One blog I read regularly is Elizabeth Barton’s Art and Quilts, Cogitations Thereon, which often contains interesting notes on design in textile art.Â Â 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! Â So I immediately signed up. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â This is explicit messaging, “readable” as you would read a book. Â 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. Â So a class in something more abstract and design-focused should help me with my weak points. Â 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. Â It’s an entirely distance-learning B.A. program in the arts, and they have a textiles program! Â Judy in Australia is taking the first course and blogging about her experience at her blog, Fibres of Being. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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! Â The Internet makes all the difference.