December 12, 2011

Polly Jacobs Giacchina

                                                        OCEANIC FORMATION
                                                        by Polly Jacobs Giacchina
                     included in juried show CRAFT FORMS 2011 at the Wayne Art Center
                                                     December 2, 2011 to January 21, 2012

by Polly Jacobs Giacchina
included in juried show at Mesa Contemporary Arts/33rd Annual Contemporary Crafts
January 27 to March 18, 2012

December 10, 2011

California Fibers member, Michael Rohde, is showing in 3 exhibitions across the country.

Tara is included in the exhibit:
Interconnections: Tapestry Weavers West
November 14, 2011 - February 3, 2012
Reception: Thursday, November 17, 2011 from 5 – 7 pm
Mills Building
220 Montgomery Street (at Bush)
San Francisco, CA 94104
Lobby hours: Monday through Friday 8 – 6

‎House 46 is on exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles:
Work for this exhibition was selected by Kerri Hurtado
of Artsource Consulting and Deborah Corsini
from submissions by Tapestry Weavers West members.
November 15 – February 5, 2012
Collecting California

Collecting California is our first exhibition featuring quilts and textiles drawn from the museum's permanent collection by contemporary California artists. It features recent acquisitions - gifts from both artists and collectors - and showcases the rich variety, legacy, and continued evolution of the California fiber art movement.

Included in the exhibition is a selection of work by local artists Sonya Lee Barrington, Cathy Bolding, Marian Clayden, Susan Else, Linda Gass, Sheila O'Hara, Therese May, and Joan Schulze. Artists from other parts of the state are Marlene Bloomberg, Charlotte Patera, Michael F. Rohde and Louise Schiele. Vintage pieces on exhibit are quilted works by Lucy Hilty, Jean Ray Laury, and Yvonne Porcella, and Ed Rossbach’s classic hand manipulated twinning, as well as a basket by the long time collaborators Lillian Elliott and Pat Hickman.

This exhibition focuses on an important aspect of our collecting mission – to honor and support local fiber artists and art history by documenting and preserving California’s textile art for the future.

‎Tibetan Prayers is included in the Textile Study Group of New York exhibition, "Crossing Lines: The many Faces of Fiber":CROSSING LINES: THE MANY FACES OF FIBER, an exhibition of 58 large and small, two- and three-dimensional works of contemporary fiber art:
Juror: Rebecca A. T. Stevens, Consulting Curator of Contemporary Textiles at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC. 
This exhibition will be installed in the World Financial Center Courtyard Gallery, Three World Financial Center, 220 Vesey St. (entrances on Vesey and West Sts.), in lower Manhattan, New York City.
CROSSING LINES: THE MANY FACES OF FIBER will be open to the public for 11 weeks: Dec. 6, 2011, through Feb. 19, 2012. Hours: Tues.-Sun., 12–4 pm (closed Monday).

October 26, 2011

Gallery 1927 is showing "As We See It: Fiber Artists of California".  

This show is a collection of works from 16 contemporary fiber artists from all over California.  All pieces are in fibers of different types; pine needles, date palm, waxed linen, even recycled materials like metal & plastic, to name just a few. Many techniques are used as well to sculpt these works of art.  Please join us on Nov. 10th at

6-9 pm for the Opening Reception.  Fine Arts Building 811 W 7th Street, LA CA 90017.  Show runs Nov. 7th to Nov 30th. 
This show will include California fibers members: Polly Jacobs Giacchina and Peggy Wiedemann

October 5, 2011

Tapestry weaver, James Koehler, has a lovely DVD showing his process from design to woven tapestry.
He passed away  March 3, 2011.

October 2, 2011


  An occasional series, featuring an interview with one of our members.

My greatest pleasure is being in the zone, when time stops, my focus is narrow and work gets done without much conscious thought.

Last Clear Chance, commission for
San Diego Regional Airport Authority

What themes or ideas are reoccurring in your work?
     Time, process and change are reoccurring concepts. My work changes with new techniques, with changes in my personal life, with research when a new idea pops up. Time is part of my process as well. I hand dye most of the fabrics I use. It can take several dye processes to get the color and pattern I want. Machine piecing and machine embroidery are time consuming. I machine quilt all my work and hand embroidery often is a final step. Some pieces go together quickly – less than a week. Others can take months to resolve.  
Airport Backsplash,
mosaic tile drinking fountain
San Diego Regional Airport Authority
Terminal 1, near Gate 3, inside security

 How do you approach your work?  Recently I have had commissions that   direct the concepts and content. When I am starting my own work I often begin with fabric…piles of fabric….until something stands out and begins the additive process of image/concept development. After some research, often a simple google search, ideas are refined and manipulated on my wall.   
 What is your creative process?  Sometimes work starts with color and pattern: Sometimes with a concept or word. I often do some research on a concept or word or image. After that my best process is as without thought as possible. Back to that “in the zone.” 
What tool could you not live without?                                                    
Sewing machine, fabric, dictionary or computer since google is now a resource, needle and thread, pencil and eraser.                    
 When did you first become interested in fiber? I’ve been working with fabric since I was a small child. My mother taught me to use the sewing machine when I was very small. We made my school clothes every year through high school. 
 Does California, as a locale, physically or an idea, emotionally, manifest itself in your work?  The clear sunny climate of Southern California appears in my usually preferred color palette-full intensity colors particularly red.  However, I spend a substantial amount of time in interior Alaska at various times of the year. I am drawn to the  subtlety of the color palette there. When I work with an artist friend there I find my palette shifting to grayer and more muted colors.

Chinook, art quilt, 2011. 19"h  x 41"w

        Why did you decide to become a member of California Fibers?           
       I’ve been a CF member since the late 80’s?  (I can’t find a resume with the date of my first  exhibit with CF. It was a show at the Pannikan in Encinitas.). Donna Joslyn who was CF membership chair then encouraged me to jury into the group. CF offered an opportunity to stretch my skills and ideas to art rather than womens clothing which was my focus at the time. I remain a member because that opportunity to stretch and grow continues.

September 30, 2011

Vanity on the Move

Humanity Series(Vanity) by California Fibers member Carol E. Lang  was shown in the Handweavers’ Guild of America’s “Small Expressions 2011” in Nashville at the Tennessee State Museum from June 4 through September 11, and then travels  to an exhibit at the Association of Michigan Basketmakers Convention in October.

July 29, 2011

California Fibers at Chain Letter

 Chain Letter, “an exponentially massive, artist-curated group show”  opened this month at Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station. Several California Fibers members joined in the fun. 
Gail Fraser, Carrie Burckle, Polly Jacobs Giacchina, Peggy Wiedemann, Cameron Taylor-Brown
Gail with her piece

Carrie's work

Peggy pointing to the two pieces by herself and Polly 

June 28, 2011


An occasional series, featuring an interview with one of our members. 

"Art expands lives, and you don"t have to like it", says Ellen Phillips, a founding member of California Fibers.

Tribal Woman - India(photo by Ellen Phillips)
What are the big ideas that influence your work?

Right now, in photography it is tribal costume, customs, dance, crafts, architecture.  Much of my work comes out of my history, family, World War II.  Themes of Passages: walls/barriers/boundaries/ bridging in sculpture and fiber carried me through the 80s and 90s. 
My public art in the 90s was tied to the place the work was going to be, its community and its history.  A different way of working but one I really enjoyed.  After I finished a large public work for the Dairy Mart Bridge which overlooks the Tijuana River Flood Plane, I felt many of my ideas lost their meaning in the process.  After that public art work I expected my sculpture work to return, but it didn't.  I started taking classes at Grossmont College in the spring of 2004 and have continued there off and on ever since.  I realized that my main art interest was photography - which went along with my other passions: family, the out of doors and traveling.  I was particularly  in backcountry tribal peoples of the world, their costumes, customs, architecture, and crafts.  I mostly optimize selected images, make books of them and frame prints.    
to see Ellen's Dairy Mart Bridge Public Art Work go to
Bridging #2, side view

What are some of the pleasures you get in your work? 
Watching it happen.  It's often a struggle to get it right - and some pieces never get there.  But the excitement of getting it right is wonderful.

What is your creative process and some of your creative challenges?
Artists have to work HARD!  Thinking, looking for ideas, developing a series of ideas, choosing one to start with and keep going. Also being open to pieces changing - and perhaps introducing new ideas and series.  Keeping going, staying open to new different ideas, keeping my energy up for all kinds of things - as well as for hiking the mountain.  Keeping the work going when there are so many things to do.  There is never enough time to do everything I want to do - along with the chores of life.
How do you view the artists of today?
I'm interested in ll kinds of art but I'm not looking as much as I used to.  Some of it doesn't look much like art, but I've learned those are the artists to watch most closely - I might learn something.  Art expands our lives - and you don't have to like it.

Bridging #2, mixed media

What is your biggest fear?

I have no fear now.  When I started back to school in art in 1974, I was scared stiff.  I went to Grossmont College to take a ceramics class.  I was already a potter so I took the second level class.  I figured I knew something about clay so they probably wouldn’t throw me out.  Les Lawrence had me making art by the end of that semester.  Before that class I made mostly useful objects.  My art piece looked pretty awful – but I knew the difference.  And he said go take all the drawing/painting/sculpture/art history/etc. classes you have never had.  It’s good for you!  So I did.  Scared to death.  And was lucky to have Marj Hyde, head of the Art Department, as my teacher in a Beginning Design class.  We started in charcoal. I had never heard of it.  What a mess.  But you learn – I had a great semester.  And then to drawing – not very good.  And painting – again with Marj a bit later. A fascinating class until we got to paint.  I couldn’t do a thing with paint.  But by the final, I had a lot of ideas that directly sprang from the painting projects – that I wanted to do instead of paint.  She asked me for 10 small mockups of ideas – and urged me on when she saw them – even though I told her I didn’t know where paint would come in.  She just said what I did would reflect all we had been doing that semester.  She was right.  And of  my 3 pieces for the final, only one
had paint – but those three started a 35 piece series, Canvas Is Material, that went on for years.  I was so lucky to have her.  My first show of those pieces at Spectrum Gallery was dedicated to Jane Chapman and Marj Hyde.

      It was scary when I joined my first gallery.  I showed ceramics (most of which sold and kept the gallery going), fiber and sculpture in different media.  But you learn there’s no point to fear.  You might as well try.  If you don’t succeed, try again. It was very liberating!  When I transferred to San Diego State University, it was a bit scary again – but by that time I was used to being a student, and I finally had some formal art background.  And I was doing my own work with my own ideas.  The sculpture department encouraged everything I wanted to do.  That’s why it was my major area, not fiber.  My master show – Walls/Barriers - was a sculptural installation - a good bit of handmade paper, several large twined metal pieces. wood,  light, plastic ladder forms with writings, quilt batting spiral with transparencies on hardware cloth, and built walls to lead the viewer through the seven areas. Plus heart beats, just audible. Huge amount of work but worth it!

Course I also think getting older also makes you realize there’s no point in fear.


Which artist do you most admire?

Magdalena Abakanowicz.  I discovered 
her work at a fiber show in Los Angeles in 1971-72.  Huge, wonderful, strong forms.  She came to the San Diego Museum of Art with the  curator of the Los Angeles show (I think) to have a conversation.  Her English was poor – but her friend, the curator, could translate.  It was an inspiring session for a newcomer to the field.  It started me looking at the wonderful fiber coming out of Europe, South America and Japan.  It was a very exciting time in fiber.  Magdalena was at the top.  I know she switched over to bronze to be recognized as a fine artist.  But for me, her bronze work (though based on her fiber forms) doesn't have the appeal her fiber sculpture did.

 When we traveled to Europe in 1972 (my husband had a 7 month sabbatical), we went through Yugoslavia (presently Croatia) and through the city where fiber artist Jagoda Buic lived.  I had her address. We found it on the map and stopped at 9:AM.  She wasn’t home, but her mother was.  She invited us in and served us Slivovitz (a liquor of some kind) and I looked at the work Jagoda had all over her apartment. What a treat!  Course her mom spoke no English and I spoke no Yugoslav – but you communicate with body language anyway.  I loved it!.  Our kids stayed in the car through all this. It was one of the highlights of a very highlight trip!  We didn’t get to Poland however.  But I hit every gallery and museum I could find in our seven months.  It sent me back to college - as an art major.    to see Abakanowicz's work go to

detail,  Wall of the Past
What about the fiber medium do you find appealing?

      In the beginning I liked the idea of working in/on fabric.  I had learned to sew in my teens and for many years I made many of my clothes and even learned how to tailor men’s jackets.  Money was tight and it helped!  I also learned how to knit and made sweaters and argyle socks for close friends.  And crochet.  But it was all patterns.  Jane Chapman taught us to “create”.   I remember my first day in class with my big needle threaded with yarn – poised over my piece of burlap – frozen – not knowing what to do – no pattern to help me.  Jane saw me and said “just begin, it doesn’t matter what you do – just begin”.  So I began.  

Passage #13
What tool could you not live without?
My Hands.

What is your motto?

June 9, 2011

Cameron Taylor-Brown: The Language of Fiber

   Detail from Red Offering/ Walking Monk at the Vertin Gallery, Calumet, MI

The work of Cameron Taylor-Brown will be featured at The Vertin Gallery's June show, "The Language of Fiber”, from June 3-29. This show coincides with "Northern Wefts," the 2011 Midwest Weavers' Conference taking place in Hancock, Michigan from June 19-26. Cameron will be teaching three workshops at the conference.  

March 2, 2011


On the afternoon of the Oscars, several artists and teachers gathered in the ARTSgarage in Cameron Taylor-Brown's studio for our first peer-to-peer createIT session. What an interesting group of people, and of course all left with swag bags given this is Hollywood!  Here is fellow CA Fibers member Carrie Burkle diving into a pile of fibers to create a color study.  ARTSgarage has been a year in the making, and includes a reference library available by appointment.

January 31, 2011

Peggy Weidemann

                                                             "Opposites Attract"  by Peggy Weidemann
“32nd Annual Contemporary Crafts”, Mesa Contemporary Arts, Mesa, Arizona, January 21 to March 6, 2011
New work also at:
“Inside Outside”, GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, Reading, Pennsylvania, May 13 to June 19, 2011

“Materials: Hard & Soft” Greater Denton Arts Council, Denton, Texas, Feb. 4 to April 3, 2011-Award Winner

January 28, 2011

VALYA at ZEH gallery

VALYA had a solo show at ZEH gallery in Kyiv, Ukraine this winter.
This is felt art. The size of BABA is 6.2' X 5.8'

January 27, 2011

Valya's Garment debuts at TNNA!

Cameron Taylor-Brown recently attended the National Needlework Association Trade show, and people stopped her in the aisles to touch this beautiful garment by California Fibers member Valya Royenko!


Polly Jacobs Giacchina
Commisssion: installed January 2011-Kaiser medical building, Vista California
"Swaying In Unison"-date palm, painted canvas H:33"xW:67"xD:5"