Oral history interview with Ed Rossbach

Collection ID:
Rossbach, Ed
Austin, Carole
Westphal, Katherine
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
2002 August 27-29
Physical Description:
72 Pages

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Ed Rossbach conducted 2002 August 27-29, by Carole Austin, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Berkeley, California.
Scope and Contents
Rossbach speaks of his early education and the influential teachers he had; his involvement with the All-Arts Club in high school; his family and the Depression; his beginnings with weaving; the rich and full experience of Cranbrook Academy of Art; his education at the University of Washington and professor Lea Miller; his use of the GI Bill; his relationship with dealers and galleries; his workplace at home; the isolation he felt as an artist; the importance of the craft movement and the very international feeling associated with it; the publications he worked on and completed, including, "Making Marionettes," (1938), "Baskets as Textile Art," (1973), "The New Basketry," (1976) and, "The Art of Paisley," (1980); his experience at Rhode Island School of Design and using the advanced power loom; Jim's Caning Shop in Berkeley, where he got a lot of his materials; the community of fiber artists that formed at Fiberworks; the "long" process of working with fiber; his dear friend Lillian Elliott; and the difficulty in preserving his artwork. Rossbach also recalls Maija Grotell, Jack Lenor Larsen, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Olga de Ameral, Pat Hickman, Ginger Laky, Chere Mah Marianne Strengell, Annie Albers, Pat Charley, Mark Balken, Daphne Farago, and others. Katherine Westphal, Rossbach's wife, concludes the interview with Ms. Austin discussing several of Ed's works in the catalog, "Ed Rossbach, 40 Years of Exploration and Innovation in Fiber Art," (1990), the accounts from Ms. Westphal add particular insight to the artwork Rossbach produced and how integral a figure Rossbach was to the field of fiber art.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Charles Edmund Rossbach (1914-2002) was a fiber artist from Berkeley, California. Carole Austin is a curator and writer from Orinda, California.

Immediate Source of Acquisition
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
For information on how to access this interview contact Reference Services.
Conditions Governing Access
Access is to transcript only.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Fiber artists -- California -- Berkeley -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Weavers -- California -- Interviews Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Decorative arts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001