Jo Ann C. Stabb

screen, mylar, appliqué



linen, organza, rayon;
airbrush, appliqué, shibori

Jo Ann Stabb received both a Bachelor's degree in Pictorial Art, and a Master's degree in Costume Design from the University of California, Los Angeles. I have been on the Design faculty of the University of California, Davis, for over 30 years teaching clothing, fashion, historic costume, ethnographic costume and contemporary wearable design. My creative work has been exhibited nationally, including California, New York, Washington, D.C., New Mexico, Ohio, Kentucky, and internationally in Austria and most recently in South Korea. My written articles and reviews on contemporary wearable art are published in Surface, The Surface Design Association's bi-monthly journal, and American Craft magazine. I have lectured nationally and internationally on clothing and wearable design at many professional associations' conferences including: World Crafts Council, Costume Society of America, International Textile and Apparel Association, Surface Design Association and numerous other museums and arts organizations. I was executive producer of the video series, "Wearable Art from California" that is distributed through the University of California and internationally through the United States Information Agency.

My research and creative work focuses on contemporary textile art and wearables designed for the body. My primary media incorporates surface design processes and embellishments that are inspired by and related to ethnographic sources. These evolving design expressions reflect increasingly mixed multi-cultural techniques, forms and aesthetic sensibilities. I have also written about contemporary wearable artists practicing in the field, as well as other prominent twentieth century artists who expanded their aesthetic expression through their clothing including, writers, architects and painters. I have also curated several exhibitions of clothing and wearable art. Recently I curated an exhibition of international children's clothing that explored the variations among global forms and techniques and re-emphasized the importance of cultural expression in clothing and its role in socialization. I am currently researching global clothing icons and contemporary expressions of them through a survey of practicing international wearable artists. This exemplifies the cross-fertilization of ideas currently taking place and the refinement of technical and aesthetic processes employed by contemporary wearable artists. The rich creativity and individual innovation in this work is highly inspirational and continues to reflect the importance of hand processes, one-of-a-kind design, and individual originality playing against the increasing standardization of contemporary ready-to-wear clothing.

This wearable work, including my studio work and written research articles, adds to our knowledge about human creativity and explores the relationship of textiles to the body. From pre-historical times until today, people have expressed themselves through their clothing and costume, ranging from the strictly functional to the purely aesthetic. This inherent desire to modify, improve, enhance, embellish and clothe the body has inspired a rich heritage of original ideas that continues to evolve and expand as new media and new combinations of techniques extend the repertoire of processes and forms. As old as time and as new as tomorrow, this fascination with fiber and textiles on the body persists. It is central to today's fiber field.

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