My interest in fiber flows far back past my beginnings.
My Ligurian great-grandmother, Fortunata, placed wrapped silkworms atop her bosom to keep them warm and harvested the cocoons for their silky filament. I first learned to work with fiber from my Czech grandmother and her two sisters, who as girls sewed piecework collars and sleeves in the sweatshops of Chicago’s garment district. They taught me needlework: to knit, crochet, embroider, and appliqué. Early on I loved the feel of fiber in my hands. Summers at Lake Tahoe, I sat by the shore twining lake grass together with pine needles retrieved from the sand.
I learned to weave in the 1970s from a Swedish textile artist in San Francisco’s Noe Valley and have ever since twined the many different threads of my life—the writer, historian, filmmaker and traveler—into a tapestry that is still evolving.