Myla Collier Bio


Myla Collier, Life Story Instructor

Myla Collier studied at Parsons, graduated from FIT (Fashion 
Institute of Technology) in New York City, and worked for many years 
in the fashion business in New York and Los Angeles. While still in 
New York she studied tapestry weaving at the Craft Students League.

During the 1980’s while at home with her young son, Gary, she began 
restoring Navajo and Mexican textiles. In seeking deeper knowledge of 
these old fabrics, she volunteered at the Southwest Museum in Los 
Angeles, helping to photograph and catalog its Native American 
textile collection. As a docent there, she also demonstrated Navajo 

This experience sparked her interest in native cultures beyond weaving and into further schooling. So when Gary started school, Myla did too, and eventually earned a B.A. and M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from California State University, Long Beach.  

After moving to San Luis Obispo with Gary and husband Bruce, she taught Cultural Anthropology at Cal Poly and Cuesta College and has been conducting Life Story writing classes in the county since 1997.

Myla recalls “We moved to San Luis in 1992 when Gary started his freshman year at San Luis Obispo High School and my mother Alma Shisler, 86, moved to the Villages Retirement Residence from Cincinnati.  It was at that time I realized Gary had grown up in the suburbs of Orange County and had little clue about his grandmother’s childhood on a wheat farm in Western Kansas.  I needed to do something about that!

Mother and I got together.  I developed a program for Lifewriting and she gathered a few interested residents to start the first class in 1997.  They told me what worked and what didn’t – and I facilitated classes there until 2001, the first year the Emeritus classes began at Cuesta College.” 


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