Teaching Experience Philosophy

Short Teaching Description >                                               


“Aisthitikos is the ancient Greek word for that which is “perceptive by feeling”. Aisthisis is the sensory experience of perception. The original field of aesthetics in not art but reality – corporeal, material, nature.  As Terry Eagleton writes: Aesthetics is born as a discourse of the body.”
Susan Buck-Morrs

Aesthetics and Anesthetics: Walter Benjamin’s Artwork Essay Reconsidered

The position that aesthetics is rooted in the corporeal as much as it is in the social is interesting.   What do educational institutions which propose to be involved in crafting and art making do?  I believe it is our responsibility to not be comfortable with the status quo, but to be open to exploring new paradigms and methodologies. My teaching philosophy is built around three central pillars: Skills Development, Integrated Theory, and Practical Applications/Experience.
My post-secondary, University, teaching record attests to my lateral capacity with-in Textiles and Fashion.

My regular teaching includes:

  • Silk Screen Printing
  • Textile Studio (all levels)
  • Repeating Pattern
  • Directed Studio and Independent Studies
  • 3D soft form
  • Introduction to Weaving
  • Intermediate Surface Design
  • Experimental approach to Fashion
  • Draping (Sculpting on the dress form)
  • Hybrid Practice Strategies in Textiles/Fashion

Additionally I designed a graduate level class for the Trans-Art Graduate Institute in Berlin, Germany entitled, Identity: A Discourse of Body, Cloth, and Personality. We worked with the notion of aesthetics as a discourse of the body, and the body extended, as in dress, architecture, and material object and performance.

I have taught numerous workshops in art galleries, summer schools and other interested venues. This teaching has expanded to include natural dyeing, pattern repeat, reuse/repair, rug making, felting, and screen printing workshops.

I take seriously my commitment to communicate the vastness and complexity of textile and clothing’s place in the world.  Through the introduction of a wide range of techniques, art/craft/fashion works, historical contexts, crafted artifacts, and theoretical readings, I attempt to provide a multiplicity of entry points.  

Students may recognize something in these presented variables, which helps them to identify their studio practice, as well as explore their academic and design/craft identity. I tend to “mix it up”, providing a broad context for fashion and textiles. Teaching has been very satisfying, and I am often surprised and excited by the work the students are producing.

My extensive record as an instructor indicates that I have an ability to enable and encourage individual expression within the limits and objectives set forth in assignments. I believe both structured limitations and the potential for open-endedness can play a role in providing appropriate challenges for both instructor and students.

It is important to consider the role of textiles in socialized spatial environments, their contribution to the formation of individual and social identity, the long standing relationship with binary technology, and textiles’ place with regard to the lived body and body extended. It is important for students to realize their potential, and the question of outcomes is important to consider.

As a base-line we need to provide students with sound, discipline-specific understanding of textile and form (clothing) processes,  in addition to exploring technological, historical, political and theoretical contexts. Most important is my enthusiasm for, and belief in supporting open studio practice with perspectives drawn from discourses such as the philosophical/aesthetic and personal/social which are implied and revealed through fashion and textile practices.

Teaching Textiles and Form within a cultural context is important to me. I appreciate immensely the shared curiosity and engagement generated by the instructor/student experience. It is also rewarding to communicate the impact of working in a creative educational environment which values innovation, intellectual freedom, social responsibility and risk taking, as this feeds back into the animation of my teaching methodology and the fabric of my own art practice.