Interview with Angeles Chapter activist and artist Myla Collier
Myla Collier is the recipient of a grant from the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter to create a traveling multimedia art exhibit titled “Climate: A New Look.” His exhibition 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 a lot of weekend hiking in the Eastern Sierras and was looking for a husband to start a family with, I naturally wanted to get involved in the Sierra Club and later became the Publicity Manager for the Activities Program After five years I married Bruce Collier, former Angeles Chapter President Mary Ferguson, Sierra Club Office Administrator was my matron of honor.A few years later, when my son started school, I returned to university to receive my bachelor’s and master’s degrees 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 of a serious bicycle accident and I was very upset with the presidency Trump. With everything going on, I wanted to get more involved in the community and since then have worked with the Orange County Political Committee.
How did climate change become a concern for you?
“I remember being concerned about climate change when I started working for the Sierra Club in the 1970s, just when climate was just beginning to be taken into account by the public. My concern has always been the magnitude of the problem of climate change.
How did you come to apply for 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 called for artists to help her create an exhibit about the destruction of coral reefs, and I helped her by crocheting and weaving fish. From there, I started thinking about ways to do something similar for Southern California. I thought this would be a great and accessible way to educate people about the issue of climate change and show them simple ways to take care of our environment.
Can you tell us about your artistic project?
“We chose a traveling multimedia art exhibit to highlight California-specific elements of climate change in a 3D diorama-like format. There will be six showcases raising awareness on topics such as climate change in the Arctic, electrification of cars and public transport, and cleaning up oceans and waterways. Each box will have a QR code to the Southern Sierra site and with links and resources. Additionally, there will be a craft workshop at each site so viewers can interact directly with the exhibit.
What does weaving mean to you?
“Weaving is an integral part of my life. It provides me with a meditative state of multilevel involvement and serves as a context for my work. When I work on a high warp loom with these images, my mind is actively engaged in the flow of a chance design process and the weaving becomes part of the idea of becoming fabric. Like life, the wandering threads trace the path of each one by weaving between events, relations 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 that I have good advice, except that it seems to me that the club is interested in
see new and different ways to tell our story and. . . . keeping things simple.