Fiber Arts and Weaving at JMU

Fiber Arts and Weaving at JMU functions as an intersectional medium within the Art, Studio Degrees. The area provides students a space to see how the different ideas and skills learned in each of the mediums integrate and Fiber Art. The area's goal is to help students develop a personal voice as artists and cultural makers and to learn what Fiber Arts and Weaving has to offer within the expanded field of contemporary art.

Fibers Arts and Weaving practices are on the cutting edge of contemporary art and critical inquiry and represent one of the world’s longest and most accessible aesthetic traditions. The fiber arts program at SADAH emphasizes the exploration of materials within a contemporary context that considers emergent and related issues of multiculturalism, technological advancement, gender, sexuality, and more.

Students will examine the relationships among material, process, and maker, as well as the critical role that cloth and fiber processes have played in global economic marketplaces historically. The fiber arts program emphasizes student engagement in both studio practice and critical research. Students will learn to weave on-loom while also being introduced to many off-loom processes like wet felting, spinning, knitting, crochet, surface design, stitching, and screen-printing.

Many students choose to work on the boundaries of the medium by exploring fashion, sculpture, video, ceramics, painting, metal arts, performance, and installation as part of their practice. Experimenting with materials and methods is encouraged as students develop individual creative practices. Interdisciplinary strategies of making are valued. Additionally, studio sessions are supplemented with readings and discussions that explore social and cultural concerns related to the techniques learned. Relevant issues include functionality, identity, consumerism, community, repetition, pattern, and decoration. 

State-of-the-art Equipment
  • Multi-harness Handlooms
  • Electronic Jacquard Looms
  • Knitting Machines
  • Digital Textile Printer
  • Dye Kitchen
  • Silkscreen Lab
Fiber Arts and Weaving

As practicing professionals themselves, professors support the development of students as artists and/or designers regardless of whether students produce work for commercial trade or fine art exhibitions.

The fibers area regularly brings contemporary artists and curators to speak on campus and conduct studio visits with students. Recent guest lecturers include Jen Bervin, Geraldine Craig, Surabhi Ghosh, Allyson Mitchell, Danny Orendorff, Rowland Ricketts, III, and Shannon Stratton.

Graduate Program in Fibers

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 SADAH as well as within the Fibers area. The program promotes an interdisciplinary approach to studio production.

Hardware and Software Requirements

SADAH's programs require all students to have a laptop computer equipped with and capable of running any necessary software. SADAH considers a laptop an essential tool for total participation in classes and content. Read more about SADAH's hardware and software requirements.

Suggested Specifications

Operating System (OS) 

Storage (GB) 

Screen Size (IN) 

Random Access Memory (RAM) 

Graphics Memory (VRAM) 

Processor (CPU) 
M3 pro or Intel 13th Gen i7 / i9 

Required Specifications

Operating System (OS) 
MacOS or Windows 11 

Storage (GB) 

Screen Size (IN) 

Random Access Memory (RAM) 

Graphics Memory (VRAM) 

Processor (CPU) 
M3 pro or Intel 13th Gen i5

Required Software

Microsoft 365* 






*Provided by JMU

Fibers Faculty

R. Mertens

Fiber Arts and Weaving Coordinator, Associate Professor

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