Victoria Z Rivers is Professor Emeritas in Design at the University of California Davis. Some of Victoria’s honors include receiving a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowship, a Fulbright/Indo-American Fellowship for research in India, a US Artist Abroad through the US Department of State and former board member of the Textile Society of America. As an artist, researcher and scholar, she has been chosen to deliver prestigious memorial lectures, keynote addresses and presentations of her research and artwork nationally and internationally. Solo and group art shows include venues in Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand, Ghana, Swaziland, China, and the Cook Islands, as well as throughout the USA. She authored a book called The Shining Cloth: Dress and Adornment that Glitter, published in London and New York, and wrote numerous articles on world textiles and dress and several lead chapters in an encyclopedia on world dress and textiles. She recently authored a chapter in the book, The Sacred Textiles of India.
As an extension of Victoria’s research and love for textiles and traditional dress, she began making jewelry with antique amulets, whose histories and mysteries continue to fascinate her. Jewelry traditionally completed a woman’s dress and incorporated the same meanings as the clothing’s embroidered or woven motifs. Amulets functioned similarly to ward off the evil eye. Berber (Amazigh) jewelry is considered extremely protective for the white light reflected by the silver, as well as by the motifs and shapes of the talismans. Many pieces were gifts from a woman’s family and became part of her dowry, so the jewels also conveyed family love, identity within a certain group or community, and represented a degree of financial security due to the value of the metal. From Morocco and Southeast Asia, Victoria seeks pieces imbued with a patina of age and wear – a soulful quality. Then she works with these treasured elements to create modern jewelry that embodies deep meaning.
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