Monday, September 3, 2007

So You Want To Make Fiber Arts Your Life

All of my kids have varying artistic afflictions. The latest to go off to college is majoring in painting in an extraordinary dual program between Penn and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. We just finished delivering her to her new life, driving a total roundtrip of 4,009 miles Texas - Philadelphia - Texas in 10 days with a rented van packed to the ceiling. Not so oddly, we haven't heard from her much. But when she has called, it was clear that she is loving every minute of every day, finally living the dream she's had for most of her short 18 year life. She did a lot of painstaking research, national portfolio day reviews, and visits to find exactly the right program fit, and it paid off.

So what about all of you who don't want to abandon your knitting or crocheting or other artistic fiber pursuits when you go to college? What if you want to make it your life? Don't despair. Programs exist. REALLY! I only know this because my fourth and last child is attempting to go this route. So guess who did a lot of initial research? Of course you know. Mom.

This past summer was highlighted and dominated by the culmination of a two and a half week college tour road trip that included all the colleges with programs that passed my youngest dear daughter's investigative muster. She's a rising senior, a creative dream-child, but not so hot on the research end of things. She and I did all our initial research on the web, which led to receiving loads and loads of information by mail from over 30 schools. From this, 20 colleges were chosen. And from that 20, 11 were selected for a visit, and we actually visited 9 of those. The ones discarded weren't bad schools, they just didn't have all the elements my daughter was seeking, or were located someplace she didn't want to live. I hope all of our research and experiences help you on your quest. So if this is what you want to do, keep checking back. This will be an ongoing odyssey with frequent posts highlighting specific schools visited, with all their pros and cons.


Here is a list of the four year schools that offer majors/programs in fiber arts/textiles/weaving, either formally or by designing your own major and receiving faculty support. There may be more out there, but if there are, I don't know about them.

Feel free to add a school to the comment section below the post, or pass along your own information about the schools on the list. Even better, if you are enrolled in one of these programs, we'd love your feedback about your school.

Included are cut-to-the-chase links so you won't waste your time wading through huge, deep and sometimes daunting college websites. This lets you look at the program first, then decide if you want to look at them more closely. Believe me, I wish someone had done this for us!

July 8: Claire at the start of our road trip. I picked her up at the beach house of her best friend's family in the NC Outer Banks, then drove to the opposite end of the state for our first college, Appalachian State University, the next morning.


Academy of Art University

Appalachian State University

Arizona State University

Baylor University

Beloit College

Berea College

Bridgewater State College

California College of the Arts

Chester College of New England

Cleveland Institute of Art

College for Creative Studies

College of the Atlantic

Colorado State University

Cornell College - Mt. Vernon, IA

East Carolina University

Eastern Michigan University

Hiram College

Kansas City Art Institute

Kent State University

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

Longwood University

Maryland Institute College of Art

Massachusetts College of Art

Memphis College of Art

Moore College of Art and Design

North Carolina State University
Oregon College of Art and Craft

Philadelphia University

Rhode Island School of Design

Savannah College of Art and Design

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

State University of New York College at Buffalo

Syracuse University

Temple University Tyler School of Art

Tennessee Tech University Appalachian Center for Crafts

University of the Arts

University of Georgia

University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth

University of Michigan

University of North Texas

University of Oregon

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Virginia Commonwealth University

Western Carolina University

Western Washington University

From that, we whittled and honed our list to visit to these:

Appalachian State University
Virginia Commonwealth University
Longwood University
Moore College of Art and Design
University of the Arts
Kutztown University of PA
Hiram College
Beloit College
Cornell College

NEXT BLOG POST: First stop: Appalachian State University in Boone, NC


  1. hello!

    i'm currently a studio art - fabric design major at baylor university, and while researching for graduate schools i came across your site! just wanted to let you know that you can add baylor, located in waco, tx, to your list. my professor, dr. mary ruth smith, is an amazing artist who was able to add the fibers major to the department several years ago. i still have two years to go, but so far i'm greatly enjoying learning more and more about fiber arts.


  2. Thank you so much for this list!

  3. We have a few college students online from college of Savannah State University and we love your blog postings, so well add your rss or news feed for them, Thanks and please post us and leave a comment back and well link to you. Thanks Jen , Blog Manager, Savannah State University

  4. Hi,
    I really want to thank you for all the imformation you have provide us, it really helped me a lot, thank you very much.

  5. HI!
    I just wnated to say thank you for your list of Fiber Arts colleges. I'm going back to school after 16 years of being out of a classroom (I'm 41). I'm going to community college to finish my AFA, but looking for colleges to transfer to, to complete my studies in Fiber. I've been knitting, spinning and dyeing my own yarn and want to continue along those lines.
    You can also add Berea college to your list... THey have an outrageous program in Fiber Arts and also have a catalog of student works that supports the college so there are no out of pocket costs for the students.

  6. Adele,

    Being an older student who wants to extend her fiber arts knowledge, you might want to check out the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center in La Conner, Washington.

    Here is the website:

    In addition to in-studio classes, Gail Harker is also beginning to offer very extensive online courses as well.

    This program is great for people who want a rigorous course but need to proceed on a part-time basis. The certificate courses are taught over 5-days, and then you go home for weeks of at home work.

    The Gail Harker Creative Studies Center offers certificate and diploma courses, and students have come from all over the world to learn from Gail.

    She has a great blog too. You can check it out here:

  7. North Carolina State U (NCSU in Greenville) offers BFA and MFA in Fibers, as does Eastern Michigan (EMich or EMU) in Ypsilanti (near Ann Arbor).

    Sadly, as of 2010, Bowling Green State University's program is no more. Professor retired and the art department promptly eliminated the program (much to my dismay, as I live in BG and was considering an MFA in Fibers--now I'll have to relocate or have a long commute to do it, SIGH).

    Good references.

    1. Kent State has a great program!
      Vee J

  8. Thank you so much for the list of colleges that offer Fibers! I'm currently a senior in high school, and I'm seriously considering going into fiber arts. I'm not sure that it's for me though, since I've only been knitting for a year(but I've become very passionate about it and have advanced quickly). So, I'm curious, how did it work out for your daughter?

  9. Hi Christi,
    Well, you go, girl! I can't think of anything more satisfying than a life of fiber arts. My daughter is still going forward with her pursuit of it; she took off for two years and is about to jump back in again this Fall, adding interior design as a minor. "Nothing worth doing is easy" must be her mantra!

    Best wishes to you!

  10. Georgia College and State University offers Fiber Arts

  11. University of Missouri or MU offers one as well.

  12. Thank you for developing this list. It is really helpful. A few schools I would recommend adding to the list are:

    Idaho State University in Pocatello which offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in fibers.

    University of Indiana offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Fibers.

    Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri has an undergraduate program in Fibers.

    Sadly, the University of Washington no longer does. I was a student there doing my BFA in Fibers there when this change took place. They do have an Interdisciplinary Visual Art major but there are not enough fibers courses offered to exclusively focus on that within IVA (students need to combine fibers curriculum with other disciplines).


Glad to hear from you! If you want a response from me, be sure to leave an email address. Thanks!