Events
  • Artist Anna Craycroft, of the current exhibition Tuning the Room in Ben Maltz Gallery, in discussion with artist and curator Micah Silver.

  • Emily Thorpe's art work addresses the twisting formation of memory through spatial relations and moments of domesticity. She will be presenting a solo exhibition for her Graduate Thesis at The Bolsky Gallery, Otis College of Art & Design, on view February 20 to February 25, 2017. There will be a closing reception on Saturday, February 25, 6-9pm.

  • You can easily spot The Little Friends of Printmaking in a crowd—their inky hands and clothes are a dead giveaway. Their work is just as distinctive. JW & Melissa Buchanan first made a name for themselves through their silkscreened concert posters, but soon branched out into further fields, designing fancy junk for whoever would pay them money. In addition to their work as illustrators and designers, they've continued their fine art pursuits through exhibitions, lectures, and artists’ residencies, spreading the gospel of silkscreen to anyone inclined to listen.

  • "In publishers’ terms, Shock and Awe – a hefty, intellectual book about glam rock – is timely." - Jude Rogers, The Guardian

  • Solmaz Sharif

    Mar 01| Lectures
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    Solmaz Sharif’s first collection, Look, was recently published by Graywolf Press and is a 2016 National Book Award finalist. Her poetry has appeared in the New Republic, Granta, Poetry, and other journals. Her first collection, Look, was recently published by Graywolf Press. A former Stegner Fellow, she is currently a lecturer at Stanford University and lives in the Bay Area.

  • Join us on Thursday, March 2nd for an evening of conversation and exploration! Connect with fellow alumni, see friends, tour our new buildings, and meet President Ferguson at this Alumni Night reception. It will be a casual and fun evening and we hope you can join us. 

    The evening includes:

    A beer and wine reception 

    Introduction of the new Director of Alumni Relations Phil Scanlon

    Campus tour

    Visits to the Anna Craycroft exhibit at the Ben Maltz Gallery and Millard Sheets Library

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  • Brendan Folwer was born 1978, Berkeley, California and lives and works in Los Angeles. His solo exhibitions include New Portraits (2017), Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles, Portraits (2016), Mathew, New York and New Pictures, Six Sampler Works, and Benches (2015), Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles.

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Nourishing Craft

Aug 25, 2013
Tanya Aguiñiga, Product Design faculty member
Spotlight Category: Faculty
By Mimi Zeiger

 

Editor’s Note: 

Aguiñiga is one of five designers featured in the current PBS series “Craft in America: A Journey to the Artists, Origins, and Techniques of American Craft” 

Tanya Aguiñiga, Product Design faculty member, is an acclaimed textile artist, a craft activist, a sculptor, and a self-described “maker.” Her Atwater Village studio overflows with skeins of wool, yards of rope, and fabric remnants—the materials she uses to make her handcrafted accessories and furniture. Aguiñiga’s dyed rope necklaces are museum and design store staples, and the colorful, animal-like chairs and benches recently exhibited at JF Chen’s gallery charmed the crowds. She is not content to simply produce readily consumed objects, however; at the root of her work is a larger goal—the desire to build community and activism around craft. Her hope is to transform the perception of craft from a solo domestic art to a means of public engagement.

To do this, Aguiñiga weaves her own personal narrative into the history of craft. Born in Tijuana, she grew up taking a bus across the border every day to go to school in San Diego. As an undergraduate, she studied furniture design at San Diego State University, and received her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. In 1997 she became a member of the Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo (BAW/TAF), a binational collective dedicated to bringing attention to the U.S/Mexico border through arts-based programming. 

“My time with BAW/TAF was the foundation for who I am today as an artist,” says Aguiñiga, reflecting on the six years she spent actively involved with the organization. “It taught me how to use tools for the first time, how to work as a collaborative, how to engage with communities, how to create work that is both personal and political, and how to produce installation and performance art. As clichéd as it sounds, BAW/TAF changed my life.”

For Aguiñiga, BAW/TAF’s influence led her to work with marginalized communities and encouraged her to consider craft a radical practice. It taught her to be both an activist and a mentor, values she instills in her students at Otis. “It’s my job to preserve this history through making something personal,” says Aguiñiga. 

To illustrate her point, she selects a heavy leather strap from a basket brimming with colors and textures. The piece is a backstrap weaving belt, worn smooth in places from use—the kind of loom used by women artisans in Chiapas, Mexico. The leather belt wraps around the weaver’s waist and is used to create tension in the loom, which is then attached to a fixed object. 

Last summer, Aguiñiga used the belt to stage an outdoor weaving performance in Beverly Hills. Dressed in traditional Mexican garments, she attached the belt first to a parking meter and then, when asked by police to move, to a tree in front of the sign reading “Welcome to Beverly Hills.” Aguiñiga’s street performance of weaving brightly colored yarn was educational and political, publicly exposing the often unseen physical labor, artistry, and technique that is required to create textiles in one of the world’s richest zip codes. “Craft has been malnourished,” she says. “The origins of the materials need to be told.”

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