Unraveling Borders, Weaving Networks
WARP’s Annual Meeting brings textile enthusiasts together for education, fellowship, and networking.
2021 Online Conference Presenters
Keynote Speaker: Yasmine Dabbous
Yasmine Dabbous is a visual culture artist and researcher from Beirut, Lebanon. Formerly an assistant professor of journalism and cultural studies at the Lebanese American University, Dabbous left her position to become the founder of Kinship Stories, a line of tribal art necklaces revolving around values, stories and craftsmanship. She is also one of the two women behind Espace Fann, a Beirut-based creative space offering accessible university-level art education designed to heal and empower.
Armed with a PhD in journalism and cultural history from LSU and a textile design degree from FIT, Dabbous fuses interdisciplinary methodologies and mediums to create works combining travel, storytelling, collage and fiber art. Her work materializes in exhibitions, where she sheds light on socio-cultural and conceptual issues of pertinence to our contemporary, globalized communities.
In her presentation, Dabbous will address the connections woven through fiber art, and spanning cultures and continents. Fusing her own experience and her artwork with her research, she will demonstrate how textiles bring people together on many levels.
Hands Off Hands On – Teaching Textiles in Times of COVID
Teaching any hands-on medium has its challenges in the best of times, and over the past year this challenge became particularly acute. Several W.A.R.P. members who are educators will share their varied experiences and discuss how their teaching has been has affected – both during the pandemic and as we re-open and resume our post-COVID lives. The speakers on this panel represent many facets of the education sphere, all with a particular focus on textiles.
Smitten by small looms and big plans, Liz Gipson is a writer, weaver, and teacher. Liz hosts Yarnworker, a popular site for rigid-heddle weavers, and the associated Yarnworker School, an online, community-funded classroom. She teaches in person and online workshops in a variety of settings including craft schools, yarn shops, fiber festivals, universities, and community centers and has published numerous books on rigid-heddle weaving. A lifelong learner, Liz has a mixed relationship with traditional education formats, she is a high school dropout, a college graduate, and a graduate school dropout. Her formal educational training is in social economics, wool science, video production, and adult education, but much of what she knows comes from the school of life.
Kelly Moe-Rossetto is a K-8 art teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools, where she works to create a culturally inclusive curriculum rooted in social justice and global art. Kelly has taught in France, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Italy as well as attending classes and art workshops in Italy, Sweden, India, Peru and Guatemala. Her Master’s thesis, Crafting a New Community: An Inquiry into the Role Tradition, Education, and Folk Arts Can Plan in Creating Culturally Inclusive Spaces, takes a close look at the way we can explore issues of history, place and community through the artistic traditions.
Kat Simmons has her M.A. and M.F.A. in Textiles and has spent a large portion of her time focusing on the creation of textiles whether it is by hand or using the latest technology. It was transformative for her career that she spent years making trips to Peru and Bolivia volunteering and interning with local spinners, dyers, and weavers to better understand their techniques. This inspired her to become a Master Spinner in Canada and teach the spinning of yarn. She is currently the Associate Director of the TechStyleLAB and teaches Fashion Fabrics and Fashion Visuals at Kent State University. Her personal work focuses on using digital textile printing on silk organza that looks at gender and identity.
Cameron Taylor-Brown was introduced to textiles by artist Ed Rossbach at the University of California, Berkeley. She studied textile design at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, where she subsequently taught design and weaving. Since1985, she has lived in Los Angeles where she is active in arts and education, and runs ARTSgarage, a textile resource center. Her work is widely exhibited and has been featured in Fiber Art Now, American Craft, Handwoven, Heddlecraft and Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot. Cameron teaches workshops at ARTSgarage and at schools, guilds, museums and conferences throughout the United States and Canada. She is a past president of California Fibers and serves on the advisory boards of the Fowler Textile Council and Textile Arts Los Angeles. In 2019, she curated the critically acclaimed exhibit Material Meaning: A Living Legacy of Anni Albers at the Craft in America Center in Los Angeles.
Mini Presentation by Christine Eber: Weaving for Justice
Christine Eber is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at New Mexico State University. Since the 1980s her work has focused on women and their families in Maya communities of Chiapas, Mexico. She is founding member of Weaving for Justice, a volunteer group that assists Maya weaving cooperatives in Chiapas to sell their products through fair trade. She also volunteers with refugees and asylum seekers in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Her most recent novel focuses on the human rights crisis on the border in 2019. Her first novel, When a Woman Rises, explores the friendship between two Maya women in Chiapas, one of whom is a weaver. This novel was recently released in Spanish (Cuando una mujer se levanta).
The Deeper Meaning of Cloth
Textiles have deep historical and cultural roots. Starting with a brief slide presentation by each of three WARP member contemporary artists, this panel includes a discussion among these artists whose appreciation for history and its meaning has led them to choose fiber for both their artistic and social practice. Using the textile medium innovatively, they address social issues while seeking to promote thoughtful dialogue about the critical questions of our times. The panel discussion will be moderated by Judy Newland.
Maggie Leininger currently is the Director and Curator of Peeler Art Center at DePauw University. In addition to her curatorial duties, Leininger is launching a communal arts space in Greencastle, IN that will foster community engagement through creative processes including textile-based practices. Previously, Leininger oversaw programming at University of Louisville related to the International Honor Quilt, a community-engaged companion work to Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party. Previous academic service include teaching at Arizona State University, and Roosevelt University. Specializing in community engagement utilizing textile-based techniques, Leininger has been awarded numerous grants, fellowships, and artist residencies.
Adrienne Sloane‘s sculptural fiber work addresses timely but universal issues while remaining mindful of the rich historical context of this medium. Sloane has exhibited and taught internationally and has also worked for NGO’s with indigenous knitters in Bolivia and Peru. Sloane’s work has won awards and has been published widely. She has work in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Fuller Craft Museum, the Goldstein Museum of Design, The Kamm Collection and The American Textile History Museum as well as private collections.
Wendy Weiss weaves warp ikat panels and three-dimensional spaces in which viewers interact. She collaborates with Jay Kreimer to create interactive sound environments, sculpture, and projected images. Natural dyes sourced directly from her garden are her primary dyes for her cotton, wool and silk weavings. She was awarded two Fulbright Nehru Senior Scholar Awards, to document ikat textiles from an artist’s perspective in India, and is past recipient of two Nebraska Arts Council Artist Fellowships, and a Winterthur Residential Fellowship. She exhibits in solo and group shows in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Judy Newland is retired faculty in museum anthropology at Arizona State University and served as the Director for the ASU Museum of Anthropology. She has worked in the museum field for over 20 years at a variety of university museums, creating more than 100 exhibitions with the help of her students. She taught graduate seminars including Exhibit Design and Development, Material Culture and the Anthropology of Art. Judy received advanced degrees from the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is a practicing natural dyer and weaver and her research includes archaeological textile fieldwork in Peru and indigo dye processes and cultural practices around the world. She has a special interest in weaving in the Southwest.
Fibersheds: Connecting Farmers, Artisans and Consumers to Grow Regional Economies
Almost a decade ago, weaver and natural dyer Rebecca Burgess developed a project focused on wearing clothing made from fiber grown, woven, and sewn within her bioregion of North Central California. About the same time, WARP member Judi Jetson developed a similar project connecting farmers and fiber artists in Western North Carolina in order to grow a new regional textile economy. Dozens of regional “fibershed” groups have sprung up around the US and in several other countries, all sharing this vision of helping independent local producers and artisans connect with manufacturers and consumers who want more sustainable clothing. Panelists will tell the stories of how their projects got started, what they’re currently doing, and where they hope to go from here.
Three Rivers Fibershed – Maddy Bartsch is an artist, plant-based dye grower, educator and organizer of decentralized textile economies based in Minneapolis, MN. She is a co-founder and Co-President of the Three Rivers Fibershed. Maddy was project manager for the Minnesota Hemp Wool Project and the Three Rivers Fibershed Regional Fiber Sourcebook. She will speak about her communities One Year One Outfit project and the use of the Regional Fiber Sourcebook to aid in community education.
Montana Fibershed – LaVonne Stucky is a farmer and mill owner who helped found the Montana Fibershed. She and her husband Chris live and work on 40 acres of family land they purchased in 1985 from his parents in the Gallatin Valley near Bozeman and also operate Serenity Sheep Farm Stay, renting out antique sheep wagons to guests who come from all over the world. One of the newest Fibersheds, the Montana group started by creating an online directory and is planning a fashion show for October of 2021.
Local Cloth – Judi Jetson is a fiber activist with a community economic development focus. She worked for the Council of State Governments, Southern Legislative Conference, the US Small Business Administration and HandMade in America organizing asset-based community economic development projects. She is one of the founders and current chairman of Local Cloth, a membership organization which started by holding exhibits and fashion shows, connecting farmers with artisans, offering workshops and classes, and most recently launched an online marketplace ShopLocalCloth.org
Mini Presentation by Marilyn Romatka: Interlacements
Cloth surrounds us from cradle to grave and we usually don’t give it much thought at all. Hand-woven cloth, however, elevates fabric beyond the mundane into the realm of folk art. “Interlacements: Threads & Lives” tells five diverse stories in which the woven pieces of art took on special significance and led to relation- ships between people. Stories in which people were touched by cloth, not only physically but emotionally, even spiritually….stories about relationship through cloth. Marilyn Romatka has the best job in the world; she travels to various countries gathering folk art techniques and then returns to the US to teach enthusiastic students! Her passion is getting the traditional skills into the hands of the next generation. During this short presentation, Marilyn will share a bit about the film and screen the trailer.
Alice Brown Memorial Scholarship Presentations
Daniela Pedrosa is a fashion design graduate at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), where she began her studies on hand weaving and since then has continued to research these practices as an artistic and educational support. She is part of the Studiolo’s research group at UFMG, in which Art, Textile and Textile Conservation are fundamental. She currently lives in Belo Horizonte, studying for a degree in Fine Arts at the State University of Minas Gerais. She works part time as a storyteller for elementary school children in a Public School and as a researcher and textile artist in her studio. She looks for weaving as a guiding thread in her artistic activities, in the moments of learning at school and in her training as a teacher.
João Marcos Lisboa da Rocha is from Brazil, and is student of Fine Arts at the Guignard Arts School of the State University of Minas Gerais UEMG, graduated in Fashion Design from the School of Fine Arts of the Federal University of Minas Gerais UFMG. He is a researcher at the research group STUDIOLO: Group dedicated to research related to ornate space for research related to ornament, following its development in the Arts throughout humanity. He dedicates himself to the studies, practices, and creation of artistic and wearable textiles, he tries to use organic fibers and natural dyes with regional materials, having as creative support weaving and manual techniques, thinking in the contemporary and ancestral context through expressive means in dialogue with memories and experiences. He reflects the place of memories, both those of childhood, experiences in the countryside and cities, as well as the ancestral and cultural memories present in handicrafts such as the act of working fibers and dyeing with natural materials from the region loaded with knowledge popular, and through of weaving, telling stories and saving memories.
The Brazilian fiber artist Sophia Zorzi grew up in a region surrounded by a very diverse biome with beautiful fauna and flora, the Atlantic Forest, which built her imagination and the poetics behind her work. She is an undergraduate student in Fashion Design at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, and there she dedicates her practices in textile creation – as natural dyeing, weaving, and wearables. She is fascinated by art’s history/theory and the varieties of culture’s manifestation, and for this reason, she engages her studies in the impression and survival of image’s through Time. She now acts as a scholarship holder at the Drawing Department, working as a student tutoring in Textile Technology under the supervision of Professor Soraya Coppola (Ph.D. in Arts).
Omar Chávez Santiago was born in Teotitlan del Valle in Oaxaca, Mexico to a family of master textile weavers. He is the fourth generation of weavers in his family. At age 8 Omar learned how to weave and wove his first rug. Omar’s weaving work is focused on his freedom and creativity to blend colors and shapes. Freedom and innovation are two essentials in Omar’s creative process. Omar is involved in each of the processes of his rug making, from dyeing the wool yarn, using natural dyes and respecting each season of the sources he uses, to designing his rugs and weaving them. His ideas are developed without having a sketch on paper, since he is supported by the dynamic of his life experiences and feelings reflected in his weaving. Omar has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the Universidad Anahuac, Oaxaca. As an engineer Omar is very meticulous in his process of dyeing and weaving. Omar’s philosophy is simple: create rug collections with the highest quality and innovation and keep up with his textile tradition. Each rug is carefully thought to bring joy and freedom to whoever owns one. Through the warp and weft Omar seeks to inspire the creation of new possibilities and shapes, not only in weaving but in how we see and make life.
Mini Presentation by Sharon Donnan: Acadian Brown Cotton
The Acadian Brown Cotton, “Coton jaune” documentary explores the history of natural brown cotton in Southwest Louisiana and examines its origins and use among the people of Acadiana. Spinning and weaving were an integral part of daily life in rural Louisiana through the end of the 19th century. Filmmaker Sharon Donnan is with Acadiana Fibershed of southwestern Louisiana, which encourages the growing of heirloom brown cotton to support a local sustainable fashion industry. Sharon will give a brief presentation introducing the film and we will screen the trailer. The full feature film and also the natural brown cotton can be purchased on the Acadian Brown Cotton Website.
Cultural Appropriation: Where do we go from here?
Within Indigenous cultures, unique textile designs hold specific and sometimes sacred meanings. However their significance may be diluted, lost, or misunderstood by being increasingly co-opted by fashion designers, manufacturers as well as institutions and individuals. How do we go about opposing and limiting appropriation while educating others about the difference between “inspired by” and “appropriation”? This panel discussion will address these complex issues and questions to think about how to give proper credit to the owners of designs.
Tara Gujadhur co-founded the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) in Luang Prabang in 2006. TAEC is a museum and cultural heritage social enterprise dedicated to celebrating cultural diversity in Laos. As Co-Director of TAEC, Tara now guides the centre’s research, exhibitions, and strategic development, among other responsibilities. For the past 10 years, TAEC has been closely working with the Oma Community in Laos on intangible cultural heritage promotion, preservation, and now following the Oma design plagiarism incident by Italian fashion company MaxMara, on advocacy for legal protection of cultural intellectual property.
Navajo tapestry weaver Lynda Teller Pete was born into the Tábąąhá (Water Edge Clan) and born for the Tó’aheedlíinii (Two Waters Flow Together Clan). Originally from the Two Grey Hills, Newcomb, NM areas of the Navajo Nation. She lives in Denver with her husband Belvin Pete. Weaving is a legacy in the Teller family. For over seven generations, her family has produced award-winning rugs in the traditional Two Grey Hills regional style. Along with her weaving, Lynda is collaborating with fiber art centers, museums, universities, fiber guilds and other art venues to educate the public about Navajo history and the preservation of Navajo weaving traditions. Lynda and her sister Barbara wrote Spider Woman’s Children, Navajo Weavers Today “and “How To Weave a Navajo Rug and Other Lessons from Spider Woman” and are internationally well known weaving teachers.
Barbara Jean Teller Ornelas is a fifth-generation Master Navajo Weaver and culture bearer, raised near the famed Two Grey Hills Trading Post on the Navajo Nation. When Teller Ornelas was ten, her paternal grandmother dreamt that she would become a great weaver who shared their traditions around the world. Fifty-six years later, Teller Ornelas has not only honed her artistry as a Two Grey Hills weaver but shared it with audiences internationally in the form of workshops, lectures, and exhibitions. Her designs reference both her matrilineal traditions and lived experience. As a teacher, she has shared her knowledge with students from Arizona, to Peru, to Uzbekistan, building solidarity with other indigenous peoples. Today, her mission is to connect Navajo people in her own cultural ecosystem with their heritage by passing on this crucial ancestral knowledge and nurturing new generations of Navajo weavers. Please find more about Lynda Teller Pete and Barbara Jean Teller Ornelas online here.
This panel’s moderator, Addison Nace, is currently a PhD student in the Design Studies Department at the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on cross cultural interactions through textiles and the boundaries of cultural appropriation or appreciation. Her work investigates relationships between makers, designers, museums, and global markets, and aims to strategize how to decolonize these spaces. Addison has worked with Cooperativa Mujeres Sembrando la Vida, a Tzotzil Mayan cooperative based in Zinacantán, Chiapas, Mexico since 2016. Addison also serves on the board of Natik, which works with Cooperativa Mujeres Sembrando la Vida and other grassroots organizations in Mexico and Guatemala.
Mini Presentation by Nancy Feldman: Shipibo
This mini presentation features a brief introduction by Dr. Feldman and the documentary trailer to Shipibo: Movie of our Memories. Filmed in Peru’s remote Amazon, this movie features commentary by Shipibo-Conibo community members on their first viewing of filmed images of their ancestors as well as their 21st c. cultural practices. The trailer features filmed images of both contemporary and 1950s Shipibo textile practices.
Nancy Feldman is an art historian whose work engages with textile histories and makers, and explores the foundational significance of place, materials, and processes of making. Associate Professor, Adjunct in the Art History Department at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, she also serves as Supervisor for the SAIC Textile Resource Center in the Department of Fiber and Material Studies. She co-directed and produced the Amazonian documentary, Shipibo: Movie of our Memories, a MacArthur Foundation supported film. She holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Chicago and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute.
Beyond the Buzzword: ‘Sustainability’ meets Artisanship
“Sustainability” is gaining attention with consumers and organizations as society moves toward values of social fairness, and to protecting our environment. This panel explores elements of sustainability through the lens of textile practitioners and educators. What are the opportunities for artisanship to play a leading role in the development of sustainable and ethical textiles for garments and interiors? What are the challenges in developing brands and businesses with a sustainability focus?
Maheen Khan is the founder President of the Fashion Design Council of Bangladesh. She received a A Bachelor of Fine Arts from Otis Parsons School of Art and Design with a major in surface pattern design for the fashion and interior design industry. She is pioneer designer who started her career with Aarong a social enterprise of BRAC in 1986. She has worked with skill development and income generation of rural artisans for over 36 years. Her design interventions revived age old crafts with functional modern aesthetics. Her work I was truly multifaceted and addressed a wide range of products jewellery, terracotta, leather, jute, metal crafts, printing, embroidery and hand loom. Today as the owner and designer of Studio Mayasir, she continues to work with traditional textile techniques that promotes local expertise. With fashion produced ethically and with sustainable goals she would like to take her local ideas global, and in doing so she wants to partner with local artisans for all her design activities.
Laura Rana was inspired to start Khushi Kantha (‘Happy Blanket’) by the birth of her half-British, half-Bangladeshi twin daughters and her long-standing dream to use everything she’s learned from twelve years of working in the international development and humanitarian sectors in Bangladesh, to create opportunities for other mothers to provide for their children with dignity. Khushi Kantha creates sustainable, multi-purpose baby blankets, hand-stitched from reclaimed and ethically-sourced cotton and embroidered with empowerment by mothers in Bangladesh. Operating as a social enterprise, Khushi Kantha is reworking the Bengali kantha tradition of repurposing old cotton saris into ultra-soft, multi-layered blankets to meet global hygiene and safety standards while retaining the principles of ‘reclaim-repurpose-reuse’ and bringing the rich handmade textiles heritage of Bangladesh to a wider audience.
This panel’s moderator, Cathy Stevulak is a filmmaker and international program consultant. Her interest in textiles and the advancement of artisan enterprise, particularly in South Asia, led her to direct and produce the award-winning film, THREADS. Stevulak’s interest in sustainable fashion and human development stems from a young age when she and her mother upcycled and made clothing. Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Stevulak lived around the world while working with the United Nations Development Program in Bangladesh, the Canadian International Development Agency, NATO and CARE.