Friday, April 3, 2009

Old College Friends Reunite

From left to right: YAEL, DANIELLA, BARB

"Good friends are like stars...You don't always see them, but you know they are always there."

Taken from Daniella's blog:
From The Maxims of Marcel Proust.
"Only through art can we get outside of ourselves and know another's view of the universe which is not the same as ours and see landscapes which would otherwise have remained unknown to us like the landscapes of the moon. Thanks to art, instead of seeing a single world, our own, we see it multiply until we have before us as many worlds as there are original artists...And many centuries after their core, whether we call it Rembrandt or Vermeer, is extinguished, they continue to send us their special rays."

Early works of Daniella Woolf

28 Tonite Set Cyclorama for KCET TV in 1976.300 Running Feet 22 feet high, 10,000 yards of Burlap.

Grand Ballroom of the Los Angeles Bonaventure Hotel.Architect John Portman Associates. 600 yards of Silk-Daniella holding a bolt of silk.

Cedars Sinai Medical Offices in Los Angeles commissioned piece

Some of Yael's Creations

Yael says, "I chose colorful floral designs to create a year-round blooming garden."

Materials include tempered glass and ceramic floral and leaf shapes (wet clay rolled with a slab machine, cut, fired, glazed and fired again). These elements are glued to ¼ inch cement board. To keep moisture out the panels are coated with a grout sealer.


Shredded Fiber In the late 70”s I started exploring the use of fiber in a painterly way. I had a large industrial shredder designed that could cut white sisal into 8 inch bits. I than dyed the shredded sisal in many different colors and used it as my color pallet. First I drew the shapes on the canvas and used white glue to adhere the sisal. I was able create both crispy straight lines as well as airbrush effects. By building layer upon layer I was also able to have a 3d effect.

On Wednesday night this week, two of my dearest friends from my college days at UCLA came to Los Angeles and we were reunited for a wonderful evening of nostalgia, fun and laughter. Though Yael and I have kept in touch with each other regularly throughout the years we had lost contact with Daniella since college. A few years ago we reconnected with her via the internet when she started to blog.

Here is a little about our history:

All three of us met in the early 1970's when we were beginning our Master's program in Textile Design. Specifically we were working in the area of Fiber Arts. It was an explosive, emerging era for Fiber Artists on an international scale. Exciting times for young art students like us. Things were changing in the world of weaving and I mean changing in a vast way. Although we were trained on looms in the traditional manner of warps and woofs and dressing looms our visions were being challenged to take traditional weaving to incredible extremes. The photos of Daniella's work in the early 1970's reflect what was happening in the world of "weaving" and on a larger scale with "off-loom fiber sculptures". Non-traditional materials began appearing. Huge ropes like those seen on tug boats, materials like sisal and jute and plastic tubing were utilized. We had large barrels in which we dyed yarns, ropes and all kinds of materials. At the time I was creating whole room environments by knitting on tubular needles that I had constructed out of garden hoses. My environment was made from reams of clear plastic tape. Within my sculptural environment hung clear hand blown glass that I had created in the glass blowing labs. So this was a time of experimenting for all of us. You could find us all working merrily on our projects in the studio we shared. We referred to this campus hideaway lovingly as "The Weavery". There we spent many late hours, each weaving, braiding, plaiting, crochetting, wrapping magical materials into incredible sculptural pieces. This is how our friendships were born so long ago. Spending hours upon hours, months into years working and playing and talking and laughing ,crying, eating, pouring our hearts out to one another. Such a rich time in our young lives when we were etching out who we would become from our young souls who knew not yet, who we really were. In those years, we struggled together, studied and worked on projects, talked endless hours about our art work, the directions our lives should go, our dreams, our loves and so on. We also travelled on endless trips near and far together. Many, many trips up to San Francisco and further.

On my first trip to Europe I was travelling with two cousins and their friend. En route to London my cousins were laughingly telling their friend that it seemed like everywhere we went in LA. that I knew someone. Of course this wasn't true but that's just the way it appeared to them. The funny thing was that shortly after landing at Gatwick airport we were on a train to Victoria Station. Just as we were getting off the train I stepped onto the platform and looked up to see of all people "Yael". At that exact moment their eyes caught mine. "Hi Yael, Hi Joey!" I say and it seems the most normal of occurrences to see them. Only here we are arriving someplace on the other side of the world for the very first time. My cousins look at their friend and say, "See, we told you she knows someone everywhere we go!" It is a funny memory Yael and I laughed about over dinner.

There was also the Winter break that Yael, Daniella and I spent together on the east coast. Daniella and I spent Christmas in Washington D.C., then took the train to meet up with Yael for New Year's Eve in NYC. Then the three of us headed up to Boston together. Great memories we were able to relive.

Where they are now

Yael lives in a lovely, tranquil garden setting on an acre of land in Arcata California. Throughout the years she has always been a working artist. She married Joey the boyfriend she was with when I saw her in London. They have two grown beautiful children. Her incredible artwork can be seen on her website.

Do take a look. She derives much of her pleasure and ideas from her garden. I think you will see this reflected in her recent glass mosaics. She is currently working with mosaic panel pieces. They are ethereal and magical. She has created many such panels for her clients. These panels which dance with color, reflect the nature she sees all around her. Yael has always been a very special person in my life. She has believed in me and supported me thoughout our friendship. She is a true, blue friend. She has been such a strong role model for me, a survivor, a fighter and someone who never gives up. She is full of fire and independence and strength. Read her bio in her blog. You'll be amazed at all she's done. We were fast friends soon after meeting and somehow found in our differences a great compliment to each other.

Daniella divides her time between her homes in Santa Cruz and on Whidbey island. She is a successful working artist and teacher. Through the years her work has evolved and transformed through the use of many mediums. She is currently greatly involved in an art form known as "encaustics." You can learn all about this through her blogs and can even take a workshop from her which I recommend. She's teaching encaustic techniques at a four day workshop in a gallery on La Cienega this week in Los Angeles and workshops throughout the year in places around the country. It is wonderful to be reconnected with Daniella. She is every bit the firecracker, creative genius that made us laugh and added such support to our lives way back so many years ago. Lovely to see her continually creating art for the world to enjoy. See her current work and learn all about what she does on her website and blogs:

As for me, most of you know what I've been up to for the past three decades. I stayed in academia working at UCLA during and after graduation for ten years, not in Art but oddly enough in the Physics department. There I met Mike and after his graduation we married, had our two wonderful daughters and began our family life in Long Beach. I consider it really fortunate that I was able to stay at home while the girls were little. When Athena was in 2nd grade I started substitute teaching and then eventually worked myself into a full time teaching position with Special needs children. Life takes us to strange and wonderful unexpected places. I had never thought I would teach but it became a very significant part of my life. And though I no longer teach full time I continue to teach regularly in a substitue position and often for the Special needs students I love. I feel great joy and happiness in life and have always considered myself so fortunate for my many blessings. My art background has always stayed in my heart. I appreciate great art whether it be in some lovely gallery, grand museum or displayed through the talents of those I know and love be they beginners or quite accomplished. For myself my art work is tucked away in a place that feels like many lifetimes ago. I'll dig out photos and show you what I use to do sometime in some future post. Funny how our paths can start out one way and end up another. You just never know do you?

Life is a wonderful journey.

The other night with three old friends,

proved that true once again.


Madam Tang said...

Cool artworks! Interesting blogging!

A. and M. said...

Good story and I must admit that I believe in friends too.. The arts are absolutely fantasic.

Sigrid Jardin said...

What a wonderful post! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that reunion the other night. Daniella was blissed out to reconnect. Barb, I hope someday that I can get added to your circle of new friends, and meet you in person. I just know I will love you dearly!

barb cabot said...

Dear Sigrid/K, I'm sure we will meet someday. It's a "for sure" on my list and you've already long ago become a friend and an admirer of you on many levels. (speaking of which, been painting lately?) Have fun and be happy.

Marcia said...


You know how much I love these old ties/old friends stories - are you sure we never met in our former lives?

barb cabot said...

Marcia, As a matter of fact I do believe we did meet in a former life...I mean I feel in just this one lifetime I have lived many aspects of other lives. In one of those lives,probably at UCLA our paths intersected more than once and maybe beyond this lifetime...when we were both Italian. Who knows?

girasoli said...

Great story. I really enjoyed reading about the talents of both of your friends. Amazing art work! It must have been a great time back in your college days. Interesting how you went from art to physics to special education. It must have been a great reunion dinner :)

Laurie said...

What wonderful, lifelong friends - how amazing to be able to get together and reminisce. You were all blessed with an amazing education. Stories like yours, how your path in life takes a detour and you never look back, always inspire me.

Daniella's work is amazing - amazing.

Yael's work is absolutely gorgeous - especially her garden.

Lynda said...

Wow Barb, I so enjoyed the piece about you and your two friends... You're such a wonderful friend to all and your friends are so lucky to have that past with you. That part of your life is one that could easily be renewed now.. I could just see you designing and creating interiors for us all to delight in. Your such a good friend and inspiration to us all..Keep writing!! Love, Lynda

menehune said...

Thank you for sharing your friendships. Interesting women - all of you. Rich, rewarding. I think we all sort of weave a chrysalis throughout our life. Interestingly, my work involves vocations and we always feel that our 'training' whether formal or informal, molds and affects whom we are in some way. You have a special gift in these friendships. Again, mahalo for sharing. Menehune

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