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A growing public awareness of the environmental cost of both fast fashion and traditional textile manufacturing has elevated public desire to learn new and old ways to create positive impact through the fibers we wear. Artist Corinne Takara is collaborating with the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles on a community-sourced art project that draws on local cultural practices and place-based materials to explore the artistic and technological possibilities of biomaterials. Through workshops and online collaborations, participants will experiment alongside the artist with using such materials as coffee grounds, yard waste, and cactus fruit as feedstock for mycelium and bacterial cellulose cultures to begin the process of growth.

Workshops will lead to Takara and community members creating sculptural quilts assembled from “quilt tiles” crafted from these biomaterials and fiber art techniques. The final BioQuilts will be approximately 5 foot x 5 foot by 4 inches, thick and several of them will be exhibited at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. An accompanying website will contain forums for crowd-sourced discoveries, riffs on biomaterial recipes, time-lapse documentation of biomaterial growth, contributed quilt tiles, and participant interviews.

For the past four years, artist Corinne Takara has focused on biomaterial design as a source for both fine art installations and collaborative community art explorations. She has led youth and adult workshops in biomaterial design all over the United States.

The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, founded in 1977 by members of the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association, is the oldest museum dedicated to quilts and textiles in the United States. It draws 15,000 visitors annually to downtown San Jose, and programs an ambitious annual schedule of 18 exhibitions plus related lectures, workshops, and community outreach. Many of its successful collaborations highlight social and political issues through traditional and unconventional fiber art techniques. In this project, the museum will work closely with Takara, who will be in residence there in early 2021. Community outreach for the project will focus on San Jose’s Japantown, Little Saigon, Mayfair, and downtown neighborhoods.