Deborah Valoma is an artist, professor, and chair of the Textiles Programs at California College of the Arts, where her specialized field of research, writing, and teaching investigates the role of textiles as signifiers of identity and agents of cultural continuity. She has developed a comprehensive series of graduate and undergraduate courses investigating textile history and theory through multiple lenses including colonization, cultural appropriation, and gender- and race-based hierarchies of value. Deborah has written articles and catalogue essays, presented papers, curated exhibitions, and published the book Scrape the Willow Until It Sings that traces the indigenous philosophies and practices of Julia Parker, the premier Native American basket weaver in California. Deborah is currently working on a multi-year interdisciplinary project that began when she inventoried a collection of one hundred heirloom textiles inherited from her grandmother—most made by her foremothers in home villages in Ottoman Turkey or in the Armenian diaspora. A combination of research, archiving, and responsive making, The Armenian Postmemory Project addresses the role textiles play in cultural survival.

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For generations, weavers have experimented with the unique graphic potential of building by units within the framework of a grid. In the Grammar of Ornament (originally publishedin 1856), nineteenth-century architect and designer Own Jones hypothesizes that weaving played a central role in the cognitive development of humans and shaped the "first notions of symmetry." These mathematical structures simultaneously shaped structure and materialized on the surface as flat pattern--each a visual code of how the threads were assembled. Fiber construction developed into more than a technology; it became the fertile matrix for an entire aesthetic tradition--the geometric aesthetic, the indigenous language of textiles. 

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Biography



Deborah Valoma is an artist, professor, and chair of the Textiles Programs at California College of the Arts, where her specialized field of research, writing, and teaching investigates the role of textiles as signifiers of identity and agents of cultural continuity. She has developed a comprehensive series of graduate and undergraduate courses investigating textile history and theory through multiple lenses including colonization, cultural appropriation, and gender- and race-based hierarchies of value. Deborah has written articles and catalogue essays, presented papers, curated exhibitions, and published the book Scrape the Willow Until It Sings that traces the indigenous philosophies and practices of Julia Parker, the premier Native American basket weaver in California. Deborah is currently working on a multi-year interdisciplinary project that began when she inventoried a collection of one hundred heirloom textiles inherited from her grandmother—most made by her foremothers in home villages in Ottoman Turkey or in the Armenian diaspora. A combination of research, archiving, and responsive making, The Armenian Postmemory Project addresses the role textiles play in cultural survival.

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