Artist: June J. Jacobs
Interview 8: June J. Jacobs exhibited in the 2009 World of Threads Festival exhibition Common Thread International Exhibition Part 2. She also showed in the 2012 exhibition De rerum natura (On The Nature of Things).
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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.
June J. Jacob's fibre work is inspired by nature's miracles. She lives and works in an environment that allows her to witness seasonal extremes and transformations. She uses felting, nuno-felting, hand and machine embroidery, appliqué and quilting. Her style is generally figurative and realistic.
June has been active in Saskatchewan fine crafts for more than thirty years in a variety of capacities: fibre artist, exhibitor; owner of the The Hand Wave Gallery for 29 years, educator, workshop participant, adjudicator and juror. Craft Council member, Carfac member; Sask Prof. Art Gallery president and member and fibre guilds member and co-ordinator of many arts related activities. She has recently completed three art residencies: Banff, Vallauris, France and Quebec City. Website
June J. Jacobs in studio 2009, photo: Paul Paquet
June J. Jacobs outside of her gallery The Hand Wave Gallery ; owner operator for 29 years photo: Paul Paquet
Tell us about your work?
My work covers various genres; wearable garments and functional items…scarves, hats, shawls, jackets and accessories, blankets, and runners. I also like to create sculptural vessels and 3D hangings which allow me to push the textural, colour and composition of works. The concept based sculptural work has forced me to push textiles beyond its traditional notions and concentrate on abstraction and integration of ideas, perceptions and technique in a sculptural context.
From where do you get your inspiration?
The majority of my inspiration comes from my immediate natural environment with all its subtle seasonal changes, textural components and accessibility. But it also comes from the books and magazines I've read, the programs I listen to and shared conversations with fellow artists.
A Winter Thaw detail 3 D wall hanging; hand felted wool fleece hand dyed 2010 – photo: Grant Kernan
Why did you choose to go into fibre art?
I was introduced to stitchery and sewing by an aunt, my mother's sister, when I was a little girl. The skills I learnt then continued to develop throughout my teenage years and influenced many choices through my life. Now in my fifties, I realize that fibre chose me as a means to express myself.
Which is your favourite fibre medium?
I love all fibre however, in the last five to ten years, felting has become my favourite and my focus. The language of my hands is felting. It is the oldest fibre technique, predating machines. It is the use of animal fibres and the transformation from the raw state to the object or the sculpture or the garment that nourishes my imagination. I also incorporate quilting and embroidery techniques and other surface decoration techniques extensively into my felted works.
Vestal, sculpture; wool fleece; hand felted; acrylic textile medium 2007, 80 x 35 x 18 cm, photo: Grant Kernan.
What other mediums do you work in, and how does this inform your fibre work?
Mixed media sculpture, wood and ceramics, paper have all informed my sculptural textile works. The way volume, surface treatment, textural elements are handled in these mediums influences the treatment and choices made for my textiles works. This is especially considered when you work in collaboration with other artists.
What specific historic artists have influenced your work?
William Morris, for his skill of incorporating colour, design, patterns and creating incredible compositions. The Impressionists, in particular Picasso who moves freely between painting, sculpture and ceramics and Matisse's cut paper compositions and Chagall's figurative paintings. All the renaissance painters for their composition and mastery of skill of painting. Abstract painters in general.
What specific contemporary artists have influenced your work?
Andy Goldsworthy and his conceptual relationship to the natural environment and his ability to see the perfect repetition in nature's designs yet achieve a sense of random placement in his own sculptures. Swiss born Dutch Sculptor, Markus Raetz' vision and skill of moving between mediums of painting, ceramics, wood and metal and the magic of his 3D tromploie wonders keeps me questioning how and what I see.
What role do you think fibre art plays in contemporary art?
If it is art, the element of fibre is inconsequential. Because there is so much art available, categorizing it as Fibre Art may help the viewer and may make it more accessible to a timid or more reticent public.
What other fibre artists are you interested in?
French artist, Simone Pheulpin, fibre sculptor whose detailed textile sculptures awed me by their depth and detailed yet simplistic imagery. American, Textile artist Joan Livingstone large felted industrial scale sculptures capture sensuous forms that command a space and one is compelled to seek an opportunity to touch them. Deidre Scherer's appliquéd masterpieces paint a poetic picture that begs your imagination to invent intricate stories.
Despite All Odds II, sculpture; wool fleece; hand felted; acrylic textile medium 2008, 95 x 35 x 18 cm, photo: June J. Jacobs
Tell us about your studio and how you work:
I have recently moved my studio back into my house. I have two working spaces, one for preparation and finishing and the other for the wet work. I work every day in some capacity whether it is planning and sketching and compiling ideas or whether I am in full swing on a body of work.
Which World of Threads Festival have you exhibited in?
I exhibited in the 2009 festival in the Common Threads International Juried Exhibition Part 2 at Towne Square Gallery.
White Wash, sculpture; wool fleece; hand felted; acrylic, acrylic textile medium 2008, 56 x 40 x 18 cm, photo: June Jacobs
Where do you imagine your work in 5 years?
More developed in terms of bodies of work, focused to specific ideas that require a series of works to translate the ideas that are in my head.
Is there something else about you or your work that you would like us to know?
The acknowledgement that there is very little new in the world of art only new ways of seeing.
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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.
Lichien exhibited at Towne Square Gallery as part of the Common Thread International Juried Exhibition Part 2 in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.