Barbara Shapiro

As a textile artist, I draw inspiration from the study of historic and indigenous textiles. In an age where craftsmanship is often replaced by wit and whimsy, I am a staunch advocate of looking deeper into the traditions in order to create contemporary work with a lasting and universal appeal. As a teacher, I stand by what Ed Rossbach said: “…technology builds on technology, and art builds on art.”

Basketry continues to afford me a rich artistic vocabulary for expression and endless exploration. After a pivotal class from Lissa Hunter, I launched into coiled basketry for many years. Later three other seminal teachers, Nancy Moore Bess, Jackie Abrams, and Jiro Yonezawa led me into plaiting, which has become my favorite technique. I especially enjoy hexagonal plaiting and Japanese flower knot plaiting. The flexibility of these classic techniques allows me to express my artist’s voice, with natural indigo dye often figuring in my work. NBO and my local BABM guild offer priceless resources and encouragement. I look forward to more teaching and to welcoming students into my new studio in San Francisco.

Faulty Towers: Night and Day. Plaited artist prints. 2020

Bio: Barbara Shapiro has created textile art for decades, combining a rich knowledge of historical and ethnic textiles with broad technical experience in weaving, dyeing, and basketry. After being involved in the San Francisco Art to Wear movement in the ’70s and ’80s, Barbara shifted her focus to textiles as fine art. Since 2004 she has devoted much of her art practice to basketry, often including indigo-dyed elements. She teaches frequent workshops on Basketry Techniques, Indigo, and Sources of Inspiration. She has taught at San Francisco State University and Osher Lifelong Learning through SFSU.

A past Board Member of the Textile Society of America, she also serves as a Board Advisor on the Textile Arts Council of the Fine Arts Museums of SF and was a long-time docent at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art. She has juried multiple exhibits and recently guest curated Three Left Coast Artists: Linda Gass, Gyongy Laky, Linda MacDonald at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

Barbara writes on textile subjects and has translated an historic French textile book on card weaving and several indigo teaching manuals. As a writer, she has contributed to many major textile publications. Barbara’s award-winning fiber art and baskets have been widely published and exhibited throughout the USA and in Canada, France, England, Ireland, Japan, Korea, China, and Israel.

Learn more about Barbara at her website: Barbara Shapiro

Header Image: Sedori Vessel, Hexagonal and random plaited dyed sedori (scraped) cane, 36 x 5 x 5″. 2017

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