Estelle Akamine

“After 15 years of experimenting with textiles, what began as a fling with weaving has grown into a commitment. Here am I, dumpster-diving to feed my loom, while this evolving world seems constantly to elude its need for this stodgy, well-worn craft. I have found meaning in an environmental lesson. Like weaving itself – plastic, adaptable, utilitarian, connected, flexible, intimate – these recycled wearables can be lovely to look at too.”

Born in 1954 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Estelle Akamine has lived in San Francisco since 1972, where she maintains a full-time studio. She attended College of Notre Dame, Belmont, California; Citrus Junior College, Azusa, California and San Jose State University, California where she received her BA and MFA degrees. She has received several grants including the Individual Artist Grant, Cultural Council of Santa Clara County (1983); Artist in Residence, California Arts Council (1989-92) and Norcal/Sanitary Fill Co. (1993). She was recipient of a California Arts Council Grant to teach art at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco from 1989-92. In 1998 she has been working on another project to make recyclables from trash on Market Street, also sponsored by the San Francisco Arts Commission.

Akamine has worked experimentally in textiles since 1977 and is known for her innovative sculpture in fibers and wearable art made from industrial or recycled materials. Her work was included in the book The Costume Maker’s Art, edited by Thom Boswell and published by Lark Books, and in the traveling exhibition Fiber R/Evolution, a survey of innovative fiber art that toured the United States for two years during the mid-1980s.

Estelle’s community work involves organizing artists at Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard, presenting Spring and Christmas Open Studios. Her greatest interest is in observing the new and unusual in San Francisco fashion, clothing and performance. She enjoys teaching workshops as a visiting artist.