Textile Arts Council Board
The membership of the Textile Arts Council elects volunteers to serve on the Textile Arts Council Board to govern the organization. These board members reflect a great diversity of interests in the textile arts community.
If you have any questions regarding TAC, please contact our office manager who is in charge of the day-to-day business of the Council. We can be reached at (415) 750-3627 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Current Board Officers:
- Chair: Shirley Juster
- Co Chair for Board Care: Shelley Wells
- Co Chair for Operations: Leslee Budge
- Secretary: Barbara Kelly
- Treasurer: Ulla de Larios
Get to know your 2018/2019 Textile Arts Council Board!
SOPHIA ALDRICH: Sophie became interested in the beauty of textiles while watching her mother designing and working with tailors in putting her wardrobe together. Later she worked in the National Palace Museum in Taipei; its collections also exposed her to beautiful textiles and helped her to continue her interest. In the 1980s, she started collecting formal Chinese robes and minority outfits. She joined TAC in 1995. Since joining she has enjoyed learning about textiles and costumes from the lectures and sharing her love of textiles with other TAC members. Sophie also worked for Non-profit organizations in philanthropy throughout her career. Prior to her retirement, she helped World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in building a global major gifts fundraising capacity.
LESLEE JANE BUDGE: Leslee has had a love of fashion since she made her first Barbie Doll dress in the 7th grade. In the 1980’s she followed her passions to create one-of-a-kind wearable art, which she showed and sold in galleries and museums across the country. In 1984 she won best in show in the functional category judged by Jack Lenor Larsen at the Gayle Wilson Gallery in Southampton New York. She was one of the featured artists in the Newark Museum Contemporary Wearable Art show and had her jackets for sale at Julie’s Artisans’ Gallery in New York City. In the late 80’s she matriculated to a Master of Business Administration program, earning an MBA with honors in the mid 90’s. Her other passion is healthcare administration where she has applied her business and program management skills. A love of textiles, especially Japanese and African, guides her interest in educating the public about textiles.
CATHERINE CERNY: Catherine has had a career in textiles over more than 30 years. This included teaching and research at the university level, faculty advisor for an historic costume and textile collection as well a working as a costumer for various professional repertory theatre companies. Her recent interests include developing an extensive collection of ethnographic and tourist textiles and dress focusing on minority traditions, with attention to diverse textile fabrications, embellishments and garment structures.
RENÉE COCKE: Renée is currently the managing partner of KRIMSA Fine Rugs and Decor in San Francisco established in 2002. Her love of world travel, connection to other cultures, and interior design turned her job into her life-long passion. Renée along with her incredible team has created one the top rug stores in the country. While at KRIMSA Renée has organized and hosted numerous industry meetings, discussions, and lectures. Renée and KRIMSA are avid supporters of TAC, San Francisco Bay Area Rug Society, and The San Francisco Antique Rug & Textile show. In her spare time Renée enjoys spending time at the beaches of the California coast and walking her Cavalier King Charles Ollie.
MARY CONNORS: (served 2005-2011, Chair 2010-2011) Mary is an independent scholar currently residing in the Bay Area after more than 30 years residence in various Southeast Asian countries. During her time in Asia she focused her study on the many ethnic groups found in the region and the crafts of these people, especially textiles. Author of Lao Textiles and Traditions (Oxford University Press, 1996), Mary has also contributed to exhibitions and catalogs such as “Beyond Tradition: Lao Textiles Revisited” Museum of FIT, NYC, 1995, “Weaving Tradition: Carol Cassidy and the Woven Silks of Laos”, Museum of Craft & Folk Art, SF 2004 and “Tai Textiles in the Mekong Region: Continuity and Change” Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi 2005. She is the co-founder of the Textile Arts Council’s Ethnic Textiles Study Group and the annual Textile Bazaar. Since 2012 Mary has been coordinating International Tours for TAC.
ALEX FRIEDMAN: Alex is a tapestry artist with over 40 years of experience. Her first textile venture was sewing lavender sachets at age 5. After she completing her college degree in art history she returned to textiles with passion. She was hired by the Michelle Lester Studio in NYC to help weave a large tapestry commission for Pan Am’s first fleet of 747s. She left the studio to continue on her own, weaving corporate, liturgical as well as many private commissions. She was the Director and Board member of the American Tapestry Alliance (2000-2008), a support community for over 600 members both here and abroad. She has had opportunities to live abroad and travel focusing on textiles. Since returning to the Bay Area she maintains a studio and has been an active member of Tapestry Weavers West, Baulines Craft Guild and Fiber Dimensions. She exhibits internationally, lectures and teaches from time to time. Besides contemporary tapestry she is very interested in ethnic and antique textiles. If textiles were less fragile she is sure they would tell the most complete story of humankind.
SHIRLEY JUSTER: Shirley loved fabric and fashion from an early age. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, she initially pursued those interests in retail, shopping the women’s wear markets of New York, Paris and London, developing import product across Asia. A bonus to this travel was exposure to the textile traditions of other cultures and a deepening appreciation for the role of textiles in our daily lives. After moving to San Francisco she also made a move to manufacturing, establishing a large volume, high quality sweater factory in the Bay Area that produced for well-known American brands. She is constantly inspired by the creativity of those around her, finding it an incentive to pursue her own interest in designing and creating clothing and knits of any variety.
In addition to her work for the Textile Arts Council, Shirley currently serves as past Chair of the Washington University Bay Area Alumni Club and as vice chair of Alameda County’s Crisis Support Services executive committee. She is also a volunteer and mentor for San Francisco Score.
BARBARA KELLY: Barbara is well-known and admired in the Bay Area for her exemplary teaching skills in sewing and patternmaking. She has taught at CCA, the Sewing Workshop, San Francisco City College, at a local high school and in programs at the de Young Museum. Her wide range of related experience includes writing, editing, fundraising and office management.
ELLIN KLOR: Ellin Klor holds an AB degree in art history from UC Berkeley and a Masters of Library Science from Simmons College in Boston. She is a lifelong sewer, quilter, and collector of folk art. Ellin has traveled in Europe, Latin America, and Japan. She has utilized her research skills for travel planning, including assisting with the Textile Arts Council’s tours to New York (2018) and Los Angeles (2019). She welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the important role that TAC plays in supporting the textile arts at the Fine Arts Museums and the Bay Area.
ULLA DE LARIOS: Growing up in Sweden, Ulla learned many of the textile practices at home and also at school. She always had yarn going through her fingers. As a young teenager her grandmother taught her how to warp and thread a loom, her only technical weaving education! After studying Math and Physics at University, she emigrated to the US and realized that it was in the textile field that she belonged. For twenty years she had a studio in Palo Alto and was able to concentrate on weaving everything from big wool rugs to very fine silks. She has an MFA in Textile Art and is an exhibiting weaver. Her association with TAC goes back many years.
Mirka Knaster: As a long-time writer and editor, Mirka has used words to convey ideas and emotions to others. As an artist, she communicates with fiber—textiles and paper—because it’s exhilarating to engage with color, texture, line, shape and space, pattern and design. She’s fascinated by how textiles have been central to human life since earliest times. Through extensive experiences on other continents, she became aware of how they play a universal role in celebrating beauty and imparting feelings. Textiles tell stories about the cultures that create them and mark stages of the life cycle as well as express the relationship people have to their environment.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that Mirka became a fiber artist, though given her academic degrees, no one would have predicted it. During childhood, her mother taught her how to sew, embroider, mend, darn, crochet, and knit, just as her mother and grandmother had taught her in Eastern Europe. What she didn’t know until probably mid-life was that her paternal grandfather had worked as a designer in the textile industry in Łódź, when it was the Manchester of Poland and supplied the Russian empire.
Mirka creates 2-D and 3-D art pieces with a variety of textiles, whether purchased in Asia, hand-dyed, upcycled, or commercial, sometimes combining them with paper. She stitches by hand and machine, embellishes with mark-making, beads, and more. She has given workshops in making unique fiber art cards and stitching on paper and fabric.
SALLY-YU LEUNG: Independent lecturer, author and curator of Chinese decorative arts, Ms. Leung is a graduate of UC Berkeley where she earned degrees in Oriental Languages and Physiology. From 1983-2000, she served as a board member of the Chinese American International School, of which she was Acting Head from 1985-6. Since 2001, she has also assumed the role of Chinese culture and calligraphy instructor for Pixar Animation Studios. She is the consultant and chief designer of the Interior Cultural Enhancement Project for the International School of Beijing at Shunyi, China. She served as the consultant for Macy’s 2005 Annual Spring Flower Show-Gardens of China, and in the same year she was the recipient of Woman Warrior Award in the Arts. From 1999-2009, she served as a Commissioner for the Asian Art Museum, SF. In June 2012, she became listed in the Chinese Ministry of Culture’s Hall of Fame for her contributions to the protection and preservation of Chinese Cultural Heritage.
JEANIE LOW: Jeanie has been on the TAC Board since September, 2019. She is a fiber artist creating quilts from brocades, silk, ikat and other textiles from around the world. She was the Featured Artist for the QUILT San Francisco 2019. Her quilts have also been exhibited at the Pacific International Quilt Festival, Santa Clara, Ca. and in private collections. Jeanie is interested in global textile traditions, new innovations, and designs in fashion, industry and traditional use. She also gives fabric origami workshops. She is the Historian of the San Francisco Quilters Guild where she is compiling member quiltmaker stories. She co-chaired the SFQG 2001 Quilt Show and has curated special exhibits. She is also an author, consultant and lecturer in Chinese American Genealogy.
Jeanette’s fiber journey began when her grandmother taught her to knit. Her aunt was an excellent seamstress and her mother had a keen eye for fashion (Vogue patterns only) so she began sewing clothes for herself and her sister, progressing from proficiency in sewing to advanced tailoring. She took up surface embroidery, crewel, cross stitch and needlepoint as they became popular but has returned to knitting as her primary medium. She has designed her own garments, taught knitting and needlepoint at her local shops, participated in national and international workshops and classes, and acquired a well curated stash.
She received an MS in Optical Engineering from the University of Rochester. Her professional career spanned 35 years as an Aerospace Engineer. She retired as a Senior Engineering Fellow at Raytheon in 2015, moved to Bay Area last year and is interested in opportunities to become more involved in the rich fiber community here. Her interests include the intersection of fashion and textiles with science, technology, materials and new fabrication methods.
JULIANA PENNINGTON is a designer who has worked for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco for eighteen years, serving as Lead Exhibition Graphic Designer for major exhibitions. Auspiciously, the very first museum exhibition project was “Ikat: Splendid Silks of Central Asia” in 1997. Subsequent work for textile-related exhibitions included “Artwear”, “Turkmen Carpets”, “Vivienne Westwood”, “Nan Kempner: American Chic”, “Yves St. Laurent”, “Pulp Fashion” (Isabelle de Borchgrave’s marvelous re-creations of historic fashion in paper!), and “Balenciaga and Spain.” She also has multi-faceted career experience in regional planning and urban design, visual merchandising, and a stint with Esprit creating fabric patterns, as well as freelance work for arts and cultural groups in the Bay Area. Clients have included the San Francisco Opera Guild (book designer: 75th Anniversary Commemorative), Urban Ecology (book designer: “Blueprint for a Sustainable Bay Area”), Norcal Artist-in-Residence Program, the City of Palo Alto, Macy’s, and the Nature Company.
She studied fine arts at Humboldt State University with an emphasis in printmaking, and at CCAC, where she discovered computer-assisted design and graphics, now used as tools of the trade.
Her early interest in drawing, sewing, color and construction techniques sparked explorations in fiber arts and surface decoration on a variety of substrates, which continues with handmade paper, natural dyes, fibers, and artist’s books. She has taught courses and lectured in papermaking and book arts at Kala Institute, Waldorf High School, UC Extension, Academy of Art, and the Randall Museum.
Originally a native of Israel, Anat came to the United States with her husband more than three decades ago. As she has always loved fashion her earliest job was in fashion for Nordstrom department store. Our development committee became acquainted with Anat at a fashion lecture and breakfast she coordinated in her capacity as San Francisco Bay Area chair of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, the foremost institute of fashion studies in Israel. Anat also served for several years as Women’s Alliance campaign chair of Jewish federation of San Francisco, The peninsula, Marin and Sonoma. She and her husband have two sons and they currently live in the Pacific Heights area of San Francisco.
Sandra received a Ph.D. in History of Art at UC Berkeley. She received an MA in History of Art and Archaeology at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, and an undergraduate degree in Biology and Interdisciplinary of Art History & Studio Art at Bowdoin. From 2012 to 2015 she was a Visiting Scholar at the Leiden Institute of Area Studies in the Netherlands. From 2006-2009 she was Assistant Curator, Costume and Textiles at the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art. From 2001-2006 she was a Textile Conservator at the Cooper-Hewlitt Smithsonian Design Museum. She has lectured extensively, specializing in Indonesian textiles. She also has been an co-instructor of textiles and textile conservation at UCLA, NYU, the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Textile Museum of Toronto.
HELEN SCULLY: Helen received a MA degree in Art History from the University of Pittsburgh and an undergraduate degree in Business with a minor in Studio Arts. In her career, Helen held positions of major responsibility in the areas of administration, strategic planning, fundraising, marketing, public relations, and volunteer recruitment and training. She directed all functions for a regional contemporary art museum with a Permanent Collection, Annual Exhibition Schedule, and an Art Education Program for more than six years. She prepared and submitted successful grant proposals to foundations and corporations that were funded for specific needs such as scholarships and endowment. At the Coos Art Museum, Helen was responsible for raising the funds to support the design and development of a state-of-the -art storage facility and internet site for the Permanent Art Collection. Helen Scully has organized and attended meetings of Boards of Trustees for educational and arts institutions. She has volunteered for the Achenbach Foundation at the Legion of Honor among other museums. She has a life-long interest in textiles, especially handmade rugs and decorative items. Helen feels that her involvement in the Textile Arts Council has enabled her to broaden her knowledge of textiles and the cultures from which they originate.
SHELLEY WELLS: Shelley has a background in higher education and community based non-profits. Her graduate work in cultural anthropology had an emphasis in women’s studies, oral history and the role of textiles in society. Shelley also has a background in fundraising. Her lifelong interest in textiles started at an early age with knitting, sewing and needle work.