Theda Sandiford is an award-winning self-taught fiber and installation artist based in Jersey City, NJ.
Using racial trauma as a starting point, Theda juxtaposes various fibers with a variety of found materials using free form weaving, coiling, knotting, crochet, and jewelry making techniques. Meticulously collected materials and community donations, transformed by their collective memory become “social fabric,” weaving together contemporary issues and personal narratives.
Community art making is key to her process. Theda curates’ multi-disciplinary experiences pairing people, sound and art making to create a safe space to explore themes such as equity & inclusion, sustainability, and personal wellbeing.
Theda has shown extensively nationwide; including Expo Chicago, Untitled Art Fair, SPRING/BREAK ART SHOW, Governor’s Island, New Jersey Arts Annual and American Contemporary Craft: National Juried Exhibition. Theda received Excellence in Fibers VI and Fiber VIII from Fiber Art Now, the 2020 Jersey City Arts, Visual Artist Award, the 2021 Fellowship in Craft from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and 2022 Jersey City Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship.
Microaggressions are defined as subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — everyday interactions or behaviors that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial messages or assumptions toward historically marginalized groups.
The difference between microaggressions and overt discrimination, is that people who commit microaggressions are often unaware they are doing these things – and if you point it out to them, they say, “That wasn’t my intention, you are being too sensitive.” Which is yet another microaggression.
I often have the experience of people touching my hair without asking first, which makes me feel like a merchandise on display and I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve been complimented for being “articulate.” Which presumes that black people are not usually capable of competent intellectual conversation.
The weight of these daily interactions underpins very real consequences… stress, anger, frustration, self-doubt and ultimately feelings of powerlessness and invisibility.
Creating using a combination of free form weaving, knotting and wrapping techniques, I have deployed memories, zip ties, vintage neck ties, ribbon, yarn, paracord, rope, beading and recycled fishing nets and even shopping carts to encourage dialog about implicit bias and stereotypes. My work is repetitious and meditative. I hope to make the invisible, visible as a path towards a more inclusive culture.