Textile Arts | Los Angeles

Textile Arts | Los Angeles cultivates and promotes textile art-making and design in the Los Angeles area. Conceived as a professional networking organization, the group embraces artists, designers, craftspeople, and enthusiasts working across the breadth of the textile arts.

Textile Arts LA seeks to create opportunity for artistic growth and facilitate dialogue and engagement between working artists-designers and commercial opportunity. Programming includes private studio tours, professional and skill building workshops, residencies, and exhibits. The organization’s signature event is a Textile Summit, now in its second year. The Summit serves as the capstone to Textile Month, an emerging collaboration between artists and institutions to celebrate textiles throughout Southern California.

The sensory allure of material, whether it be wood, metal, clay, or fiber, is deeply appealing and promises a respite in our overly frantic, tech-dependent world. As more Americans pursue self-employment and a sense of meaning from their work, as consumers embrace the experience economy over one of resource consumption, and as our culture collectively pivots toward the delight of tactile experience, the textile arts are enjoying a resurgence. Books extolling the virtues of craftsmanship, mending, and natural dyeing–to name just a few– are proliferating; local and online yarn stores are attracting a younger audience and reinvigorating these traditional artforms; textile-themed workshops are popping up everywhere from museums and retail shops to Airbnb events; and textile-oriented social media accounts are attracting hundreds of thousands of followers.

Meanwhile, professional textile artists are seeking entree to museums and galleries, as well as the tools and connections to pursue commissions, brand partnerships, academic posts, and other modes of building a thriving art practice. While Los Angeles is one of the largest economic markets in the world, and our art scene is gaining in stature, the City does not have an organizing, professional platform for the textile arts. Textile Arts Los Angeles was designed to bridge the gap between our local community of artists and makers and the wider economic and cultural environment in which we live.

“Textile artists bring an understanding of surface design, construction, and dimensionality to their work, as well as an awareness of color and texture,” states Executive Director Lesley Roberts. “As a result, they are well suited for brand partnerships and product development. As artists, their grounding is in innovation, that is, seeking inspiration, then imagining how an idea can be brought to life.

Textile art often explores questions of the spirit as well as ones of practicality. Textile art is inherently an art of language and metaphor. Think of the Latin cognate “text,” the quipu as knotted string and language, the warp and weft as a place of storytelling and the creation of the world. By definition, then, any conversation about the textile arts has to acknowledge all of its meanings and implications: pollution, waste streams, resource allocation, social justice, gender issues, and inclusivity. We can’t talk about textiles without talking about fashion and accessibility, without talking about who makes our clothes and how those people live and what happens to our clothes at the end of their life cycle.

“We created Textile Arts LA so that we could have these conversations with a broader audience. Los Angeles is one of the largest cites in the world, in one of the largest economies in the world.  We’re as close to downtown’s manufacturing as we are to Acton’s sheep ranches and Silicon Beach’s tech know-how and innovation. These micro-economies can and should be a part of the conversation about how we’re going to move into the future. Add LA’s proximity to the textile and design heritage of Mexico, Central America, and the Pacific Rim, and you see we have fertile ground for creating disruptive new forms, ideas, and understandings,” continues Lesley.

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Carrie Burckle is an artist and educator living in Los Angeles. Carrie received her BFA in Textile Design from California State University Long Beach. She did post graduate work at the Appalachian Center for Crafts in TN. She received her MFA from California State University Long Beach, where she received the Distinguished Creative Achievement Award from the College of the Arts.

Carrie has exhibited at Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles; Visions Art Museum, San Diego; Mingei Museum, San Diego; Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, Tampa; Downey Museum of Art, Downey; and Collins Gallery, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, among others. Her work has appeared in Fiber Art Now magazine. She is a member of Textile Society of America, American Craft Council, Surface Design Association, and California Fibers. She is a founding member and co-director of Textile Arts Los Angeles.

Carrie taught in the Los Angeles public schools, California State University Northridge, San Diego State, and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. She has been an instructor in the Fiber program at CSULB since 2002.

Lesley Roberts, Executive Director
Textile Arts | Los Angeles

Lesley Roberts received a BFA in Art History from UCLA and a certificate from UCLA Anderson School’s Executive Education program. One of Lesley’s earliest childhood memories was seeing a Robert Rauschenberg / Gemini G.E.L. exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Her aesthetic and professional interests embrace visual literacy, metaphor, and collaboration.

She is currently the principal of Oceanparkstudio, a marketing and strategy firm that believes in the power of thoughtful ideas, creative vision, and clarity of purpose to achieve meaningful change and growth. Oceanparkstudio operates with a focus on social enterprise, emerging brands, and community building.

Lesley is also a principal of licensing agency Count the Chickens and a founding member and co-director of Textile Arts | Los Angeles. She is the lead for Southern California Fibershed, an affiliate of Fibershed. She is a member of Textile Society of America, American Craft Council, and Surface Design Association. Lesley is a native Angeleno.

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“Ocean” detail by Aneesa Shami
photo credit: Cecily A Brown

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