Textiles/FiberAmber Calderilla

“Life is too short to not be creative.”

Amber Calderilla, a.k.a CraftyMantis, is a fiber and textile artisan born and raised in the Inland Empire, growing up and living in Colton for most of her life.

Her interest in art has always been a part of life. The women of her family were all fiber/textile artisans, the men in the family were woodworkers and other skilled craftsmen, while extended family and close friends were artists and musicians.

Her current artistic style is an evolution of the traditional works of making functional and decorative pieces, like blankets and clothing, that the women of her family have made for generations. She takes their foundations and continues to shift them in a new direction of functional art.

She would consider herself a self-taught artist, but the arts departments and programs in her schools and the community were very important in helping her find her creative calling.

Her work has been seen in galleries and artisan events throughout Southern California, including The Heritage Square Museum in Los Angeles, The dA Center for The Arts in Pomona, Bunny Gunner Gallery and Studio C Gallery in Claremont, Riverside Art and Music Festival, and the Ontario Festival of the Arts.

When she’s not making art, she is enjoying art. She goes to art shows and performances. She enjoys learning about other artists, supporting artists and being inspired by what other artists create.

Statement From the Artist:
From personal experience, art is a lifeline. I’ve seen art give people a sense of purpose when they have felt loss. I’ve seen art as a community builder, giving people a place to gather and share their creativity. In my travels throughout the World, I’ve seen art as a cultural identity, in the work of Indigenous artisans and regional crafters.
Art is so much more than what you put on a wall. It is a story told in physical form.

My goals for the future are just like any other artist: I hope to keep creating. I hope that my work inspires others. I hope that my work will continue to be cherished by those who already have my work in their lives. I hope that people recognize that art is everywhere around them and, more importantly, in them. I hope that people continue to see the value creativity has to the well-being of the self and to the community.

Life is too short to not be creative.

A lot of people would say that the opposite of creating is destroying, but I think that even in destruction there is a process and a method. I say that the opposite of creation is consumption. Consuming, to me, is the act of taking something in with no other gain but the material. By contrast, creating is the act of taking something in and acknowledging the exchange; in the experience it gives you, in the ideas it gives you, in the inspiration it gives you. You take in these things and you express them in your own way.

You can find her and her work on Instagram at @crafty_mantis.