Building on solid technical skills and a proficient design process, MFA candidates in Textiles engage in individual research to develop a personal vision and an understanding of design as an expression of a continually evolving culture. The program focuses on the woven, knit and print design of fabrics used for apparel and interior design applications. Geared towards those who have a background in textiles, along with experience in visual studies from an undergraduate program or professional practice, it helps students to broaden and sharpen their skills, hone their artistic identity and become well versed in the technical and creative potential of their chosen medium and its context. The program also emphasizes studies in drawing and color - along with participation in graduate seminars - as a means of building analytical and critical thinking skills.
Graduates are prepared to:
• implement the design process through the framing of content and context
• articulate the purpose and context for a finished work and how these may inform decisions in the process of creating it
• recognize the potential of textile materials, techniques and processes to articulate ambitious ideas
• display analytical and critical thinking/reasoning skills to support the development of one's work, as well as the work of others, and in order to engage in rigorous discourse related to historical and contemporary issues that influence the art and design fields
• exhibit strong visual and material competency, including an understanding of color, pattern, structure and materiality as they relate to the creation of two- and three-dimensional work
• demonstrate excellence in craftsmanship by creating wovens, knits and other material forms that are well considered, made and resolved
• demonstrate confidence and proficiency in the field, with emphasis on advanced equipment and processes
• become acquainted with scales of manufacturing and distribution
• recognize environmental/sustainability and social concerns related to textile processes and manufacturing
• articulate their role as designers in the field while demonstrating broad historical and theoretical awareness of textiles and its larger cultural and economic contexts, along with how it intersects with other disciplines
• explain the current field in the context of art, architecture, design and technology
• identify where the work will sit in the world
Textiles majors at RISD form a strong and supportive community, with approximately a dozen graduate students working together in various studios with more than 80 undergraduates and interacting with RISD's other 400-plus master's degree candidates. Faculty bring a wide range of professional expertise to working closely with graduate students to help each individual push his or her own capabilities and develop a strong, confident vision and direction for future work in the field.
Graduate students work closely with RISD's accomplished faculty, whose professional expertise ranges from digital technology to complex woven structures, including jacquard weaving. Vital connections to the profession are maintained through a required internship, seminar speakers, field trips, visiting critics and communications with experts in the field. Specialized facilities, high-end looms and professional software accommodate advanced work, while valuable resources outside the department include an outstanding textiles collection in the RISD Museum of Art and inspiring textiles resource materials in the Fleet Library at RISD.
Suruchi Kabra MFA 2013
Maggie Barber MFA 2013
Katey Crews MFA 2012
Claire Schipke MFA 2014
Chase Taylor MFA 2013
Agustina Bello MFA 2013
"It's important that all MFA candidates in Textiles have a basic understanding of the medium, a strong visual vocabulary and exceptional motivation to undertake a rigorous program. Beyond that, however, students learn what they don't already know about hand-based techniques, digital design and operating advanced equipment while developing a critical language and context for their work."
The first year of the MFA program focuses on enriching students’ creative background and expanding their skills, including the use of digital technology in design. The second year allows for more individual exploration of weaving, knitting or surface design, with the final semester culminating in a thesis project that entails both studio work and writing.
In the final semester, MFA candidates focus on creating a comprehensive body of work under the guidance of a thesis committee. All graduate students produce a written thesis and participate in the RISD Graduate Thesis Exhibition, a large-scale public show held annually.
Apparel DesignArchitectureCeramicsDigital + MediaExperimental and Foundation StudiesFilm/Animation/VideoFurniture DesignGlassGraphic DesignHistory of Art + Visual CultureHistory, Philosophy + the Social SciencesIllustrationIndustrial DesignInterior ArchitectureJewelry + MetalsmithingLandscape ArchitectureLiterary Arts + StudiesPaintingPhotographyPrintmakingSculptureTeaching + Learning in Art + DesignTextiles