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Inspiring Creativity with Carole Beadle

Carole Beadle is a well loved and respected Textile Arts teacher at the College of Marin where she has taught since 1988 and at her alma mater, the California College of the Arts.  Her job, in a nutshell, is to stimulate creativity.

Carole Beadle associates creativity with freedom. Her teaching style is non- judgmental and she wants her students to hold nothing back. “When we are young we have much more freedom and spontaneous creativity, as we get older we get more rigid,” she explains.  Her work as a teacher is to allow as much freedom as possible.  She feels that “opening up one’s mind and allowing oneself to think without the influence of ‘rules’ stimulates creativity. One way she helps her students relax and open their minds is to remind them that the piece they are working on doesn’t have to last forever and not everyone needs to like it. “You are the only one who needs to like it,” she tells them, “You are creating for yourself!” She encourages her students to learn the rules of art and design so they can break them.

"Bat Caf" Coffee Filter Kimono by Lucia Matzger

One of the ways Professor Beadle helps her students find their creativity is to have them start with a conceptual idea. She sees art as communication. “The materials themselves can reveal a lot. They convey conceptual messages; hard, soft, emotions, new, old and more,” she says.

Beadle also encourages her students to explore new techniques and find new ways to form textures or patterns. “Folks love yarn, but there are other ways to create a textile piece. One can use a traditional textile technique on other than traditional textile materials such as wire or plastic bags. These materials contain “memory” because we know what they are all about.  That knowledge will be part of what the project communicates.  For example, one could crochet plastic bags into soda cans to reflect the artist’s view of human consumption and waste.

"Frizzle Frazzle" by Emily Dvorin

You could also take traditional textile materials such as yarn or pine needles and do something different with them such as cast them or stitch them together on a flat surface to create a ‘painting’.”

Carole’s fiber sculpture classes begin by exploring ways of working with surfaces and structures.  Her students develop their individual expressions and concepts by building three-dimensional forms with traditional and non-traditional materials which include wire, plastic. hog casings, flax, fabric and tree cuttings.  Construction methods may include netting, knotting, coiling, wrapping, layering and felting.

Carole Beadle’s classes are so popular that many students return year after year to study under her tutelage.  In 1990 a group of students who had participated in Carole Beadle’s fiber sculpture program at College of Marin, launched a forum to sustain their artistic momentum.  They are known as the fiber/DIMENSIONS artist collective and have continued for twenty years with roughly 35 members hosting monthly discussions, critiques, tours, guest speakers, and demonstrations. Carole has been the group’s mentor since the beginning.

Cecelia Thorner, one of the original members of fiber/DIMENSIONS recalls, “It wasn’t until Carol Beadle took a sabbatical that we decided to form a group so that we could continue to have a similar experience that we so enjoyed in her class. Our goal was to encourage our continued creativity and to critique our current projects.   Carol Beadle has always been a member of our group and she has always exhibited in our group exhibitions. Although it has been twenty years since we first formed, the current fiber/Dimensions still upholds the same principles…. to being a collective with the goals of continued excellence in workmanship and creativity.”

Carol Beadle with image from Lace Group Installation College of Marin 2010

Fiber/DIMENSIONS fifth biennial group show, Intersections 5, Colors_Concepts_Contours will be held October 13th to December 19th 2010 at the Presidio of San Francisco Officers’ Club with an opening reception on October 17th from 1:00 to 4:00. Carole Beadle, an honorary member of the group will show several pieces at the exhibit. Admission is free.

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