FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 25, 2010
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081
MTSU HUMAN SCIENCES STUDENTS GIVE PEACE FELT A CHANCE
Felters in U.S., Netherlands, Great Britain Shape Fabric to Convey Pacifist Message
(MURFREESBORO) – Brilliantly colored, soft, fuzzy mobiles recently arrived from the United Kingdom at MTSU’s Ellington Human Sciences Building. These connected fabric swatches also connect artisans who share a desire for less violence and warfare in the world, giving a new meaning to the phrase “soft power.”
Thirteen students in the Textiles, Merchandising and Design Program in the Department of Human Sciences received the felt crafts from their giving partner, The Herd Arts Drive, as part of Peace Felt 2010. The organization was created to promote love and peace through textile art.
It was MTSU’s first year of participation in the project, and Assistant Professor Nancy Oxford intends to make sure it will be an ongoing endeavor.
“You could just see how it made (her students) feel good to give without any expectations,” Oxford says.
To celebrate Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace as designated by the United Nations, the MTSU students made their own felt peace crafts for their receiving partner, Atelier Filt, in the Netherlands. The concept is designed to a continuous circle of peace and brotherhood that has no beginning and no end.
“We could have done a huge piece altogether, but we thought it would be nice that each student did a representative square,” Oxford says. “Then, when we sent them to the Netherlands, we gave them some ideas. They could frame them individually. They could sew them together and make a big wall hanging. So we sort of left that open to our receiving partners.”
Each student in Oxford’s class was instructed to select a country and research symbols that represent peace in that country’s native language. Some of the nations represented in the students’ works include Japan, Russia, China, and Ireland, and Oxford says they had fun manipulating the felt to express their sentiments.
“Felt is the only fiber that can completely go from fiber to a fabric, bypassing the yarn stage,” Oxford says. “With a little heat, a little moisture and a little agitation, you can actually … entangle the fibers.”
Oxford says not only do the students create their own natural dyes, but they also work with fibers from sheep, alpacas, llamas and angora rabbits, as well as human hair and dog hair. Among their creations are cocktail hats, scarves and wall hangings.
“Not only are they participating in these fun projects, at the same time, they’re learning about science, how dyes react with different protein fibers and different cellulosic fibers, how different types of dyes react with different types of fibers,” says Oxford.
They’ll also be learning how to learn how to market their creativity and other business aspects of the craft when Breanna Rockstad-Kincaid visits the class from 9:00-11:05 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2, in Room 112 of the Ellington Building.
Rockstad-Kincaid runs her business, Felt Good Fibers, out of her home in Silver Point, Tenn. An award-winning maker of wearable art and former schoolteacher in Putnam County, she earned her bachelor’s degree from the Appalachian Center for Craft, an art satellite campus of Tennessee Tech University.
Oxford says the felt craft works from Great Britain will hang in various locations in the Ellington Building at least through the end of the semester. For more information, contact Oxford at 615-898-5689 or email@example.com.
ATTENTION, MEDIA: For photos of MTSU students making their Peace Felt items, contact Gina Logue in the MTSU Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-5081 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1911, Middle Tennessee State University is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution located in Murfreesboro and is the state’s largest public undergraduate institution. MTSU now boasts one of the nation’s first master’s degree programs in horse science, and the Council of Graduate Schools in Washington, D.C., acclaims MTSU’s Master of Science in Professional Science degree—the only one in Tennessee—as a model program. This fall, MTSU unveiled three new doctoral degrees in the sciences.