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Mining Historic Textiles as a Route to the Future

This class is part of the NW Designer Craftsman Symposium and no discount codes may be used for registration. Thank you.

Textiles embody the creative vision of cultures that produced them. They can also be extraordinary sources of inspiration for artists who envision the past differently than historians. This class will explore several strategies for probing provocative textiles in Gerhardt Knodel's personal collection. Searching will occur in a variety of media and methods. The ultimate goal: to produce responses and insights that extend thinking about our collective textile inheritance in powerful ways. An appetite for dreaming is essential.

Intermediate - Participants should have experience with diverse textile techniques as well as appetite to visualize ideas with drawing, collage, and/or model building.

4 sessions

Students bring sack lunch and drink daily plan to eat lunch in the classroom

Students should be prepared with the following:

Pack a resource box or suitcase with a variety of materials that you enjoy using:

-Drawing equipment: pencils/pens, colored making pens or pencils, water based paint and brushes, inks

-Paper: a variety of interesting surfaces/textures/colors to draw on or construct with, and pad of paper at least 18 x 24" to serve as "foundation" for visual speculations/
drawings/ constructions/ theaters

-A stack of at least 15 fabrics of various colors/patterns/textures/densities that will be contributed to a communal resource/pool, bits and pieces up to 1 yard in length will be fine (plus a few that you may want to hold onto for your own use!). You might also bring a couple of old garments to be sacrificed for your new work.

-Various adhesives: ie. masking tape, clear Scotch tape, Elmer's glue and glue gun if you have one. Also fusible bonding web ("stitch witchery") if you're used to using it

-A box of straight pins or T pins

-Needles, thread and ball of string

-If you work with yarns/threads, bring a bag of miscellaneous ends from your own

-Some stuff that glitters and/or reflects light

-A fabric or plastic drop cloth, new or used,

-Six magazines loaded with diverse photos as a resource for constructions

Tools: Scissors, Xacto knife and blades

A notebook

A thumb drive or laptop with images of some of your own work and some inexpensive digital prints 8 1/2" x 11" of several projects you have made in the past couple of years.

Instructor will bring collection of historic textiles and other visual source materials


Gerhardt Knodel has contributed to the evolution and identity of contemporary work in the fiber medium for more than four decades. Early experiences in theater design inspired approaches for exploring new applications of textiles to interior architecture. His innovations were presented world-wide in exhibitions and were commissioned for contemporary architecture throughout the USA. For 25 years he led the graduate program in Fiber at Cranbrook Academy of Art, and subsequently was appointed Director, being awarded Director Emeritus in 2006. He now maintains a full-time studio practice in Pontiac, MI.

Dates & Times

Fee: $650.00

Members: $650.00

Mar 6-Mar 9, Friday-Monday 9:30 am-4:30 pm
Ages: Adult - 18+
Instructor: Gerhardt Knodel
Location: Hampton Inn