Edith R. Wyle, born in San Francisco in 1918, was often called the ‘high priestess of folk art and crafts,’ devoting more than 30 years of her life to the championing of traditional artisans and craftspersons around the world. For her, folk art, craft, even cooking were all elevated forms of artistic expression which deserved to be recognized as ‘art.’
Originally trained as a painter, Edith founded the Egg and the Eye Gallery in 1965, which later, under her vision and guidance, became the Craft and Folk Art Museum in 1973. The Egg and the Eye was an instant success, raising the profile of Folk Art and Craft, and helping to launch the careers of artists such as Sam Maloof.
Edith was a zealous traveler, who ardently collected wherever her feet took her. She had a particular appreciation for textiles and the artisans that painstakingly constructed them. By the end of her life her textile collection was vast and diverse, as was her collection of books - many of which contain personal artifacts and bits of correspondence leftover from her research and travel.