Through organized production goals that focus on quality, design and sustainability, students develop an understanding of the material while making products that can be enjoyed by the community. There are opportunities on the Crew to learn other fiber skills such as spinning, felting, sewing, dyeing, and basketry. All of these learned skills can be applied to other areas of academic study as well as community engagement.

The Fiber Arts Crew uses wool from the sheep on the farm to spin their own yarn and cultivates a dye garden to dye the yarn. Additionally, Crew members learn about the intersection between art and work by selling their crafts. Read more about the dye garden.

The Fiber Arts Crew is also affiliated with the Craft Minor.

My time on Fiber Arts not only taught me how to weave, sew, spin, and dye, but it also taught me the importance of intention and tradition. I cherish my work here because I work with my hands and create cloth and feel connected to the history of weavers in Appalachia and at Warren Wilson College. When my classes and life feel hectic, I love sitting at the loom and taking time to make something in a slow, intentional, and often unappreciated way. I also love working with a community of weavers both on the crew and outside of the College. There’s something really remarkable about coming into the studio in the morning and hearing the beat of several looms and the hum of sewing machines. The Work Program – and the Fiber Arts Crew in particular – is the most special part of Warren Wilson.

Ella Conder

Supervisor Spotlight

Melanie Wilder

Melanie Wilder holds a degree in Professional Crafts Fiber, and has dedicated the past 20 years to learning and teaching the fiber skills she so loves to people of all ages. She is interested in exploring how process crosses into our daily living and how intentional choices can help shape our footprint on the future. She enjoys making textiles made from natural dyes and local materials which can be used in daily ritual and to better our daily experience. Fascinated by historical uses and fiber techniques from across the globe and the context in which we use this information as we move forward as contemporary weavers and makers, she hopes to inspire those she works with to find their voice within the world of fiber.

Explore the Crew

Hear directly from students about what it’s like to be a member of the Fiber Arts Crew.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll spend years working alongside your peers with the mentorship of your supervisors.  Part of the experience of work at Warren Wilson is guided critical reflection, which helps ensure that you achieve both your own educational goals as well as our Common Learning Outcomes. These intentional learning outcomes distinguish our Work Program, giving it focus and relevancy that set it apart from a federal work-study or your average part-time job. 

Our Common Learning Outcomes:

  • Professionalism & Work Ethic: accountability, effective work habits, punctuality, dependability, time management, integrity, and commitment to the well-being of the community.
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: working with available resources to creatively address issues and solve problems, and gaining confidence to make decisions.
  • Communication: the ability to convey and receive information effectively with intentionality, honesty, and confidence in both speech and writing.
  • Collaboration & Teamwork: actively collaborate with peers to achieve common goals, Distribute labor fairly, and hold each other accountable as committed members of a group.
  • Civic Identity: understanding your active influence within the community and how your decisions directly impact the work around you.

In addition to our Common Learning Outcomes, each crew in the Work Program identifies crew-specific goals for learning and performance. These are reviewed with you each semester. Your crew-specific learning goals outline skills and abilities your supervisor will teach you during the semester.

Some of our Fiber Arts Crew Learning Goals include:

  • Weaving: Floor loom weaving, patterning, tapestry weaving, and basketry
  • Fiber Qualities & Processing: wool from farm, flax to linen, spinning, felting
  • Natural Dyeing: growing and working with plants, science collaboration
  • Sewing & Sustainable Clothing Industry: machine and hand sewing skills, learning about clothing industry impacts and regenerative bioregional fiber systems