Christine Laffer

Tapestry is a medium which has a life and vitality beneath the surface, an energy which is contained in the yarns themselves as they twist and turn inside the cloth. Even the dyed color of fiber is penetrative, not superficial. The expressive qualities of these materials, of this way of working up layer upon layer of woven yarn, have possibilities that will still take lifetimes to explore. In my own work, I hope to make obvious the force and the mystery which can be created in no other way.



TAPUS Studio
San Jose, California


1953 Born in Columbus, Ohio.


1995 M.F.A. in Spatial Arts, San Jose State University, San José,

1985 Internship in tapestry technique, La Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins,
Paris, France.

1984 Study in Textile Arts, DeAnza College, Cupertino, California.

1982 Aubusson Tapestry program, San Francisco Tapestry Workshop, San Francisco.

1977 Textile Design, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island.

1975 Architectural Design, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

1966 Private studies with Myrtle Jones, painter, Savannah, Georgia.

Solo Exhibitions

  • 1995 "Curious Fears," thesis exhibition, San Jose State
    University, San José, California
  • 1994 "Naked Singularities," pre-thesis exhibition, San Jose
    State University, San José

Two-Person Exhibitions

  • 1992 "Two Bay Area Artists: Christine Laffer - Deann Joy Rubin,"
    Tapestries Gallery, Palo Alto
  • 1991 "Façades: Fiber and Form," Olive Hyde Art Gallery,
    Fremont, California
  • 1990 "Urban Sensibilities: Contemporary Tapestries," Creative
    Arts Center Gallery, Sunnyvale, California

Selected Curated Exhibitions

  • 1997 "The Continuous Thread," curator Louaine Elke, Marin
    College of Art, San Rafael, Calif.; catalog
  • 1996 "New Voices in Weaving," curator Cynthia Schira, Contemporary
    Crafts Gallery, Portland Oregon; reviewed
  • 1995 "Currents," curated by Bonnie Britton, Monterey Peninsula
    College Gallery, Monterey, California
  • 1994 "Contemporary Tapestry: 1990 to the Present," curators
    Margery Livingston and Joyce Hulbert, California Crafts Museum, San Francisco,
    California; reviewed
  • 1993 "State of the Art: Contemporary Fiber," curator Judy
    G. Eakin, Loveland Museum and Gallery, Loveland, Colorado; catalog; reviewed
  • 1991 "West Coast Tapestry," curators Carl Worth and Care
    Standley, Bedford Gallery, Regional Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, California;
  • 1990 "Uncommon Threads," curator Bonnie Britton, Cabrillo
    College Gallery, Aptos, California; reviewed
  • 1990 "International Tapestry Network: Exhibit One," Anchorage
    Museum of History and Art, Anchorage, Alaska, curator Helga Berry; travelling
    exhibition; catalog; reviewed
  • 1989 "American Tapestry Weaving Since the 1930s and Its European
    Roots," The Art Gallery, University of Maryland College Park, curator
    Courtney Shaw; catalog; reviewed

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 1997 "ITNET 3," jurors Lloyd Herman and Joanna Staniskas
  • 1997 "Across the Tracks," WORKS/San José, San José,
    California; reviewed
  • 1996 "Diversity in Tapestry," juried, Mendocino Arts Center,
    Mendocino, California; reviewed
  • 1996 "String Symphony," Artfibers Gallery, San Francisco,
  • 1995 "Out of State," '95 SJSU MA and MFA graduates, at WORKS/San
    José, California
  • 1994 "National Tapestry Invitational Exhibition," curator
    Letitia Roller, ArtSpace/Lima, Ohio
  • 1993 "Contemporary Tapestry," curator Susan Wageman, Rosicrucian
    Museum, San José
  • 1993 "Tapestries," Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, California
  • 1993 "Three Artists," selected by Judy Kay and Associates,
    Hewlett-Packard Company, Palo Alto, California
  • 1992 "Craft Information Alliance," juried exhibition, California
    Craft Museum, San Francisco
  • 1992 "Sense of Future Past," organized by Suzy Locke and
    TWW, Shaklee Building, San Francisco, California
  • 1991 "A Gathering of Spirits," juror Ferne Jacobs, California
    Fibers, Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale
  • 1991 "Western Weavers: On the Edge," Joanne Rapp Gallery,
    Scottsdale, Arizona
  • 1991 "Tapestries in Place," Gensler and Associates Architects,
    San Francisco, California
  • 1990 22nd Annual Textile Exhibition, jurors Sylvia Seventy and Kenneth
    Trapp, Olive Hyde Art Gallery, Fremont, California
  • 1990 "Risk Factors," Littman Gallery, Portland State University,
    Portland, Oregon; reviewed
  • 1989 "Tapestry Now," Luckenbach Mill Gallery, Bethlehem,
    Pennsylvania; catalog
  • 1988 "Focus: American Baskets and Fiber," Banaker Gallery,
    Walnut Creek, California
  • 1988 Tapestry Weavers West II, The Kaiser Center, Oakland, California
  • 1987 TWW Invitational, Scheuer Tapestry Gallery, New York, New York
  • 1987 "Back in Touch," Euphrat Gallery, Cupertino, California;
  • 1987 TWW I, Fiberworks Gallery 2, Berkeley, California and at Gallery
    One, SJSU, San José
  • 1983 "Contemporary Tapestry," Glastonbury Gallery, San Francisco,


1990 First Place Recommendation, Art Jury, the Library Tapestry Commission,

1984 Award for Excellence, Conference of Northern California Handweavers

1983 Judge's Choice, PAA Membership Show

1983 Award for Excellence, CNCH

Private Collections

Louis and Denise Brockway

Margaret A. Brosnan, deceased

Linda Cline Chandler

Nancy Cleveland

Barbara and Michael Heller

Frederick Rodney Holt

P. Lynn Holt

Clifford R. Huston

Mary Idso

Joanne P. Laffer

Dr. Walter B. Laffer II

Consuelo J. Underwood

Karen Verbica

... and other private collections

Curatorial Experience

  • 1995 "Matters of Substance," selected graduate work, Gallery
    5, SJSU, San José
  • 1994 "Fiber Concepts," selected graduate work, Gallery 5,
    SJSU, San José, California
  • 1990 "Risk Factors," works of selected tapestry artists
    from the United States and Canada, the Littman Gallery, Portland, Oregon.
    Organized in conjunction with Tapestry Forum 1990, a symposium focused on
    issues specific to the medium, with attendees from several countries.

Professional Teaching Experience

  • 1993 Teaching Associate, 2-D Design Concepts (Spring '93) and Beginning
    Drawing (Fall ' 93), SJSU, San José, California
  • 1991 Workshop Instructor, Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, California
  • 1991 Workshop Instructor, Handweavers League of Oklahoma, Oklahoma
    City, Oklahoma
  • 1989 Workshop Instructor, Tapestry Symposium, Mendocino Art Center,
  • 1988, 1986 Workshop Instructor, Kortum-Gaynes Studio, Palo Alto, California
  • 1986 - 1996 Private instructor, TAPUS Studio

Other Professional Experience in the Arts

  • 1997 Representative as artist at CSI ProFair, San Francisco, California
  • 1996- Publications Editor, ITNET website,
  • 1995 - curr Gallery Coordinator, WORKS/San José, alternative
    art and performance, San José
  • 1995 Juror, Senior Art Awards, work selected from four high schools
    San José, California, sponsored by the Cambpell Womens Club
  • 1994-5 Graduate Assistant, Pictorial Arts, managing painting, printmaking
    and drawing studios, SJSU, San José, California
  • 1993 Guest Artist, Piedmont Middle School, Piedmont, California
  • 1992 Symposium Organizer, "Other Voices: A Symposium on Tapestry,"
    in conjunction with "ITNET: Exhibit 2," University of Maryland
    at College Park
  • 1991 Crew Member, Christo's Umbrellas Joint Project in Japan and the
  • 1991 Artist in Residence, Bedford Gallery, Regional Center for the
    Arts, Walnut Creek
  • 1991 Juror, Annual Fiber Exhibition, Handweavers League of Oklahoma,
    Oklahoma City
  • 1990 Organizer, Tapestry Demonstration Booth, Convergence '90, San
    José, California


  • 1997 - curr Vice President, South Bay Area Women's Caucus for Art
  • 1997 Co-President, Tapestry Weavers West, San Francisco, California
    (Vice President 1995-96, President, 1992)
  • 1995 - 96 1996 Regional Conference Planning Committee, SBAWCA, California
  • 1995 - 96 Editor, Switch, an on-line publication of the CADRE Institute,
    SJSU, San José
  • 1994 - curr Associate Editor and Grantswriter, (detail) a Journal
    of Art Criticism, San José, Calif.
  • 1994 - 95 Student Representative to the Art Graduate Committee, SJSU,
    San José, California
  • 1990 - 93 Vice-President, ITNET, Inc. (International Tapestry Network),
    Anchorage, Alaska

Selected Lectures and Speaking Engagements

  • 1997 Guest Lecturer, Serra House, Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • 1997 Guest Lecturer, Textile Program, San Francisco City College,
  • 1997 Guest Speaker, BFA Seminar, San José State University,
  • 1995 Panelist, "A Gathering of Artists: Traditional and Changing
    Roles in Multicultural Society," organized by South Bay Area Womens
    Caucus for Art, at SJSU, San José, California
  • 1995 Guest Speaker, Introduction to Art, SJSU, San José, California
  • 1994 Guest Speaker, Santa Cruz Handweavers Guild, Santa Cruz, California
  • 1993 Panelist, Symposium "Making a Place for Tapestry,"
    Vancouver, B.C.
  • 1993 Guest Speaker, Fiber Artisans Guild, San José, California
  • 1991 Guest Speaker, Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences, Peoria,
  • 1991 Guest Speaker, The Hawley Street Tapestry Studio, Northampton,
  • 1991 Guest Speaker, The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, New York
  • 1990 Panelist, Tapestry Seminar, sponsored by ATA, Convergence '90,
    San José
  • 1990 Guest Speaker, Fiber Network, Palo Alto, California
  • 1990 Discussion Leader, Tapestry Forum 1990, Portland, Oregon
  • 1989 Panelist, Tapestry Symposium, Mendocino Art Center, California
  • 1988 Guest Speaker, Cañada College, California
  • 1988 Panelist, "Design and Technique of Tapestry," ATA Symposium,
    Convergence '88, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1987 Guest Speaker, Fiber Artisans, San José, California
  • 1987 Participating Artist, guided tour organized by the Oakland Museum,

Selected Bibliography

  • 1997 Ann Elliot Sherman, review of "Across the Tracks,"
    Apr. 24, Metro
  • 1994 Alyssa Erickson, review of "Contemporary Tapestry 1990 to
    the Present," arteFACto, No. 5, Sept. 1994
  • 1994 Carol K. Russell, "International Tapestry in the '90s,"
    FIBERARTS, V.21, No.1, Sum 94, photo.
  • 1994 Mary Alexander Walker, "Contemporary Tapestry," Shuttle
    Spindle & Dyepot, Spr 94, photo.
  • 1993 Barbara Liebler, "Contemporary Fiber: State of the Art,"
    Handwoven, March/Apr 93.
  • 1992 Jan Janeiro, "Textiles About Textiles," FIBERARTS,
    V. 18, No. 5, photo.
  • 1991 Colorado Arts, Dec/Jan 1991-92, cover photo.
  • 1991 Robin Worthington, "Architectural Infatuation at Hyde,"
    San Jose Mercury News, 10/02, photo.
  • 1991 Nancy Harvey, Tapestry Weaving, Interweave Press, photo.
  • 1991 Carol Fowler, "Woven for the Walls," West County Times,
    7/5, photo.
  • 1991 Joseph Young, "Tapestries whose potential hasn't been tapped,"
    Scottsdale Progress, 6/27.
  • 1991 Fiberarts Design Book Four, Lark Book Publications, photo.
  • 1990 Carol K. Russell, The Tapestry Handbook, Lark Book Publications,
  • 1990 Carline Bouilhet, "Tapestry on Tour," Art Today, V-1,
    1990, pp.24-31.
  • 1990 "American Tapestry Today - An Exhibition," 1990, Victorian
    Video Productions.
  • 1990 "ITNET -- International Tapestry Network," Textilforum
    (Ger.), Mar. 1990, photo.
  • 1989 Charles Talley, "Contemporary Tapestry," Art Today,
    Fall, 1989, photo.
  • 1989 FIBERARTS, Vol. 15, No. 5, photo.
  • 1988 Lorraine Gengo, On Stage, Vol. I, No. 4, June/July 1988, photo.
  • 1987 Fiberarts Design Book 3, Lark Publications, photo.

Published Writings

  • 1997 "The Body of Tapestry: Work of Joyce Hulbert," International
    Tapestry Journal
    , S '97
  • 1997 "Handing On: Tapestries in Belgium,"
  • 1995 "Sharon Marcus: Visual Archeologies," FIBERARTS,
    V.22, No.4, Jan/Feb 1996, p.52
  • 1994 "A Different Approach," ITNET Journal, V.5, No.3, Fall
    1994, p.46.
  • 1994 "Tapestry Visions," ITNET Journal, V.5, No.3, Fall
    1994, p.42-43.
  • 1994 Interview of Mary Donovan, TWW Newsletter, V.9, No.4, Aug. 1994.
  • 1994 "Why Theory?," TWW Newsletter, V.9, No.3, May 1994.
  • 1994 "Tradition + Transition Symposium in Chicago," ITNET
    Journal, V.4, No.4, Winter 1993/94, p.13.
  • 1994 "Process and Product," Making a Place for Tapestry,
    Symposium 1993, published conference proceedings, The British Columbia Society
    of Tapestry Artists and The Canadian Craft Museum, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 1993 "Visual Interpretation," (detail),
    a Journal of Art Criticism, Fall 1993, p.12.
  • 1993 "ITNET: Exhibit 2," arteFACto, Revista
    de Arte, No.1, Junio 1993, p.29.
  • 1992 "Forces of Gravity: Consuelo Jimenez Underwood," FIBERARTS,
    Nov/Dec 1992, p.60.

Slide Registries

  • American Crafts Council, New York, New York
  • Arts Council, State of New Mexico
  • South Bay Area Women's Caucus for Art, California

Studio Collaborations

1990 "Brax," designed by and woven for Klutz Press, Inc., Palo
Alto, California

1989 "Lyrical Landscape," collaboration with Trudi Eldridge, tapestry

1987 "The Ark," by Laurie Gross, woven for Peninsula Temple Beth-El,
San Mateo

Professional Affiliations

1990-1997 ITNET, Inc. (International Tapestry Network)

1987-curr Member, South Bay Area Women's Caucus for Art, California

1985-curr Member, Tapestry Weavers West, California (Founding Member)

1982-curr Member, American Crafts Council, New York

Philosophical Statement

Tapestry is a medium which has a life and vitality beneath the surface,
an energy which is contained in the yarns themselves as they twist and turn
inside the cloth. Even the dyed color of fiber is penetrative, not superficial.
The expressive qualities of these materials, of this way of working up layer
upon layer of woven yarn, have possibilities that will still take lifetimes
to explore. In my own work I hope to make obvious the intensity of the physical
forces embodied in tapestry.

Architecture and cloth have been the dominant imagery of my exploration,
with occasional references to the figure. The presence of cloth is what
involves me the most, its character and its meanings and the way that it
can imply the presence of a human being. My studies in architecture, as
an undergraduate student in Chicago, eventually led me to cloth, and the
experience of weaving fabric. Both architecture and cloth have similar structural
systems and similar purposes (of protection), but they also have strong
contrasts, visually and socially. They are both extensions of a basic grid,
but one is rigid, the other supple. One is monumental, the other intimate
in scale. One is permanent, the other temporary. One exists predominantly
in the exterior, exposed world, the other in the interior, sheltered world.
One shapes our culture in systematic ways, the other reflects our culture
in personal ways. These contrasts and similarities offer vivid material
for the senses, which tapestry, an eminently architectural cloth, can express
most effectively.

© 2013 Christine Laffer