminars and conferences going on this year that it may be difficult to squeeze in, cost-wise. The full degree is also a substantial investment of time and energy – but there’s no reason I need to complete the entire program, since I already have a degree.
So many choices for distance education! The Internet makes all the difference.