Fiber Arts in Unlikely Places...

Have you ever thought that you might find classes in fiber arts such as knitting and crochet at a college or university? I mean, why would you? Knitting and Crochet are taught at local craft stores or yarn shops, right? You buy your yarn and tools, quickly learn the technique and off you go. Well, welcome to the fiber arts revolution. There are men and women that want to make these art forms their life’s work as well as folks that want to learn a craft to enjoy at their leisure. A college or university might seem a most unlikely place in which to find these types of classes, but for me it’s a thrill to find myself teaching in just such a setting.

When our local college approached me to teach knitting and crochet, I was curious for sure – teaching knitting and crochet in a college setting was not something that had ever crossed my mind. I mean it really took some research on my part and undergoing a bit of a paradigm shift in my thinking. I have taught science classes in community colleges, but never a craft class. I have always taught these art forms in local shops, homes, craft stores, etc. Since I now live in a small country town south of Chicago, Illinois and as we have no yarn shops (yet…) I thought why not. In my research I found that many universities and community colleges are starting to offer degrees and certificates in the area of Fiber Arts. California State University at Long Beach offers this program in the Fine Arts department. Okay maybe I’m just a complete knitting and crochet geek, but I think this is so cool!!!

The current setting in which I’m teaching allows anyone to take these classes just for the love of the craft, but I also offer certificates of proficiency for students that are looking to enroll in university programs that require a basic skill set in either knitting or crochet. When we started this program, I offered three classes, one on basic knitting, one on understanding your yarn and fibers, one for basic crochet. Shock- that’s what awaited me. All three classes filled up in no time. I would never have guessed that so many people were willing to take classes like these at a college. My students really wanted to learn about these crafts in real depth, not just as skill based classes, but the history and anything else that applies to the art. I was so thrilled!

I am currently heading into my third semester of classes and the program is already growing by leaps and bounds. In the current and coming semester we have seven classes and two Saturday workshops. The students come from all income levels, and age groups, but they all have one thing in common, a love for learning the fiber arts. We are even discussing a way in which to offer a few scholarships to students that need a little extra help.

So, the next time that you get that little class registration booklet from your local college in the mail, don’t just pitch it in the recycling bin. Take a look and see if you can find a class. You just never know what you might have available to you right in your own community.

If you would like to know more about these classes or how to prepare fiber arts classes for a college setting, just send me a note. I’m always happy to help with resources, etc…

Peace and joy to ya all…

Diana – The Green Girl


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