The Fibers area at the University of Oregon is dedicated to participating in and advancing contemporary discourse in fibers through engaged studio practice, research, and critical discussion. The course curriculum addresses issues and ideas that are relevant to both fibers practices and the broader context of contemporary art, including functionality, materiality, community, gender, feminism, repetition, pattern, and decoration. Students explore the possibilities of performance, installation, and site-specificity in a conceptually rigorous environment while developing expertise in screenprinting, stitching, weaving, dyeing, and other fibers techniques. Experimenting with materials and methods is encouraged as students develop individual creative practices within a receptive community of makers. Interdisciplinary strategies of making are valued, and many students draw from areas outside of the Department of Art such as gender studies, folklore, creative writing, and dance. As part of the department’s Visiting Artist Lecture Series, the Fibers area regularly brings contemporary artists to speak on campus and conduct studio visits with students. Recent guest lecturers include Carole Frances Lung, Liz Collins, and Marie Watt.
The MFA program in fibers is a three-year period of rigorous studio investigation, critical discourse, and conceptual development. Graduates work closely with faculty throughout the Department of Art as well as within the Fibers area. The program promotes an interdisciplinary approach to studio production, and many current and past MFA students have drawn on backgrounds in a variety of mediums, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, and sound. The university environment offers a multitude of possibilities for interdepartmental research, discourse, and collaboration. Students also participate in area-specific seminar courses designed to deepen their awareness of contemporary issues and practices in the expanded field of fibers. The MFA program culminates in a yearlong terminal project and group exhibition.