Textiles News

Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 by Jim Norrena

Textiles faculty member Lia Cook (photo: Liz Hafalia, SF Chronicle)

As an award-winning textile artist and longtime professor at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, Berkeley resident Lia Cook admits to a slight bias about the importance of craft to a person's emotional well-being.

"We're a visually oriented culture, one in which other senses aren't emphasized," she says. "But using your hands to make something is part of what it means to be human."

Posted on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 by Allison Byers

As an award-winning textile artist and longtime professor at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, Berkeley resident Lia Cook admits to a slight bias about the importance of craft to a person's emotional well-being.
"We're a visually oriented culture, one in which other senses aren't emphasized," she says. "But using your hands to make something is part of what it means to be human."

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Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 by Erin Wheeler

On December 15 and 16, four CCA students and one recent alumna will showcase and sell their work at the 4th Annual Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market in San Francisco.

Inspired by the students who took part in the American Craft Council exhibition and the CCA coursework linking craft to entrepreneurship, CCA’s Career Development Office offered students a free shared booth.

Posted on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 by Allison Byers

Most new independent designers struggle for years to distinguish themselves from the pack. But Brook Lane and Kirby McKenzie’s debut line of natural indigo dyed bags and scarves was met with unexpectedly quick success. Though their label, Job & Boss, is just shy of a year old, it has already been snapped up by four Bay Area boutiques, including Gravel & Gold and Accident & Artifact.

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Posted on Monday, August 27, 2012 by Deborah Valoma

Josh Faught, visiting lecturer spring 2009. See slideshow for additional lecture posters.

Past visiting artists and guests in the Textiles Lecture Series. See Visiting Lecturers for more recent information.

2008–2009

Josh Faught, textile / mixed-media artist, assistant professor of fiber, University of Oregon, Eugene
Robert Ortbal, sculptor, assistant professor of sculpture, Sacramento State University

Posted on Monday, August 13, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

Bean Gilsdorf (MFA 2011) never imagined herself as a professional advice columnist. But in a moment of levity at an editorial meeting of the art blog Daily Serving, she tossed out the idea of an art advice column, and the others wouldn't let it drop.

And once she launched the thing, it really took off. She posted her first "Help Desk" column in January 2012, and it was almost immediately picked up by KQED.org and the Huffington Post.

What have been the most memorable questions? "One was, 'I just discovered that my MFA faculty advisor is an adulterer. I find that morally reprehensible. Should I continue to trust him in our student-advisor relationship?'"

This dilemma can't be reduced to yet another case of people not living up to expectations, Gilsdorf explains, since your advisor is your designated critic-advocate, and the nuances of the trust and the power dynamic are quite specific. In other words, Dear Abby can't deal with this one. You really need the advice of another artist.

What's been the strangest question so far? "'What is the best and most humane way to skin a cat as part of an art piece, in front of an audience'’ I wrote the guy back privately and told him I wasn't qualified to give an answer."

Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2012 by Ace Lehner

From August 3 to 5, approximately 30 students will present their work at CCA's "School to Market" booth at the American Craft Council Show at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.

With more than 230 of the top contemporary jewelry, clothing, furniture, and home-decor artists from across the country, this is the largest juried craft show west of the Rockies, providing an unparalleled opportunity for students to exhibit their fine art and functional craft works in a high-profile venue.

Posted on Monday, June 25, 2012 by Allison Byers

Sasha Duerr is a CCA alumna (MFA 2003), a member of the CCA faculty, and the founder of the Permacouture Institute. Just like the cloth she dyes by hand, everything about Duerr radiates passion, a generous investment of time and hand labor, and a deep respect for history.

When you think of the color red, you probably imagine a bright, saturated red, like a Crayola crayon. Yet when Duerr thinks of red, she imagines a living, breathing, mottled red -- the red that comes from a fern, or a pinecone.

Just like the cloth she dyes by hand using what she calls a garden-to-garment process, everything about Duerr radiates passion, a generous investment of time and hand labor, and a deep respect for history.

She focuses her teaching and research practices on organic dyes, alternative fibers, and the creative reuse of materials. She has written and lectured extensively, becoming a well-known authority in these emerging fields over the last 10 years. Her artworks have been exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States and in Japan, and she has taught at artist residencies, colleges, and community and school garden programs.

Posted on Monday, June 11, 2012 by Allison Byers

A couple on a weekend hike through the Oakland hills pick a few blossoms, some wild onions and fennel. They eye the blackberries, just starting to flower, and make a note to come back for those in late summer.

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Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Mitchell Schwarzer

Mitchell Schwarzer gives his introduction at the CCA faculty retreat

On February 4, 2012, the faculty at California College of the Arts gathered at the college's San Francisco campus for a retreat focused on the state of the arts across our many disciplines. In the morning, 25 short presentations offered insights into challenges and opportunities faced by practitioners and thinkers in recent times. The word aired most frequently was crisis: the crisis of the Great Recession; the crisis of Global Climate Change; the crisis of understanding and working within a discipline in our digital age.

Watch the video of all the presentations (91 minutes), shot and edited by Yoni Klein (Photography 2012)

The economic downturn has produced an economic squeeze within most of our disciplines. Art directors, as Alexis Mahrus remarks, have diminished roles in shaping an illustration. Smaller profit margins reduce the flexibility and time given over to experimentation. Branding and celebrity worship take up a larger slice of the creative pie. Some presenters, like Sue Redding of Industrial Design, see no problem in this conflation of art and business and, furthermore, dispute the notion of a crisis. Yet many presenters feel that the economic crisis is not only real but wielding dangerously asymmetrical impacts. Demand remains strong for high-end craft goods and blue-chip fine art. Some small nonprofits are struggling to survive. To Ignacio Valero of Critical Studies, the priority given over to luxury items can be attributed to the ongoing influence of classical economic policies that privilege individual decision making over collective social and natural needs. Likewise, Sandra Vivanco of Diversity Studies notes that economic inequalities have greatly worsened over the past few years, especially in the developing world. Contemporary society is forging a timeless, spaceless way of conducting business, a race for lucrative and short-term gains that concentrates investment more than ever in the hands of a few.

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