California Fibers, a historic organization at the forefront of contemporary fiber art in Southern California, showcases the remarkable work of its current members in Influences/Influencers, currently at the Craft in America Center in Los Angeles, California, through December 2, 2023. Curated by Emily Zaiden, Craft in America’s director and curator, the exhibition offers a glimpse into the vast influences that have shaped fiber art today.
Founded five decades ago, California Fibers has a rich legacy of pushing the boundaries of fiber art. Zaiden aptly describes it as, “a historic organization that has been pivotal in advancing contemporary fiber art not only in Southern California but also across the state and far beyond. Over the years, its members have consistently demonstrated a deep commitment to innovation and creativity within the realm of fiber arts.”
California Fibers artist Marty Ornish with her work, The Pill of Rights # 2; 2023; vintage quilt, antique lace dresser scarf, lace, trims, pearls, seed beads, sequins, tulle, satin flowers, beaded trim, birth control packaging, antique mirror, watch faces, laser-printed diagram of DP Wagner’s Pill dispensing patent dated July 27, 1962; 43 x 17 in. Photo credit: Carrie Burckle
Zaiden’s statement underscores the profound influence that fiber art has exerted on the broader contemporary art world in recent years. Fiber art, once considered a niche craft, has now become a powerful force in shaping the cultural landscape. This exhibition is not just a celebration of California Fiber’s history but also a recognition of how fiber art has seamlessly integrated into the broader contemporary art discourse.
The artists featured in this exhibition are a testament to the organization’s enduring impact in shaping contemporary fiber art. They represent a diverse range of styles, techniques, and perspectives, reflecting the dynamic nature of contemporary fiber art. Each artist brings a unique voice and vision to their work, contributing to the ongoing evolution of this captivating medium.
The artwork in Influences/Influencers is a dynamic blend of tradition and innovation. Visitors will encounter a diverse array of techniques, from traditional weaving and embroidery to experimental mixed-media approaches. The artists draw inspiration directly from their influences, including nature, history, and personal experiences, resulting in a body of work that is both visually stunning and conceptually rich.
California Fibers artist Cameron Taylor-Brown with her work (Left) Reflections: North Lake #2, Eastern Sierra, CA; 2023; linen, silk and paper yarns, silk, cotton, wood, paint; weaving, photographic transfer, quilting, embroidery; 25 x 14.5 in. (Right) Aneesa Shami Zizzo, Mirage; 2019; reclaimed fabric; hand stitched, appliqué. Photo credit: Julia Brown
Polly Jacobs Giacchina, The Middle; 2023; wire, stone, raffia; knotless netting, coiling. Photo credit: Tom Giacchina
As visitors explore the works of California Fibers members in this exhibition, it is easy to anticipate the continued growth and influence of fiber art. It is clear fiber art is no longer confined to the fringes but rather has firmly established itself as a vibrant and essential part of the contemporary artistic landscape.
Influences/Influencers offers a compelling narrative of the organization’s historical significance and the enduring influence of fiber art. This exhibition not only celebrates the past but also embraces the exciting future of fiber art. It is a must-visit for anyone interested in witnessing the transformative power of this medium in the world of contemporary art. craftinamerica.org ׀ californiafibers.com
Carrie Burckle is an adjunct faculty member in the fiber program at California State University Long Beach. She teaches screen printing, pattern design, fiber sculpture, mixed-media, weaving, and dyeing. Burckle is the co-founder and director of TextileArtsLA.org. She is an educator, lecturer, curator, and a 20-year member of California Fibers.
carrieburckle.com ׀ @carrieburckle