Deborah Weir


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Deborah Weir
About the author

BIO: Long ago, when transcontinental planes flew low, passengers could clearly see the patchwork of varying greens from the window seat. Deborah Weir’s inherent love of color and attraction to the geometry of farmland cemented her lifelong love of creating color and manipulating shapes. She was soon dyeing, painting, printing and otherwise coloring fabric and making quilts and garments. Her experiments with texture emerged later when she got her degree in Costume Design at the University of Hawaii and spent years in costume shops in California, Utah and Colorado. This gave her expertise in myriad textile techniques and experience working with a wide array of fabrics and embellishments. Weir went on to a 35-year career as a linguist teaching at the college level. She focused primarily on first and second language acquisition with deaf students, and part of her career included teaching ESL to international students. She was blessed with LOTS of gifts of fabrics from across the globe as her students knew she loved to sew! During this time Weir was also Producer and Artistic Director of Music in Motion, a sign language theatre company in Southern California. She had many duties with MIM, but designing productions, and costumes, of course, was one of her greatest joys. In 2006, Weir retired from academia. Since then she has been a full time artist at FiberFly Studios in Southern California. There she works in many media but primarily fiber. She has studied with many artists in this filed – Beaney and Littlejohn in the UK, and Dunnewold, Caldwell, Cavanaugh and Johnston in North America, to name just a few. Weir herself teaches at guilds, festivals and most frequently at her studio. Since retirement she has also been curating art exhibits. To date she has curated about a dozen. This has been a natural career progression as she not only knows art and artists but is also very well organized. Weir pushes boundaries with her subject matter, materials and techniques. One of her popular series is “DK, or What the Cat Dragged In” which includes small metal objects collected by her magnet-wearing felines. But she also takes her work very seriously. Themes she has pursued include millennia-old cave paintings, the plastics collecting in the North Pacific Gyre, winds exacerbated by climate change and, most recently, (and the subject of her work in Out of Darkness) incarceration. Many private individuals across the US, School on Wheels Headquarters in Los Angeles and Kaiser Hospital in Panorama City, CA, have Weir’s work in their collections. Artist Statement: I am a mixed media artist who primarily uses textiles in my work. Though contemporary in every sense, the work I do references traditional “women’s work,” slowly built up, mostly by hand, with a needle, using gentle materials – thread, floss, beads – in addition to more modern edgier ones such as Tyvek, metals and found objects. My work is detailed, often with reflective surfaces and tiny, rich elements, and does not always neatly fit typical categories but includes collage and heavily worked or embroidered surfaces as well as art quilts and weaving. I love the process of making, but my work is always idea driven. I work in series so that I can pursue themes of importance to me. The 40,000-15,000 year-old cave paintings of northern Spain and southern France and Australia are the subject of one such series. Pomegranates, which represent fecundity and come in the most amazing colors, create an additional series. Industrial detritus (and the Gyres): rusty metal, bits of plastics and random “junk” sparkle and seduce when repurposed into art and comprise yet another. Language, including early human mark-making, is an ever-present theme. I continue to probe the nature of our planet. My series Fierce Winds explores the excitement and terror of searing winds which have been exacerbated by sudden climate change. And Confluence, a show I curated and sent to six venues, considers aspects of water: its beauty, scarcity and impact. Social and Environmental issues tend to drive my artwork.