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Fiberarts - Summer 2008
Summer 2008

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Sampling: Textiles Inspired by Tradition
Hear Consuelo Jiménez Underwood, Valarie James, and Vic De La Rosa talk about their work “at the Border.”
U. K. Travel Recommendations beyond London
Updated Textile Tours
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Artists at the Border

Our Summer 2008 issue includes a dialogue among three artists whose work addresses the topic of the United States–Mexico border: Consuelo Jiménez Underwood, Valarie James, and Vic De La Rosa. In the article, these artists discuss what called them to this subject matter, how they draw upon textile traditions in their work, and whether they see their work as artistic expression or social statement. Here, we present a few audio clips of the artists talking about their work.


Consuelo Jiménez Underwood,
3 Tortillas, Tortilla Cloth, and Basket: (with detail of cloth), 2006; Tortilla: dyed, sewn corn husks; 50" diameter. Basket: woven reed; 28" x 60" diameter. Tortilla cloth: embroidered, embellished silk; 10' x 10'. Photos: Ron Bolander.

Consuelo Jiménez Underwood, a professor of art at San Jose State University in California, is well known for her textile and installation work. In this recording, she talks about how textiles serve as the voice of the indigenous woman from many cultures, how the attitude of academia toward textiles in the 1970s influenced her choice to work in textiles, and why she was inspired to do an art project involving tortillas.

Download Consuelo Jiménez Underwood - Tortillas

See more of Consuelo’s work at


Valarie James, Las Madres (detail). In the summer of 2006, due to exposure to the elements, Las Madres began to weep tears of resin and beeswax, the natural encaustic sealer the fabric had been dipped in and painted with. Photo by the artist.

Sculptor and educator Valarie James is the lead artist in a collaborative art project, The Mothers; Las Madres, a memorial to the estimated 3,000+ people who have died in the last decade crossing the Sonoran desert to the United States.

In this recording, James talks about her instinct to use natural and found materials. She talks about the found textiles she incorporated into Las Madres, her search for a natural sealant for her fiber sculptures, and how the breakdown of the fibers in the sculpture over time became rich in meaning. She concludes with some words that inspired her from fiber-art pioneer Magdalena Abakanowicz.

Download Valarie James - Las Madres

See more of the Las Madres project at


Vic De La Rosa, Jump 6 (with detail), 2008; filling yarns of various fiber content on cotton warp; Jacquard power loom; 82" x 54". Photos: Vic De La Rosa.

Vic De La Rosa is an assistant professor in the art department of San Francisco State University. His border-inspired work has extended from jacquard weaving to digital printing and digital animation.

In this clip, Vic talks about how he integrated the border topic into his work in textiles. Download Vic De La Rosa Clip 1

In this clip, Vic talks about his Jump series, which incorporates repeated images of people climbing border fences. Download Vic De La Rosa Clip 2

In this clip, Vic talks about his creative process, from visual research to the Jacquard loom. He’s been using a power loom at Rhode Island School of Design (he went to grad school at RISD and teaches there in the summers). Download Vic De La Rosa Clip 3

See more of Vic’s work at

Check out the Summer 2008 issue of Fiberarts for more dialogue on this topic: De La Rosa, Underwood, and James compare notes on their backgrounds, perspectives toward the border, and the role of artists in speaking about the topic.


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