Interview with Angeles Chapter Activist & Artist, Myla Collier
Myla Collier is the winner of a Sierra Club Angeles Chapter grant to create a traveling mixed media art show called “Climate: A New Look”. Her exhibit will premiere around April.
Tell us about your background before working at the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter.
“I moved to Los Angeles in 1970. As someone who did lots of weekend backpacking in the eastern Sierras and was looking for a husband to start a family with, I naturally gravitated towards becoming involved in the Sierra Club and later became the Advertising Manager for the Activities Schedule. After five years, I married Bruce Collier, the former Chair of the Angeles Chapter. Mary Ferguson, the Sierra Club Office Administrator was my matron of honor. A few years later, when my son started school, I went back to college to receive my BA and MA in Cultural Anthropology.
My family and I then spent twenty years in San Luis Obispo before finally moving back to Orange County in 2013. Around this time, Bruce died from a serious biking accident, and I became very upset about the Trump presidency. With all that happening, I wanted to become more involved in the community and have since worked with the Orange County Political Committee.”
How did climate change become a concern of yours?
“I remember becoming concerned with climate change when I started working for the Sierra Club in the 1970s, right when climate was just coming to the awareness of the public. My concern has always been the sheer size of the problem of climate change.”
How did you come to request the grant to create the climate art project?
“I belong to a national group called the American Tapestry Alliance. One of our members in Florida launched a call for artists to help her create an exhibit having to do with destruction of coral reefs, and I helped her by crocheting and weaving some fish. From there, I started to think about ways to do something similar for Southern California. I thought it would be a great, accessible way to reach people about the issue of climate change and show them some simple ways to take care of our environment.”
Can you tell us about your art project?
“We have chosen a traveling mixed media art exhibit to highlight elements of climate change specific to California in a 3D diorama-like format. There will be six Display Boxes raising awareness for things such as climate change in the Arctic, electrification of cars and public transport, and ocean/stream cleanup. Each box will have a QR code to the Southern Sierran site and with links and resources. Additionally, there will be a DIY craft project workshop at each venue so viewers can directly interact with the exhibit.”
What does weaving mean to you?
“Weaving is an essential part of my life. It provides me a meditative state of involvement on many levels and serves as the context of my work. When I work on a high warp loom with these images, my mind is actively engaged with the flow of a serendipitous design process and the weaving becomes integrated into the idea becoming cloth. Like life, the wandering weft threads trace the path of each individual as they thread their way between events, relationships, and connections.
Do you have any advice for someone who might have a similar project in mind, or would just like to get more involved?
“I can’t say I have any great advice except it appears to me the club is interested in seeing new and different ways to tell our story and. . . . keeping it simple.”
Check out the project here: https://angeles.sierraclub.org/climate_a_new_look
Myla’s past work can be viewed at https://mylastapestry.com.