So after an intense study of all things encompassing Francisco Costa's spring 2010 collection over at Calvin Klein, the lovely works of Ferne Jacobs were brought to my attn. She (along w/ 90's Kate Moss) were Costa's inspiration for the collection.
A brief bio on the artist...
For 35 years Ferne Jacobs has employed a wrapping technique used in ancient basket-making to create fiberworks suffused with mystery and beauty. "My commitment grows out of a fascination that thread can be made solid, that by using only my hands and the thread, a form can be made that will physically stand on its own." Her sculptures range from large-scale to small and are structurally intricate. They are labor-intensive, taking from two to seven months to complete. All are created out of waxed linen for stability. Early pieces have an austere simplicity and symmetry reminiscent of ancient ceremonial artifacts. But Jacobs' artistic path has been one of continuing evolution in which she pushes the expectations of fiber as a medium. Her wall-hangings and free-standing forms have grown increasingly fluid and organically complex. They explode with bright color, lively intersecting shapes and surface openings that reveal interior space. Recent works are even more animated and rhythmic with mixed color filaments selectively woven in to delineate the sensuous contours. Jacobs' pieces seem imbued with so much exuberant life force that they appear less like objects and more like individual beings or presences. "I see myself as a link in bringing an ancient way of being into my own time, and helping nurture it into the future," she says. Born in 1942, Jacobs has taught and lectured widely.
A few works...
'String of Pearls' (2004-2005)
Coiled waxed linen thread; 23-1/2 x 20 x 13 in.
'Centric Spaces' (2000)
Coiled and twined waxed linen thread; 15 x 12 x 11 in.
'The Dance' (1989)
Coiled and twined waxed linen thread; 11-1/2 x 8 x 10 in.
*** bio and photos from flintridgefoundation.org
The raw, sexual energy of Jacobs work is present in Costa's collection, especially in the fabrics used... but like these pieces, the clothing has a beautifully subdued disposition @ first glance until one looks closer.
__________________ You are my center when I spin away...
Buzzine had the honor of talking to Los Angeles artist Ferne Jacobs before her two-person exhibit at Nancy Margolis Gallery in New York. Jacobs has been exhibiting three-dimensional fiber works since the 1970s. The first word that comes to mind when viewing these work are “organic.” The texture of her work resembles the lifelines of a tree, running concurrently toward the heart, or a cross-section of the earth, cut from top-soil to magma.
Ferne speaks of a “deep connection to a timeless past” that is evoked when creating her work, and indeed her works are that: timeless and seeming to be created with one infinite line.
Buzzine:Watching you work, I am impressed with the enormous complexity of the shape and the fact that this “hard form” is made up of little stitches. How do you begin a piece?
Ferne Jacobs: A piece starts with color. In my head, I think, “I can start with red,” or I think, “orange,” and then I get a line–one line. I create my stitch with wrapping. I wrap a thread around a coil and then I stitch it into itself. I need to create a relationship between me and the piece. It’s like a marriage. You know how intuition comes into your head? It leads me to listen…to figure out the next thing. I never know what my piece is going to look like. I know what the next line is. If I figure that out, I’m okay.
B: How do you conceptualize the design?
FJ: Unexpected — just intuition. Sometimes I can change a direction. Like building blocks — I create circles or triangles I can work around them. Suddenly an intuition — or I can add a circle — that will throw it off in a different direction so that I’m surprised. It’s very exciting. I worked ten hours yesterday and I’m so happy. Doing the work is exciting. I’m surprised — I never know what it’s going to look like. It’s a total passion — incredible passion.
B: What drew you into working with fiber arts?
FJ: I wanted to be a painter. I studied at Pratt in New York, then an MSA from Claremont. But I was being led. I walked into someone’s studio on Melrose one day. The door was open; I just walked in. I was curious. He had a loom and weavings. I was fascinated. And so since my husband and I were going to Europe, I decided to go to Scandinavia and I decided to learn how to weave. But we never got there. We ended up in Spain and then came home and decided to live in New York for a year. Back in L.A., I studied weaving. I fell in love with working on a loom, but weaving is a soft fabric I form — three dimensions. I began to hate the loom — too rectangular, couldn’t make shapes, everything so soft… From a friend, I learned how to make Indian baskets. I never studied this thing that I do; I just went home and started doing it, and I’ve been doing it ever since. You begin with form. Being “led,” things happen — nothing on purpose. I didn’t copy, but now there is an actual field of this kind of work.
B:When did you do your first exhibit?
FJ: My first piece was shown at the Gallery del Sol in Santa Barbara. The gallery decided to open in New York — the Fairtree Gallery showed my work. Then the American Craft Museum in New York had its first exhibition in three-dimensional fiber, and I was chosen to exhibit.
B:How has your work changed since then?
FJ: Look at a dancer — always there but constantly shifting positions. That’s my work. The same but changing — every piece different from the last.
B: How is your work relevant to today’s world, where mass production is behind almost every object we come in contact with, even those of value?
FJ: I don’t know the answer. My work is very personal so that the only way to know is to take the risk and to see what the acceptance is. Mass production? I’m an oddball. I take an unusual stand. Most contemporary art is related to anger and kind of related to the political and social. My way is more personal, and I hope that it brings something to the conversation on its own terms. I don’t want to be cynical. I made a personal choice and I’m taking the risk expressing what matters to me, hoping that it has relevance.
B:How do you know when you have completed a piece, and how long do they usually take to finish?
FJ: It’s a risk. I just kind of sense that I can’t work anymore. This has to be enough. As long as I can see the next line, there’s a point.
B: How long does a piece take?
FJ: Usually about five months and about 25,000 stitches.
** from buzzine.com
__________________ You are my center when I spin away...
i'm very fond of her approach, to her work and to life.. just being led as she says
i think it allows a kind of spontaneity and energy to create work from this, but i feel it's a tad missing from these last two you posted here
it would be interesting to compare Costa's collection with hers and see the likeness.. i thought it's quite nice not only has he worked with shape, but he's even incorporated the line work the stitches cause naturally in her sculptures right into the calvin klein fabrics