Explore Fiber is a collaborative website showcasing and exploring fiber as a fine art material.
My name is Bryana Bibbs. I am a textile artist, painter, and teaching artist based in Chicago, Illinois. My work comes from my personal life, struggles with daily occurrences, the ultimate striving for comfort, and trying to figure out life one step at a time. I am also the founder of a project, The We Were Never Alone Project – a weaving workshop for domestic violence victims and survivors.
I’m sure you’re probably wondering why I decided to create a project specifically for victims and survivors. The short answer to that is I am a survivor of narcissistic abuse. After the nearly decade-long relationship ended, I decided to leave my part-time job and dedicate myself to my art practice again.
Then COVID happened, and everything changed. Exhibitions, including my first ever solo show, were delayed. I was unable to visit my art studio, which meant I had to work smaller. I didn’t realize how much I would fall in love with working smaller during this time. I started working on the Quarantine Series, a series of experimental works created from March until mid-July 2020. Around this time, I read an article about domestic violence cases rising due to the COVID shelter in place rules. After my relationship ended, I wanted to do workshops surrounding victims and survivors of domestic violence…I just never had the confidence or courage until I read this article.
In September, I hosted my first 4-hour workshop with five participants at Compound Yellow in Oak Park, Illinois. That workshop was a cathartic, empowering, and judgment-free experience. One of the many goals of the project is to bring calm and community into someone’s life. For so many years in that relationship, I felt alone, misunderstood, confused, and so many other things. But after that workshop, I felt understood for the very first time.
The work that everyone created showed their personality and their stories (view here: thewewereneveraloneproject.org/the-weaving-gallery). If you or someone you know is interested in taking part in one of the workshops please visit http://thewewereneveraloneproject.org.
I hope these workshops will continue to help others as I look forward to bringing them to other spaces in the US.