Deborah Valoma is chair of CCA’s Textiles Program, and professor of textiles and graduate fine arts. From 2008 to 2011 she served as Director of Fine Arts and organized the international symposium Craft Forward, in which theorists and practitioners debated future trajectories of the field. She acted as Interim Dean of Fine Arts in spring 2016 and now is Special Advisor to Dean of Fine Arts, Jim Voorhies. She also serves as the Fine Arts Learning Assessment Coordinator and Co-Chair of the college-wide Learning Assessment Leadership Team. Previous appointments include Special Assistant to the Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and Studio Assessment and Fine Arts Curriculum Coordinator.
Deborah’s specialized field of research is the cultural history of textiles as a global aesthetic practice. In addition to teaching a comprehensive series of graduate and undergraduate courses on textile history and theory, she has written articles including “Cloth and African Identity in Bahia, Brazil” (Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion, 2010); “Lia Cook: In the Folds” (Brown/Grotta, 2007); and “The Impermanent Made Permanent: Textiles, Pattern and the Migration of a Medium” (Fiberarts, 2005).
In 2010 Deborah edited and wrote the introductory essay for a special issue of Textiles: Journal of Cloth and Culture on the topic of dust. And recently completed a book on the preeminent Native American weaver in California titled Scrape the Willow until It Sings: The Words and Work of Basket Maker Julia Parker (Heyday, 2013), which is the Gold Metal winner of the Commonwealth Club’s California Book Award for Contributions to Publishing.
As a studio artist, Deborah explores the material, conceptual, and poetic nuances of the medium through a hybrid practice incorporating both digital weaving technologies and hand processes. Deborah’s work has been exhibited at galleries and museums, including the de Young Museum, San Francisco; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Textile Museum, Washington DC. She has also designed costumes for several dance companies in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 2011 Deborah was an artist in residence at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon, in conjunction with theWeaving, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, a retrospective exhibition of the work of weaver Laurie Herrick curated by Namita Gupta Wiggers. Her piece, Longing, took the form of an installation and performance that integrated the shared sensual, spatial, and rhythmic dynamics of weaving and dance.
Subsequently Deborah collaborated with dancer and choreographer Victor Alexander on a full length dance production entitled Line of Sighs, which was funded by grants from Chicago Dancemakers Forum and the Illinois Arts Council. This work has been performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Chicago (2013–2014).
Deborah was a founding member of Julia Morgan School for Girls and has served on advisory councils and on boards of directors of several community-based art organizations that focus on the preservation of traditional performance arts from diverse cultures and countries, including Cuba and Brazil. Currently she is the Artistic Director of Batalá San Francisco, a Brazilian percussion company.
Deborah has curated several exhibitions, including most recently,Lines That Tie: Carole Beadle and Lia Cook at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco.