“The Midwest Fiber Art Educators Network” by C. Pazia Mannella
June 6, 2018
The 2018 annual meeting of the Midwest Fiber Art Educators Network (MFAEN) will be held at the University of Missouri, November 9-11, 2018. The mission of the MFAEN is to connect professional Fiber/Textile/Material Studies educators throughout the Midwest and beyond. The purpose of the annual meeting is to share curriculum, new trends in the field, successful teaching tactics and general knowledge and experience. The MFAEN was founded in 2011 by Professor Janice Lessman-Moss (Kent State University) and Professor Rowland Ricketts (Indiana University Bloomington). The MFAEN continues to meet annually at different institutions as a decentralized organization. There are no fees associated with this meeting. Participants are responsible for their own travel to and from Columbia, MO, lodging, and meals.
I look forward to sharing with the MFAEN educators the particularly unique University of Missouri Fibers Studio. A former industrial dormitory kitchen, featuring extensive papermaking equipment and a newly implemented weaving studio. The highlight of meetings are presentations of personal creative research and rigorous critical discourse intertwined to the Fiber/Textile/Material Studies discipline. I have coordinated with Surface Design Association to present a national student juried exhibition, that will be on view while the Fibers Program is hosting the 2018 annual MFAEN meeting on our campus.
FUTURE TENSE II will celebrate the creative work of student artists, designers, and makers working with or inspired by fiber or textile materials or techniques. FUTURE TENSE II offers a glimpse into the future of contemporary fibers by presenting the very best work being made by students in the field today. The dates of exhibition are November 5-29, 2018 and will be held in partnership with the University of Missouri, School of Visual Studies and the George Caleb Bingham Gallery. Bingham Gallery Director and Fibers artist Catherine Armbrust and I will jury the exhibition.
I first became aware of the MFAEN in 2015 when I was hired as a faculty member in the Fibers Program at the University of Missouri. I have attended the last three meetings at the SAIC – School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2015), Kent State University (2016) and the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay (2017). I am the singular full-time faculty member in the Fibers Program and attending the annual meeting has proven invaluable to me. The meetings provide an opportunity to meet other Fiber/Textile/Material Studies educators and to see the distinct studio spaces and equipment. The techniques, equipment, and conceptual standards taught are apparent among the institutions represented in the MFAEN.
I have had many influential exchanges at the meetings, notably my introduction to the Digital Jacquard Thread Controller 1 (TC1) looms in the Textile Studio at Kent State University during the 2016 meeting. I expressed my interest, during the meeting, in learning how to operate a TC1 loom. Professor Janice Lessman-Moss welcomed me to the Kent State Textile Studio to learn the software and how to use a TC1 loom, demonstrating the generosity of knowledge and experience shared by MFAEN educators.