Deborah Valoma is the Chair of the Textiles Program and Associate Professor of Textiles and Graduate Fine Arts at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco and Oakland, CA, where she teaches studio classes, graduate seminars, and art history courses. Deborah has also been appointed to a one-year position as Special Assistant to the Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and Studio Assessment.
In 1978, Deborah Valoma graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. In 1995, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in Textiles with High Distinction from CCA. Deborah has dedicated her artistic and academic career to the medium of textiles—to advancing its historical legacy, cultural meanings, and artistic potential.
From 2008 to 2011, Deborah served as the CCA Director of Fine Arts and oversaw twelve fine arts undergraduate programs (Animation, Ceramics, Community Arts, Film, Glass, Individualize, Jewelry/Metal Arts, Painting/Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Textiles) and one Graduate Fine Arts Program. During her three-year term as director, she develeoped new craft curriculum and organized the Craft Forward Symposium that brought together craft theorists, artists, designers, scholars, and scientists to discuss craft in relation to embodied knowledge and social activism.
Deborah Valoma's specialized field of research, writing, and teaching is the cultural history of textiles as a global technology and pervasive aesthetic practice. In addition to teaching a comprehensive of courses on the textile theory and history, Deborah has written articles including "Cloth and African Identity in Bahia, Brazil," published by Berg Enclopedia of World Dress and Fashion and "The Imermanent Made Permanent: Textiles, Pattern and the Migration of a Meduim," published by Fiberarts. In 2010, Deborah edited and wrote the introductory essay for a special issue of Textile: Journal of Cloth and Culture on the topic of dust. Most recently, she completed a book on the preeminent Native American weaver in California, entitled Scrape the Willow Until it Sings: The Words and Work of Basket Maker Julia Parker and published by HeyDay in 2013.
Also a studio artist, Deborah explores the material, historical, conceptual, and poetic nuances of the medium through a hybrid practice incorporating both digital weaving technologies and traditional hand processes. Deborah's work has been exhibited at galleries and museums, including the de Young Museum, San Francisco; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Textile Museum, Washington, D.C. In the last several years, the artist has resumed her career in design, producing costuems for several dance companies in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 2011, Deborah was an artist-in-residence at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR in conjunction with "Weaving, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," a retrospective exhibition of the work of Laurie Herrick curated by Namita Gupta Wiggers. Her piece, Longing, took the form of an installation, performance, and video that integrated the sensual, spatial, and rhythmic dynamics of weaving and dance. Deborah collaborated with choreographer Victor Alexander of Chicago, Il to produce an on-stage, fully-choreographed iteration of the project entitled Line of Sighs.
A commitment to supporting arts in the community and to preserving traditional artistic practices has led Deborah to collaborate with art professionals on a series of community-based projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. Beginning in 1996, she served on a founding board of directors of the Julia Morgan School for Girls, where she helped to articulate and develop an integrated curriculum with the arts at its core. For several years, she served on the board of directors of Brasarte, a non-profit organization dedicated to cross-cultural exchange between Brazil and the United States. Subsequently, Deborah was a member of the board of directors of CubaCaribe, an organization with the mission to preserve and promote the artistic heritage of Cuba.
Deborah Valoma was primarily raised in Berkeley, California. In the late 1950s and early 1960s she lived in Jerusalem, Israel where her father was first studying at the Hebrew University and then director of an archeological excavation the Negev Desert. In the 1970s she moved again to Israel for a period of five years and lived in Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, and Tel Aviv, where she apprenticed with artist and clothing designer, Jenifer Bar-Lev. In the 1980s she moved back to the United States and lived in New York City, where she studied clothing design at Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology. In 1983, she moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area, and opened a design studio, making and exhibiting one-of-a-kind fashions.
In 1995, Valoma completed her graduate studies under the mentorship of Lia Cook at the California College of Arts and Crafts. The same year she received her MFA, she was hired to teach the series of courses on textile history, and she has gone on to develop curriculum on the history and theory of textiles both on the undergradaute and graduate level.