Pure joy! Jeanne loves her fiber work and color and talks with joy about color, creativity, and her students’ creations. Jeanne works primarily collaging different kinds of paper that she’s colored with dyes, wax crayons, and paints. From time to time, she makes a foray into 3-D using papers, silk and other fibers with paper mache to build stars, creatures, and nest-like baskets.
She’ll be teaching a three-hour class on Friday, September 9 from 11:30 to 2:30. Jeanne tells us, “We’ll build freeform baskets out of a variety of textured, colorful materials: yarns, string, and metallic thread, fabric scraps and recycled festive papers, grasses, birchbark, and lichen, using cornstarch to hold it all together.” What terrific fun Jeanne’s students will have! Let’s meet Jeanne and then you can sign up for her class here.
As we celebrate the tenth anniversary of Fiber College, tell us how community plays a part in your life as a fiber artist.
Going into schools to do 2 and 3-D collage workshops or inviting people to do collage in my studio, particularly around various holidays, are ways that community plays a part in my life as a fiber artist. We create Valentine hearts, Mother’s day cards, Halloween masks, stars for festive events throughout the year, and more.
How do you keep your creativity fresh and new? What have you experimented with in the past year?
To keep creativity fresh and new I play a lot. I take a bag of collected (from cleanup attempts) beautiful (sometimes) painted scraps of mixed fibers, upend it, and do a timed collage. I fly with happenstance and don’t think too much.
I’ve experimented with sunpainting on thin and thick papers and on silk. It’s a dye that reacts to the sun, causing shapes of whatever you leave on the material to leave a silhouette-like imprint. I did a lot of layering up with plants, string, and stencils I cut.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given to a student or a another fiber friend?
Advice in 3 parts: Tell the inner critic to go take a hike. Don’t take praise or criticism too much to heart. It can be irrelevant at best, and at worst destructive. Either way can distract from your own voice, which leads to the third part of this advice: Listen to the piece you’re working on; it will tell you what it needs.
You’ve hit a creative roadblock and need to get back into your creative groove. How would you do that?
I make a determination that it’s time to clean my studio and lo and behold, all kinds of inspiration come pouring in. But if that doesn’t work, I get together with a couple of other fiber artist friends and we hand over to each other pieces we’ve reached our own limit with. To complete someone else’s piece, one does not have to be encumbered by the angst or preciousness that piece might hold.
What does your studio space look like now? What change would you make if you could?
My studio space is filled now and nearly always with colorful vibrant chaos, fiber projects on every side in various stages of completion: masks, crowns, baskets, creatures, pictures. Some painted string dries on the rungs of my grandmother’s maple stool. What would I change? More shelves, drawers, storage containers. And to complete what I’ve started.
Tell us about a proud moment you’ve had as a result of your students’ efforts.
A proud moment I’ve had as a result of students’ efforts: last year as a guest teacher for a week in a local elementary school, I taught a number of paper mache and collage classes. Seeing the flock of imaginative and beautiful creatures that resulted from that time was a thrill.
How do you imagine your work might change in the next three to five years?
What I want to do with my work the next three to five years is to go out on a limb with colored string, yarns, and more, and see what the laws of gravity and cornstarch glue (used in fiber and paper mache) bring to the materials. Thread, as well. Maybe paper.