While RISD's Textiles department has a reputation for preparing students to become highly skilled designers in the field, equal attention is given to a fine arts approach, with special projects and classes focused on issues specific to creating one-of-a-kind works of art. As students develop artistically and their design and creative processes improve, they're encouraged to apply newfound technical skills and advanced techniques to making innovative two- and three-dimensional work.
Graduates are prepared to:
• engage in the design process by framing a premise and iterating material responses as an idea evolves
• understand the purpose and context of a finished work and how these may inform decisions made in the process of creating it
• articulate inspirations, explain interpretations and defend solutions in one's own creative process
• demonstrate strong visual and material competency - including in color, pattern, texture, structure and materiality - in regards to the creation of two- and three-dimensional work
• demonstrate excellence in craftsmanship by creating wovens, knits and surface works that are well considered, deftly made and fully resolved
• explain the current field in the context of art, architecture, design and technology
• demonstrate broad historical and theoretical awareness of the textile field and its larger disciplinary, cultural and economic contexts
• recognize environmental/sustainability and social concerns related to textile processes and manufacturing
Approximately 80 undergraduates and a dozen graduate students work together in various studios readily sharing ideas and offering each other feedback and assistance. In addition, the practicing professionals who teach in the department are fully committed to supporting the development of artists and designers who are eager to energize the field. Faculty work with students individually and in groups to help each Textiles graduate develop a strong personal vision and a deep understanding of all aspects of the discipline.
The department maintains a close connection to the field through its alumni, group field trips, professional internships and guest speakers and critics. In recent years, students have worked on collaborative projects with companies such as DesignTex, Bed Bath & Beyond, Hanna Andersson, dkny and Merida Meridian, among others. The experience of developing design collections with professional partners and adhering to industry standards has proven to be invaluable as students embark on their own paths after graduation.
Amy Chiao BFA 2013
Minami Otake BFA 2013
Tory Harvey BFA 2014
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In the first year of the program, sophomores learn various methods of print design, silkscreen, weaving, knitting and dyeing before choosing to focus on either fine arts work or industry-related projects. Juniors concentrate on more advanced techniques by focusing on an area or areas of personal interest, developing individual concepts and broadening perspectives by taking courses in other disciplines. In addition to producing a final degree project, seniors pursue internships designed to strengthen connections to the professional world.
Senior year culminates in a final degree project that defines each student's personal area of interest, mode of working and future direction.
All first-year applicants apply to RISD as opposed to a specific department and begin with a required year of Experimental and Foundation Studies. Students select a major midway through the first year but don’t begin those programs until sophomore year.
For more information or to begin the application process, visit the Apply page.
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