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
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
Download Consuelo Jiménez
Underwood - Tortillas
See more of Consuelo’s work at consuelojunderwood.com.
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 lasmadresproject.org.
VIC DE LA ROSA
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
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 vicdelarosa.com.
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.