Born in Cincinnati, in the mid-1940's Claire Zeisler attended the Institute of Design in Chicago (now part of the Illinois Institute of Technology), where she studied sculpture with emigre artist Alexander Archipenko. She subsequently studied with Bea Swartchild, a Chicago weaver who stimulated Zeisler's interest in fiber art.
In the early 1960s Zeisler began to turn away from the loom in favor of knotting and wrapping the fibers. Her three-dimensional, freestanding works helped to create a fiber revolution by liberating the medium from its dependence on the weaving process.
Kenneth R. Trapp and Howard Risatti Skilled Work: American Craft in the Renwick Gallery (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998)