Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, Summer Rogers sewed, knitted, and crocheted, like her mother and her grandmother. They also made quilts and even did some tatting, a way of making lace with a shuttle and thread, popular during the Victorian era.
Rogers says her grandmother is from the Midwest and making quilts for special occasions was a tradition she had.
Rogers loves making things with her hands.
“I find the practice of it very therapeutic, the actual physical action of making something and then being able to use it,” Rogers said. “Something I write about a lot is the distinction between craft and art. I always call what I do fiber art instead of craft because I think just because it's utilitarian doesn't mean it's not art.”
Rogers went to UC Santa Cruz planning to major in anthropology, but she happened to take a class in the History of Art and Visual Culture (HAVC) department and switched.
“I fell in love with how it’s kind of like the anthropological and historical perspective, but through visuals, as opposed to just writing and language,” she said. “I think it's just an interesting way to view history and the world and how people interact with their surroundings through artistic productions.”
Last year, Rogers got the Porter HAVC undergraduate scholarship to study textile displays in a museum. She went to Washington, DC over the summer to see how textiles were displayed.
This quarter Rogers is taking a class on modernism, called Death Desire and Modernity — one on Indigenous Mexican Visual Culture.
“I really love the classes here,” she said. “Our faculty and the graduate students are awesome. They’re just amazing.”
Along with the art, Rogers has a Chinese class.
Roger started studying the language as a teenager. She took classes at her high school, which is on the California State University Northridge campus.
“I fell in love, and I got exposed to a lot of the culture and a lot of the contemporary art coming out of China, which is just very interesting,” Rogers said. “They’re living under a controlling state but finding ways to subvert it through art.”
Rogers got to do a short exchange program, staying with a family in Beijing and staying with a family and going to a high school there for a week or so. She also got to go to Xi’an, where she went to see the Terra Cotta warriors. She has continued studying it at UC Santa Cruz.
Along with her studies, Rogers works for the Communications, Events and Marketing Office (CEMO). Last year she saw a posting for a job as an usher and got hired, and this year she got promoted to house manager, which she’s enjoying.
“It’s a cool opportunity because I get to go see all the performances and see a little behind the scenes,” she said. “I get to see all the Arts Division people, which is fun.”
Rogers is familiar with theater — she and her mother volunteered making costumes for children’s productions and doing emergency mending before performances.
She also loves the beach and the trees nearby, and dealing with the public at her job makes her appreciate the Santa Cruz attitude.
“People here are just nicer,” she said. “I work in customer service and I’ve worked in customer service before, and people elsewhere were a lot meaner generally to service workers. But people here are so polite and their children are so polite.”