Community Banner Workshop

Extended through 2/28/21. This Fall, Berkeley Art Center commissioned Feral Fabric to create a Community Banner to be displayed outside on the bridge pathway in Live Oak Park.

For this project, we were drawn to the snake as a symbol of creativity, healing, regeneration and rebirth. Participants made individual panels reflecting something the maker wanted to change, or shed, in the process of transformation.  We combined these panels to form a 40’ banner which acts as a sort of time capsule, reflecting the hopes, anxieties, and realities of this difficult time. 

Feral Fabric distributed DIY kits consisting of fabric and sewing materials kits to over 50 participants in Berkeley and Oakland, including folks from the senior center, some of our unhoused community members, grade-school chidlren and a boatload of artists. We hosted a ZOOM work session where many of us got a chance to create panels together and discuss the history of radical textiles.
The finished banner contains work by about three dozen participants. The banner and accompanying ZOOM workshop video are on view along the bridge pathway of Berkeley Art Center through February 2021

Community Snake Banner
Mixed Textile media
41 x 3.5’

The Workshop
ZOOM workshop documentation
runtime 6:26 minutes

This project was commissioned by the Berkeley Art Center

included media:
horses video: John Fowler.   
snake video: EYE Film Institute Netherlands, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons  Star video: c/o Prelinger Library,

Current Project Research:
Story Quilts with Unhoused Communities

This is an ongoing archive of the research, influences, and ideas for our current project, making participatory and collaborative story quilts with unhoused communities and the organizations that support them. 

Sketches for future quilts

Check out some of the sketches and references for our project designs. We love reimagining and repurposing classic quilt patterns. Many of these sketches represent the overall composition of a quilt.

Ana Torma

Canadian-Hungarian textile artist Anna Torma’s embroidery adds a dark filter to the everyday mundane. Her work is about family, Hungary, the immigrant experience, and fantasy, but that fantasy presence frequently takes a dark turn. In the panel Permanent Danger, fire breathing mouths with sharp bared teeth surround figures in a garden. Animals with human faces beg the viewer to question their fear of beasts and the unknown. The plants of the surrounding garden transform at the roots, growing into snakelike creatures twisting at the feet of the humans.

We love Torma’s work because it expands the parameters of what a story quilt could be. The panel tells a story that looks familiar, but quickly challenges your assumptions. Naked figures in the garden conjure the image of eden and the creation story, but in this eden there are many figures, and with one of the male figures stroking his erection, the creation scene becomes an orgy scene. The narrative of the story is non-linear, not only do its subjects refuse to conform to puritan structures, the pattern of the quilt also refuses to conform to the familiar patch work structure of traditional, nay puritanical, quilts.

Go to website >

Kawartha Truth and Reconciliation Project

This community quilt project is one of several that have inspired our current project. The KTRSG is a group of first peoples and settlers based in Canada, who meet monthly to share stories and histories, learn from each other, and make quilts. While quilting they talk about the brutal history of Canada’s colonial project, racism, and inequality. Each quilt panel illustrates an individual and varied perspective on the theme of the legacy of the residential schools in Canada.

The residential schools were religious schools meant to convert and assimilate indigeous children to a white Euro-Canadian culture. Many patches illustrate an alienating fracture in the psyche that conjures images of science fiction nightmares, the total inversion of a life, including family, internment, abuse, and trauma. Other patches feature images of their endangered culture as an insistence of their identity.  Visit their website to see the whole quilt or read more about the project.

Go to website >

Current Project:
Story Quilts with Unhoused Communities

In 2020 Feral Fabric started a new series of workshops collaborating with members of unhoused communities in the Bay Area to make story quilts.

For this project, people currently or recently experiencing homelessness make panels to self-represent, tell the story of their community, and process their experience. After the workshops we finish these panels and piece them into a free-form composition, which then becomes a quilt. This project will archive participants’ individual narratives and the stories of these temporary communities. The finished work will be displayed and deployed at many different types of venues to gain visibility and rights for people experiencing homelessness in the Bay Area.

Because of Covid, this project took a long pause in 2020. Now in 2021 we are coming back to this work, and have developed a DIY kit as a way to continue the spirit of our Story Quilt workshops. Kits contain everything participants need to express themselves through textiles, and double as a fix-it and embelishment kit for clothes, tents or anything else made of Fabric.

2020 Participating Organizations: Berkeley Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center, South County Homeless Project, Here/There Camp

To inquire about free Kits for your organization please contact us.

View Project Research >


Since 2018 Feral Fabric has been leading backpatch, banner, and cape workshops at art institutions and in the community. 

Workshop documentation: Berkeley Art Center

Our workshops look at fabric as a radical tool for communication and continue the Bay Area’s tradition of radical textile production and clothing modification. We see these workshops as part of the lineage of Native Funk and Flash, DIY, Punk, story quilts and political banners. Because of Covid 19, in 2020 we’ve modified our in-person workshops for ZOOM. We’re also using DIY kits that help bring a workshop together virtually.

In our backpatch workshops, we encouraged participants to celebrate their identity and get a little weird using applique and other surface decoration techniques. These workshops have taken place as unsanctioned pop-ups at parks and festivals, at San Francisco’s Sunday Streets, as programming at NIAD and BAMPFA, and at Figment’s decommodified art fair.

As an extension of our backpatch workshops, we also held free banner making workshops at the Oakland Pride Parade, the Oakland May Day Labor march, and at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. At the parade and march, participants made fabric signs, capes, and banners to self-represent, and demonstrate their beliefs and concerns. Participants at our BAMPFA workshop contributed to a community banner around shared values and social change, featuring portraits and quotes of people in their community, plus activists including Janet Mock, Yuri Kochiyama, Ed Roberts, and Bobby Seale.

In 2019 we held a free cape-making workshop in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. Inspired by the neighborhood’s history of nonconformity, which persists even today, we wanted to collaborate with residents on a series of capes that reflect that defiant difference. Participants expressed their own style, interests, and concerns in their contributions, and everyone got to pose in front of the prom-style neighborhood banner. The final works combined the interests of a vastly varying demographic in the creation of a surprisingly cohesive series of wearable artworks.

Join our newsletter or follow us on instagram for details on our upcoming workshops.

Coming Up
June 17, 2021
Back Patch Zoom Workshop
with SCRAP  (San Francisco, CA)

March 13, 2021
Back Patch, Banner, and Flag Zoom Workshop
with Dorchester Center for the Arts (Cambridge MD)

Story Quilt Workshops with Unhoused Community Members
Extended Community Banner and Zoom workshop commissioned by Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley. Through Feb 28 2021

Workshop Documentation: NIAD

Past Workshops
Back Patch Zoom Workshop. Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley
2019    Back Patch Workshop. NIAD Art Center, Richmond
2019    Community Banner Workshop. Sunday Streets,
             Western Addition, SF
Wearable / Cape Workshop. Sunday Streets, Tenderloin, SF
    Back Patch Workshop. Sunday Streets, Mission District, SF 
2019    May Day Sign Workshop. Frank Ogawa Plaza,  Oakland
2018    Oakland Pride Banner Workshop. Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland
    Back Patch WOrkshop. Figment : De-Commodified Participatory 
             Art Event, Mosswood Park, Oakland 

2018    Back Patch and Banner Workshop. Berkeley Art Museum

Lygia Clark. O eu e o tu  (The I and the you). 1967

One of the more invisible casualties of the endless pandemic year has been embodied experience.

Alongside the rise in popularity of ambient television, dissociation reigns large. Thus, on the cusp of a new vaccinated era of existence, and all the possibilities that might bring, let us celebrate the body! Let us remember the forgotten experiences of all that is corporeal, haptic, and visceral.

For the fourth volume of the Feral Fabric Journal we will look at textile and fiber art that concerns itself with the human form.

Volume 4: The Body
Submit your bodily proposals to with a brief description of your proposal by March 31 (150 words or less). The final article should be between 750-2500 words. We are offering a small stipend for contributions.

Proposal deadline: March 31, 2021 midnight
Proposal Length: 150 words or less
Response: April 7
Final article first draft due: May 15, midnight
Final article length: 750-2500 words
Returned with Edits: May 22 , midnight
Final draft due: May 28, midnight
Publish date: early June