Berkeley artist dies at 88

The Associated Press
Monday October 21, 2002

Ed Rossbach, a pioneer in the fiber-arts movement, has died at age 88. 

Rossbach died on Oct. 7 at a Berkeley hospital after a long illness. 

He was an experimental pioneer in the use of non-traditional textile materials in works of art and often employed metal foil, plastic bags, Mylar, twigs, staples and twine in his pieces. 

“His baskets were incredible,” said Inez Brooks-Myers, curator of costume and textiles at the Oakland Museum of California. “He was innovative, using throwaway materials for his baskets, but he also was innovative in his other weaving, where he would apply really old textile techniques in a very modern pop-culture, provocative way.” 

Rossbach was born in Edison Park, Illinois, earned a bachelor’s degree in painting and design from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1940 and later received a master’s degree in art education from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College in 1941. 

He was a professor emeritus of design at University of California, Berkeley, where he taught for 29 years. 

Rossbach’s unique works are now part of collections in numerous museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 

He was also the author of several books including “The Nature of Basketry” and “Baskets as Textile Art.” 

Rossbach is survived by his wife.