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The membership of the Textile Arts Council elects volunteers to serve on the Textile Arts Council Board to govern the organization. These board members reflect a great diversity of interests in the textile arts community.

If you have any questions regarding TAC, please contact our office manager who is in charge of the day-to-day business of the Council. We can be reached at (415) 750-3627 or via e-mail at


Chair: Leslee J Budge
Co-Chair: Shirley Juster

Secretary: Susan Bloch

Treasurer: Ulla de Larios


SOPHIA ALDRICH became interested in the beauty of textiles while watching her mother designing and working with tailors in putting her wardrobe together. Later she worked in the National Palace Museum in Taipei; its collections also exposed her to beautiful textiles and helped her to continue her interest. In the 1980s, she started collecting formal Chinese robes and minority outfits. She joined TAC in 1995. Since joining she has enjoyed learning about textiles and costumes from the lectures and sharing her love of textiles with other TAC members. Sophie also worked for Non-profit organizations in philanthropy throughout her career. Prior to her retirement, she helped World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in building a global major gifts fundraising capacity.

ALICE BEASLEY: I am an artist who lives and works in Oakland, California. I have been making portraits of people and objects since 1988. Fabric is my chosen medium of expression through which I incorporate the same light, shadow and realistic perspective used by artists in other media. Rather than using paint, dyes or other surface treatments, however, I rely instead on finding color, line and texture in the print of commercial fabric and thread or in fabrics that I print myself.  As one reviewer described my work, “it [is] the details in the needlework, the subtle patterns in the fabric that are so haunting.” Ultimately my goal is to celebrate the human condition in work that both intrigues and inspires the viewer.

SUSAN BLOCH is a fiber creator using various techniques in knitting, quilting and embroidery. She has served on other Boards.

PATRICIA BRUVRY is a fabric artist and fiber educator with over 25 years of experience. She is also a traveler, textile collector, a painter and designer of quilts and Art to Wear. She has a M.F.A. in Fiber and Mixed Media. 

LESLEE JANE BUDGE has had a love of fashion since she made her first Barbie Doll dress in the 7th grade. In the 1980’s she followed her passions to create one-of-a-kind wearable art, which she showed and sold in galleries and museums across the country. In 1984 she won best in show in the functional category judged by Jack Lenor Larsen at the Gayle Wilson Gallery in Southampton New York. She was one of the featured artists in the Newark Museum Contemporary Wearable Art show and had her jackets for sale at Julie’s Artisans’ Gallery in New York City. In the late 80’s she matriculated to a Master of Business Administration program, earning an MBA with honors in the mid 90’s. Her other passion is healthcare administration where she has applied her business and program management skills. A love of textiles, especially Japanese and African, guides her interest in educating the public about textiles.

RENÉE COCKE was the managing partner of KRIMSA Fine Rugs and Decor in San Francisco, established in 2002.  Her love of world travel, connection to other cultures, and interior design turned her job into her life-long passion. Renée, along with her incredible team, created one the top rug stores in the country. While at KRIMSA Renée organized and hosted numerous industry meetings, discussions, and lectures. Renée is an avid supporters of TAC, the San Francisco Bay Area Rug Society, and The San Francisco Antique Rug & Textile show.  In her spare time she enjoys spending time at the beaches of the California coast and walking her Cavalier King Charles Ollie.

MARY CONNORS: (served 2005-2011, Chair 2010-2011) Mary is an independent scholar currently residing in the Bay Area after more than 30 years residence in various Southeast Asian countries. During her time in Asia she focused her study on the many ethnic groups found in the region and the crafts of these people, especially textiles. Author of Lao Textiles and Traditions (Oxford University Press, 1996), Mary has also contributed to exhibitions and catalogs such as “Beyond Tradition: Lao Textiles Revisited” Museum of FIT, NYC, 1995, “Weaving Tradition: Carol Cassidy and the Woven Silks of Laos”, Museum of Craft & Folk Art, SF 2004 and “Tai Textiles in the Mekong Region: Continuity and Change” Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi 2005. She is the co-founder of the Textile Arts Council’s Ethnic Textiles Study Group and the annual Textile Bazaar. Since 2012 Mary has been coordinating International Tours for TAC.

KATHERINE ZURICH FUNG is the owner of her travel agency “Far Fung Places.” She has expertise in West Africa, Southeast, Bhutan and China travel and  textiles. She is interested in bringing awareness to traditional cultures and to help preserve those fragile societies with lecturers in those areas. 

JOAN HART: I have loved textiles from an early age, bouncing on my grandmother’s deliciously soft burgundy velvet sofa. However, I did not focus on this love until about 25 years ago. I have a Ph.D. in Art History from UC, Berkeley and taught at Indiana University. I taught Modern Art and Perceptual Psychology, as well as Renaissance Art. It was a chance encounter with a paisley shawl in a Maine antique store that started my interest to preserve and collect paisley shawls. I began learning more, finding more beautiful shawls and before long I became an expert in the area with the best private collection of Kashmir and paisley shawls dating from the 17th to early 20th century. I have published a few articles on the shawls, in the Textile Society of America online publications. I am writing a book of essays on them.

SHIRLEY JUSTER loved fabric and fashion from an early age. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, she initially pursued those interests in retail, shopping the women’s wear markets of New York, Paris and London, developing import product across Asia. A bonus to this travel was exposure to the textile traditions of other cultures and a deepening appreciation for the role of textiles in our daily lives. After moving to San Francisco she also made a move to manufacturing, establishing a large volume, high quality sweater factory in the Bay Area that produced for well-known American brands. She is constantly inspired by the creativity of those around her, finding it an incentive to pursue her own interest in designing and creating clothing and knits of any variety.

In addition to her work for the Textile Arts Council, Shirley served as past Chair of the Washington University Bay Area Alumni Club and as vice chair of Alameda County’s Crisis Support Services executive committee. She is also a volunteer and mentor for San Francisco Score.

BARBARA KELLY is well-known and admired in the Bay Area for her exemplary teaching skills in sewing and pattern making. She has taught at CCA, the Sewing Workshop, San Francisco City College, at a local high school and in programs at the de Young Museum. Her wide range of related experience includes writing, editing, fundraising and office management.

ELLIN KLOR holds an BA degree in art history from UC Berkeley and a Masters of Library Science from Simmons College in Boston. She is a lifelong sewer, quilter, and collector of folk art. Ellin has traveled in Europe, Latin America, and Japan. She has utilized her research skills for travel planning, including assisting with the Textile Arts Council’s tours to New York (2018) and Los Angeles (2019). She welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the important role that TAC plays in supporting the textile arts at the Fine Arts Museums and the Bay Area.

MIRKA KNASTER: As a long-time writer and editor, Mirka has used words to convey ideas and emotions to others. As an artist, she communicates with fiber—textiles and paper—because it’s exhilarating to engage with color, texture, line, shape and space, pattern and design. She’s fascinated by how textiles have been central to human life since earliest times. Through extensive experiences on other continents, she became aware of how they play a universal role in celebrating beauty and imparting feelings. Textiles tell stories about the cultures that create them and mark stages of the life cycle as well as express the relationship people have to their environment.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that Mirka became a fiber artist, though given her academic degrees, no one would have predicted it. During childhood, her mother taught her how to sew, embroider, mend, darn, crochet, and knit, just as her mother and grandmother had taught her in Eastern Europe. What she didn’t know until probably mid-life was that her paternal grandfather had worked as a designer in the textile industry in Łódź, when it was the Manchester of Poland and supplied the Russian empire.

Mirka creates 2-D and 3-D art pieces with a variety of textiles, whether purchased in Asia, hand-dyed, upcycled, or commercial, sometimes combining them with paper. She stitches by hand and machine, embellishes with mark-making, beads, and more. She has given workshops in making unique fiber art cards and stitching on paper and fabric.

JEANIE LOW has been on the TAC Board since September, 2019. She is a fiber artist creating quilts from brocades, silk, ikat and other textiles from around the world. She was the Featured Artist for the QUILT San Francisco 2019. Her quilts have also been exhibited at the Pacific International Quilt Festival, Santa Clara, Ca. and in private collections. Jeanie is interested in global textile traditions, new innovations, and designs in fashion, industry and traditional use. She also gives fabric origami workshops. She is the Historian of the San Francisco Quilters Guild where she is compiling member quilt maker stories. She co-chaired the SFQG 2001 Quilt Show and has curated special exhibits. She is also an author, consultant and lecturer in Chinese American Genealogy.

ULLA DE LARIOS: Growing up in Sweden, Ulla learned many of the textile practices at home and also at school. She always had yarn going through her fingers. As a young teenager her grandmother taught her how to warp and thread a loom, her only technical weaving education! After studying Math and Physics at University, she emigrated to the US and realized that it was in the textile field that she belonged. For twenty years she had a studio in Palo Alto and was able to concentrate on weaving everything from big wool rugs to very fine silks. She has an MFA in Textile Art and is an exhibiting weaver. Her association with TAC goes back many years. 

SUE MILLER created and ran a fabric store (Poppy Fabric) specializing in natural fibers. Many fabrics were bought at their source: ikats in Guatemala, French Provencial prints in France, and silks in Italy. Like most small business owners, she wore many hats, doing the merchandising, marketing, advertising, and buying. The business came to include a design services department, a class and workshop program, and fashion shows, including one with Edith Head. After 21 years, she sold her share of the business to her partner to have more time to travel and write. She has been an adviser to startups and a mentor to women with ideas for developing a business. Her greatest pleasure has come from traveling the world on the lookout for stunning and unique textiles.

GRACIELA RONCONI is the owner of her vintage boutique with over twenty eight years as an entrepreneur. She has also studied fashion merchandising at City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University. She is dedicated to fiber preservation and sustainability.


RUTH ANDERSON has studied Japanese tsutsugaki textiles for a number of years, both in the U.S. and in Japan. She has given talks on Japanese textiles to groups in the Bay Area including TAC’s Ethnic Textile Study group. At the University Art Museum, Berkeley, she assisted in organizing several shows on East and Southeast Asian fiber arts. At the UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, she organized an exhibition on masks and costumes of Japan, China and Korea, and at the Wing Luk Museum, Seattle, she organized “By Hand: Turning Fiber into Art in Mainland Southeast Asia” Ruth also participated in a cataloging and storage project of the Asian and other textile collections at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum, UC Berkeley. Currently she is pursuing her interest in documenting contemporary tsutsugaki workshops in Japan.

MIKKI BOURNE More than she can recall what she learned in high school, recipes and dance step choreography, Mikki can tell you what she wore the first day of kindergarten and what the fabric was on each couch or chair her mother used to decorate the models of her builder- father’s houses.

Following university Mikki enjoyed a brief career in journalism, and then went onto become an ordained rabbi (the first woman rabbi in the Northwest as well as the first woman ecumenical chaplain for the California State Assembly).

But it was her dozen years' experience as a development professional for an institute of higher education and Bay Area museum, as well as her expertise as a design professional (her portfolio includes having been the conceptual designer for the interfaith chapel at San Francisco International Airport) that prompted an invitation in 2007 for her to serve on our Textile Arts Council Board. She views her mission of helping the board to raise monies for the textiles department of great purpose and therefore has remained on for several years as advisor to the Development Committee.

CATHERINE CERNY has had a career in textiles over more than 30 years. This included teaching and research at the university level, faculty advisor for an historic costume and textile collection as well a working as a costumer for various professional repertory theatre companies. Her recent interests include developing an extensive collection of ethnographic and tourist textiles and dress focusing on minority traditions, with attention to diverse textile fabrications, embellishments and garment structures.

ALEX FRIEDMAN is a tapestry artist with over 40 years of experience. Her first textile venture was sewing lavender sachets at age 5. After she completing her college degree in art history she returned to textiles with passion. She was hired by the Michelle Lester Studio in NYC to help weave a large tapestry commission for Pan Am’s first fleet of 747s. She left the studio to continue on her own, weaving corporate, liturgical as well as many private commissions. She was the Director and Board member of the American Tapestry Alliance (2000-2008), a support community for over 600 members both here and abroad. She has had opportunities to live abroad and travel focusing on textiles. Since returning to the Bay Area she maintains a studio and has been an active member of Tapestry Weavers West, Baulines Craft Guild and Fiber Dimensions. She exhibits internationally, lectures and teaches from time to time. Besides contemporary tapestry she is very interested in ethnic and antique textiles. If textiles were less fragile she is sure they would tell the most complete story of humankind.

MARLENE GOLDEN learned to weave over forty years ago at the City College of San Francisco classes. Retirement 20 years ago gave her the opportunity to spend more time weaving as well as expanding her knowledge of more complex weave structures. First working with 16 shafts and then moving up to a 24 shaft computerized loom has challenged her to weave cloth of more complexity. A goal is to weave cloth that wouldn’t be available commercially.

She is an active member of Loom & Shuttle Guild, having served as both president and treasurer, and has served on the Advisory Board of Conference of Northern California Handweavers (CNCH), Inc.

SERENA LEE founded Textile Odyssey in 2000 with the idea of developing unique, innovative tours that connect cultures through textile arts.  Her interest in fiber arts, handcrafted textiles, clothing design, and unique cultures led her to travel extensively in remote areas of Asia, South America, and the South Pacific throughout much of her life. Between 1973 -1976 and 1982 -1984, she spent five years in Asia, observing the fascinating cultures in many countries. From the larger cities in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan, she made my way to small towns and villages in China, Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. She has presented her research on the dress of ethnic minorities in northern Vietnam and southwest China internationally at various venues including Stanford University, the 16th Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, the Textile Society of America Symposium 2008 and 2014, the de Young Museum, the World Eco-Fiber Textile Forum 2008, UC Davis, the Association for Asian Studies Conference 2011, the Southwest University of Nationalities (Sichuan, China), the Thai Studies conference 2016, the Society for Asian Arts, and the Asian Borderlands Research Network. She is the founder and leader of TAC’s Ethnic Textiles Study Group.

BARBARA SHAPIRO was involved in textiles from an early age. She began weaving in 1975 in New York City. Barbara combines her rich knowledge of historical and ethnic textiles with wide technical experience in weaving and surface design. Her weaving reflects her travels and studies as well as her work in theater costume design. After being involved in the San Francisco Art to Wear movement in the 1970s and 1980s, Barbara shifted her focus to non-functional textile art. Barbara’s wall pieces speak of historic textiles of many cultures, burnished with the patina of time and imbued with a very personal sense of beauty. Through her many publications, workshops, and lectures, Barbara shares her knowledge as an educator and writer. She also served on the boards of the Textile Society of America and was a docent at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art.

SHELLEY WELLS has a background in higher education and community based non-profits.  Her graduate work in cultural anthropology had an emphasis in women’s studies, oral history and the role of textiles in society.  Shelley also has a background in fundraising. Her lifelong interest in textiles started at an early age with knitting, sewing and needle work.


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