Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Textiles, Drafting and Furniture --- OH MY!

Day one was a total surprise.  Remember earlier in the blog when I joked about my business degree background versus a liberal arts degree?  The joking is over.  They don’t mess around at AI (Art Institute of Dallas).  Our first day of class was a full 3 hour section with note taking included.  No agenda, no expectations, no course outline.  It was full on contact with the information.  Here’s what my classes reflected....

TEXTILES (Mondays 1pm - 4 pm)

Most of us take textiles, or fabric, for granted.  This class is intended to help you understand which fabric to use, where to use them and how to get them.  Sounds pretty straight forward, right?  Not too complicated.  If only it were that simple.

We are learning about the major manufacturing segments of the fabric/textile industry.  This ranges from a mill to a jobber to a retail store.  The process is actually quite fascinating.  Then there are the basics of man-made and natural fibers along with the characteristics of both. Spinnerets and filaments can be made into staples.  Also included in this Monday class, is the identification of different real-life swatches -- from Headend to a Colorcard to a Sales/Cap Set and a Memo.  There’s a quiz next week on 50 of these to be able to identify --- thank goodness for multiple choice!

I love the workbook loaded with swatches!  It sorta reminds me of a Barbie dream notebook.  Complete with 114 individual fabrics, we write down the information about the individual fabrics as we go through the class.  The workbook is due at the completion of the class in a few months.  Let’s hope that one of the boys doesn’t find it anytime soon or there could be trouble...
DRAFTING I (Mondays 6-10 PM)

Also known as really fancy writing for really creative people, drafting reminds me of practicing my cursive in 4th grade.  The purpose of drafting is to be able to properly create a usable floor plan (furniture included) to the correct scale/size along with all the pertinent symbols and measurements.  Scary.

To say that I was wary of this class is an understatement.  I had the dark feeling that it would be all math and super boring --- but I was wrong.  Upon completion of the first day, we were drafting a small house to scale using our new tools.  Out came the instructions on how to use the drafting pencils (4F and 2F) in addition of how to sharpen them -- much harder than you would imagine.  Also, how to use your newly acquired 3-D ruler where 1/4 inch = 1 foot.  Check out my redrawn floor plan that I copied off the original.  Not perfect but I’m getting there. 
Being that there are (in theory) a whole crew of contractors who will be looking at the plans, it’s critical to be able to form letters perfectly in order to give everyone a clean copy to follow when doing the work.  Thus, we are practicing lettering - ALOT.  Our practice sheets are below and yes, they do factor into our final course grade.  In addition to the these sheets, our final will consist of drafting a large house plan which we will complete over the 10 week course - how cool is that??  Crises averted with regard to math --- at least for now.

Despite the fact that most of us have no idea what our “style of decorating” is, there are those in our world who are very particular about their tastes.  They desire a specific time period -- say 21st century modern, old colonial or shabby chic.  The purpose of the History of Furniture is to understand and identify periods of furniture and architecture based in a certain point in time with the aim of benefitting future clients.

Although I was ready to start off with the Pottery Barn era (that’s a joke for all of you new to the blog out there), we started out understanding Prehistory.  Before you start to nod off into a good nap, prehistory is actually interesting.  It is the time before anything was written down.  Included in this era are terms like “post and lintel” systems which consist of 2 vertical and 1 horizontal part.  The table looking rock that you see above is an example of the post and lintel found in Stonehenge in England and is called a Dolmen.   

Also included in this time period is  a “Ziggurat”.  A ziggurat is a huge platform which slants upwards from the the bases at the bottom.  This was used in early tomb making.

The second half of class we found ourselves on the arid expanses of Egypt with the dry winds whipping through our hair.  (Ok...so i got a little carried away with the analogy but go with me on this one.)  Our trip to Egypt was really quick.  Stopping to take notes on the early funerary practices of the Egyptians (the way they buried people) with emphasis on the architectural elements of it.  Then followed by an introduction to the first architect named “Imhotep”, touching base on the pyramids and then finally landing on the famous King Tut.  Our excursion was completed with the ways to easily identify ancient Egyptian furniture.

Egyptian furniture can be identified by animals feet on the bottom of the furniture that always point in the same direction which are on top of drums. Weird but interesting.  The idea being that the drum that the animal on the feet of the furniture are sitting on allows the person sitting on the stool to take in the spirit of the animal.  The second half of class, we headed into Egypt (not literally, but you get my drift).  We took notes on Early Funerary (burials) architectural Forms, learned about the first architect name “Imhotep”, hit the pyramid and of course King Tut.  We wrapped up studying about Egyptian furniture that can easily be identified by animal feet that are always point the same direction and are place on “top drum”. The drum allows the person sitting on the stool to take in the spirit of the animal.  Notice the photograph below with the animal feet and the drums.
All in all, it was a great week.  I’ve been asked if it’s hard getting in the swing of school again after so many years off.  Outside of the usual workload and classes, the adjustment was fairly easy.  However, some more subtle stumbling blocks have popped up.  Take my last name for instance - Moss.  The first time around in college, my last name started with an “E” so needless to say I have forgotten to answer to my name being called out.  (Sorry, honey.  No offense.  Maybe after 30 years together, I’ll get the hang of this last name thing.)

The gamers and I are starting to “hang” together some  - mostly because I need their help to pull up the handouts on the “T” drive.  (you’ll have to investigate that one on your own, mommies.)  I do get some funny looks when I mention my age -- since when did I get looks for being too old????

There are some things that DON’T change in college --- couples making out in the hallways, frenzied drivers in the parking lot with the bass kicked up and “The Quiet Zone” in the library.  All in all, I am enjoying the things that I am finding out about myself and about my world around outside of Frisco.  Being outside of your comfort zone is always a good way to discover your unique qualities. School again has been life stretching and fun!  Even if I’m still looking for the “T” drive all alone.


  1. Like the importance of lettering. It made me laugh. You think they might include this class in med school : )

  2. The lettering made me laugh. You think they might include this class in med school : )