Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim was awarded the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) National Heritage Fellowship in 2018 for her artistic excellence and contributions to Palestinian embroidery education in the United States. She was born in Safad, a northern city in Palestine, and fled with her family during the 1947-48 war, living and then teaching in refugee camps in Jordan for decades before immigrating to the United States where she now lives in Milwaukie, Oregon. As a member of the Palestinian diaspora, Mrs. Abbasi-Ghnaim has dedicated her life’s work to educating and teaching young generations of Palestinians about their heritage that they missed due to the diaspora, away from their homeland. She leads workshops and classes at all educational levels in public schools in Beaverton, Milwaukie, Gresham, and Portland, and is a four-time grant recipient of the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program through the Oregon Folklife Network.
Wafa Ghnaim is an American-born Palestinian businesswoman, writer, and artist. Wafa began learning Palestinian embroidery from her mother when she was two years old. Throughout her life, Wafa traveled alongside her mother for various exhibitions, lectures and demonstrations around the United States. In 2018 she published Tatreez and Tea, a book about Palestinian embroidery and its cultural meaning, that has grown into an initiative providing ongoing arts education programming on Palestinian embroidery across the United States and Canada. She was also awarded a 2018 New York State Council on the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts Artist Fellowship in the folk arts discipline. Wafa teaches various curricula that is centered on traditional Palestinian cross-stitch embroidery in order to keep the traditional art alive in the Palestinian diaspora. She currently resides in Washington, D.C.
Presentations: Examining Textile Heritages
I am Francisco Bautista, a fourth generation Master Weaver in my family. My wife, Laura, and I were born in Teotitlan del Valle, a Zapotec village in Oaxaca, Mexico. In 2003 we moved to Sandy, Oregon. We have always been fascinated by the infinite possibilities of crossing threads. We use only hand-spun, hand-dyed wool, and weave each of our works on a foot pedal loom. The vibrant colors you see in our weavings come from our own natural and aniline dyes. Together we work to ensure that the quality achieved by the Master Weavers of old will continue to live on in each piece we weave.
Our greatest inspiration comes from the exquisite beauty of Zapotec and Navajo art. The intricate geometric patterns of the traditional weaves, rich with symbolism, illustrate our relationship between the natural world, and that which exists beyond ourselves. You will see many of these traditional designs among our works, which we proudly produce with the same time-honored techniques that Master Weavers have used for centuries. Yet even when honoring the ancient ways, we must never forget that weaving is more than a museum piece―it continues to grow with each generation as a living art, combining tradition with new expressions of color, imagery, and symbolism.
Harlem native Adriene Cruz creates brilliantly colored fabric art embellished in rhythmic improvisational arrangements of spiritual beauty. Fabric, cowrie shells, mirrors, sequins, beads, tribal silver, even beetle wings and fragrant herbs are among the endless adornments and amulets in Adriene’s artistic alchemy. Her creative vision has garnered invitations to create public art in Portland. Often engaging community youth, Adriene has created street banners, murals, decorative trash bins, and a billboard. She was invited to design one of Portland’s Light Rail stations, collaborating on colorful glass mosaic, steel railings, and concrete benches reflecting Ashanti culture. “Stone quilts” embedded in the paving also adorn the platform of Killingsworth Station on North Interstate.
Adriene has exhibited internationally in Brazil, Costa Rica, and South Africa. Nationally her work has exhibited at the Smithsonian in D.C., The Folk Art Museum, NY, American Craft Museum, NY, Museum of Biblical Art, NY, The Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, The National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, and the Fowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA, to name a few. She is a Bonnie Bronson Fellow and her work is included in collections at the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, Hartsfield International Airport, Atlanta GA, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Portland Community College, Reed College, and numerous private collections. Adriene attended the High School of Art and Design and received a BFA from the School of Visual Art in New York City.
Sonja Dahl is an artist, writer, and Research Associate/Instructor in the Department of Art at the University of Oregon, Eugene. Her work explores the cultural, economic, historic, and metaphoric aspects of how textiles and textile processes live within and reflect the values of human societies. Recent work includes analysis of the colonial history and contemporary trending of indigo dye in the United States, an ongoing project using historic whitework textiles to discuss the cultural constructs of whiteness, and a new project using pioneer era quilt motifs to examine settler-colonial culture in Oregon. In 2012 she began a period of arts research in Indonesia supported by the Fulbright Foundation and Asian Cultural Council, which grew into a series of projects and collaborations in the years since. Sonja received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2012. Her artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and her writing is published in both peer-reviewed journals and print-based and online arts publications. Her work can be viewed at www.sonjakdahl.com
Krista Anara Cibis
Krista Anara Cibis is an artist/scholar based in Portland, Oregon. Her work is centered on observation of communication and culture. Materials and techniques are important aspects of the works. The materials range from textile, organic, synthetic, or found objects. The medium and technique, whether hand-sewing or documentary-style photography, reinforces the meaning in her work. She draws on her research background, extensive international travel, and lived experiences. Her newer works are inquiry-led projects with exploration of materials and dimensional. She chooses to use traditionally feminine materials (such as textile and hand sewing) in the world of contemporary art where the line between what is called craft and what is called fine art can be as thin as a needle and thread. She is a Textile Hive artist-in-residence and PNCA graduate student pursuing a double MFA in Visual Studies and Critical Theory.
Panel discussion: Textiles Now–Continuity and Disruption
Jovencio de la Paz
Jovencio de la Paz received a Master of Fine Art in Fibers from the Cranbrook Academy of Art (2012) and a Bachelor of Fine Art with an emphasis on Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2008). His work explores the intersection of textile processes such as weaving, dye, and stitch-work as they relate to broader concerns of language, histories of colonization, migrancy, ancient technology, and speculative futures. Interested in the ways transience and ephemerality are embodied in material, de la Paz looks to how knowledge and experiences are transmitted through society in space and time, whether semiotically by language or haptically by made things. He is currently Assistant Professor and Curricular Head of Fibers at the University of Oregon. He has exhibited work in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally, most recently at Vacation in New York, New York; The 2019 Portland Biennial at Disjecta in Portland, OR; The Museum of Craft and Folk-art in Los Angeles, California; The Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Colorado; Seoul Arts Center, Seoul, South Korea; Ditch Projects, Springfield, OR; The Art Gym, Marylhusrt, OR; ThreeWalls, Chicago, IL; The Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, OR.
Alison Heryer is costume designer for live performance, film, and print media. She is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829, the union and professional association of the leading artists working in theater, opera, ballet, film, and television. Her design credits include productions at Steppenwolf Theater, 59E59 Theater, The New Victory Theatre, Gertrude Opera, Portland Center Stage, Portland Opera, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, ZACH Theatre, Artist Repertory Theater, The Hypocrites, Redmoon Theater, and La MaMa. Her costume and performance work has been exhibited the SXSW Film Festival, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, the Prague Quadrennial of Design and Space, and the World Stage Design Exhibition. She holds degrees in Fashion Design and History from Washington University in St. Louis and a MFA in Costume Design from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2016, Heryer joined the faculty of Portland State University’s School of Art + Design where she teaches textile related processes for applications in costume, fashion, and contemporary art.
Tricia has over eighteen years of experience designing for prestigious fashion companies worldwide, including Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. Projects include work featured at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum NYC and a hand-painted designer gown for Celine Dion for her performance at the Grammys. She is co-founder and owner of a successful international print design studio, while concurrently an adjunct instructor at the Portland Fashion Institute. Tricia was the creative director for a limited-edition Batik collection for Pendleton which was part of their guest artist series. This year Tricia started working as an United Nations representative and researcher for the NGO Hecho Por Nosotros, an Argentinian based sustainable fashion platform, which has consultative status at the UN. Tricia also works as a volunteer for the Ghana Fashion Board in West Africa and facilitator and mentor for the Links/Portland Art Museum’s Arts Scholarship for female students of color. Tricia is currently working on a book called The Art of Batik.
Sara Tatyana Bernstein
Sara Tatyana Bernstein, PhD writes about and teaches critical fashion and cultural studies. Her bylines include Vox, The Outline, BuzzFeed Reader, and Catapult. Her academic writing has appeared in Fashion, Style and Popular Culture Journal, Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty, Dress, and in several edited collections of scholarly essays. She teaches in the new Fashion Minor at Pacific Northwest College of Art and is the co-founder of Dismantle Magazine: Fashion, Popular Culture, Social Change.
Ophir El-Boher is a fashion designer who focuses on the ecological and social aspects of apparel. She explores ways to create ethical and sustainable models for fashion through upcycling and social empowerment. Her art practice includes recovering used fabric, exploring the value of clothing in the human experience, teaching workshops that help everyday people sew their own clothes, and exhibiting at fashion shows. She believes that if done correctly, fashion can inspire and lead to positive change. She holds a B.Ed. in Interdisciplinary Design from Kibbutzim College, Tel-Aviv and recently graduated from PNCA with an MFA in Collaborative Design. She is also the curator of the Textile Connections symposium exhibit.