Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Textile Society of America 9th Biennial Symposium, (2004).


Presented at “Appropriation • Acculturation • Transformation,” Textile Society of America 9th Biennial Symposium, Oakland, California, October 7-9, 2004. Copyright 2004 Textile Society of America.


This paper reviews the creative work of Joanne Segal Brandford. She received her BA in Decorative Art in 1955 and her MA in Design in 1967 from the University of California Berkeley with Ed Rossbach. Her work as artist, scholar, teacher, and curator was fueled by her interest and expertise in ethnic textiles, especially those of North, Central, and Andean America. Her widely exhibited innovative nets and sculptural forms were made by interlacing, knotting, and twining of primarily natural materials, sometimes dyed. Her mastery of handling materials in such a variety of ways was driven by the research and curatorial work she undertook. Her art is deeply rooted in the study of ancient and ethnographic textiles.

Brandford was a Research Fellow in Textile Art at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard from 1972-78. In 1984 she curated a traveling exhibition with a detailed catalog of American Indian Baskets, “From the Tree Where the Bark Grows;” she curated “The North American Basket 1790-1976” at the Worcester (MA) Craft Center. Brandford was Research Historian for the exhibition and catalog for “Knots and Nets” as well as a featured artist. She catalogued the basket collection at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, CT. Brandford taught at UC Berkeley, Rhode Island School of Design, Montclair State College (NJ), Wheelock College, Mass College of Art, and the Radcliffe Seminars in the Boston area, bringing the educational philosophy of the UC Design Department to the East coast.