New 3-D fiber, postmodernism art classes to be offered

Anne Osborne

Betsy Knabe Roe is sculpting some new offerings for next semester’s art department: 3-D Fiber and Postmodernism in Art and Science.

“They are completely unique in that they haven’t ever been offered before and may never be offered again,” said the visiting professor who specializes in fiber sculpture. “These are classes I’ve designed.”

The class Postmodernism in Art and Science explores the relationship between those two subjects, for instance, linking mathematics with art or exploring the philosophy resulting in today’s artistic creations.

“It has to do with what’s happening in society [and] the idea that society is fragmented,” said Knabe Roe. “Everybody’s everywhere.”

An interdisciplinary course, Postmodernism in Art and Science will revolve around guest lecturers and discussion.

But for Stephen Honea, a sophomore enrolled in both new classes, he is most looking forward to the outlet of 3-D Fiber.

Honea says fiber is more than just weaving baskets, and Knabe Roe’s class includes projects in felting, wearable art, indigo baths and casting paper. For Honea, the hands-on facet of fibers also gets the creative side of his brain busy.

“When it’s so hands-on, you can experiment with so many things,” he said. “So even if you think you wouldn’t have any interest, you’d be surprised because there’s so much to it. You can make sculptures, you can make books or you can make clothes.”

After making a sword-and-scabbard shaped book on fencing techniques in a previous class, Honea is hoping for more. That’s one reason he encourages non-art majors to consider enrolling.

For her part, Knabe Roe admits that it’s sometimes more fun working with those unversed in art. All levels are welcome, and she stressed students often find the skills they bring from other emphases are valuable at the art table. In an automated age, she acknowledges the value of hands-on work.

“Another part of postmodern art is bringing these everyday, ancient techniques into the world of art,” said Kanabe Roe. “And the other nice thing about fiber is if you work in another medium, you can bring that to fiber. And that puts it back into the digital age, because we can do things like putting images onto fabric.”