Sunday, May 5, 2013
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
My felt painting, “Aqueduct,” will be auctioned at the Ka-Bloom Benefit on April 24th to help raise much-needed funds for artists struggling with life-threatening illness. To learn more about the event & to buy tickets, visit Visual Aid’s website: http://visualaid.org/
Thursday, March 21, 2013
29 x 28″
felted wool, mixed media
“Soup 2″ will be part of the upcoming Artpsan Benefit Art Auction on April 13th.
Get more details & tickets to the event here: http://www.artspan.org/events/13/04/2013/artspan-benefit-art-auction-2013
Thursday, March 14, 2013
This is a proposal for a book that I was looking into. I had met a lovely woman at a show who was one of the original felt artists in the US and her story inspired me to conceive this project. It seemed as though, back before felting became a big phenomenon, that there was a time when very few people practiced the craft and that they shared the technique in small workshops. My hope was that it would show a genealogy of the craft and tell a story of people helping other people (and also maybe women helping other women & sharing knowledge) back in a pre-internet time. I still think it is an important subject and an important part of the history of feltmaking in the US whose story needs telling. These people have fascinating histories, individual journeys that led them to felting, and moving feltwork to share. Not wanting to take on the task of writing (and hence editorializing) a history, I thought it might be fun to have each person tell their own stories and to follow from one artist to the next based on their “discovery” of the craft (and how many crafts have an eye-opening discovery moment like feltmaking does?) which would fall into a natural chronology and hence paint a much bigger picture of history in motion.
I looked into it, took a trip last May to investigate and feel it out, and came to the conclusion that I was not the right person to organize such a project. Plus, I discovered that the early group of feltmakers in the US were a varied bunch that were much more scattered (some were doing felt over here, some over there) than I had imagined, making it difficult to make a clear connection between one & the next. I still think it is a very compelling project that would enrich craft history & felting culture, but, for now, I’m going to put it out in the universe and work on other things.
If you meet an original feltmaker, give thanks! They were really pioneers out there blazing new trails back when you couldn’t find felt-able wool, but had to ask a neighboring sheepfarm for whatever they had. If you know of any felt pioneers, list them below (a link to their work is a bonus)! Or ask them to tell you their story with feltmaking-chances are it’s riveting.
Felt Pioneers: History of the Felt Movement in North America (working title)
Project: A collection of stories relating the personal journeys and interactions of North American felt artists in their own words, through written testimony (2-3 pages max) or oral history (recorded & transcribed interview).
Organized into a series according to the date of the artist’s discovery of medium (“discovery”) and collected in a “branching” fashion: artists mentioned in a particular story will be contacted for their own story. By organizing by discovery & branching from artist to artist, the hope is to illustrate a “genealogy” of sorts, demonstrating how the spark was shared from one artist to the next.
My expectation is that these stories will describe how artists shared knowledge at meetings, gatherings & interactions, painting a bigger picture of the felt movement pre-1990s (or pre-internet), probably concentrated in the 1970s-1980s.
About Methodology: A book of short stories could be organized in a variety of different ways such as alphabetically or based on date of birth, etc. In this collection, I would like to organize the stories based chronologically on when the artist discovered felting (“discovery”). For example: I first discovered feltmaking in the Spring of 1985 at a meeting of fiber enthusiasts in Springfield, Wisconsin. This story would be organized according to Spring, 1985.
My hope is that it would impart a feeling of concurrency and momentum. This might also help to illustrate a “genealogy” of the craft, the excitement of the period, and the interrelationship of felting artists in general.
2 options: Written Testimony (2-3 pages) or Oral History (transcribed interview) so as to reflect a true history without editorializing.
Goal: A true history where individual artists relate their stories, in so doing demonstrating how the spark was shared/passed between artists.
From each artist:
Write/Record their “felting story.” 2-3 pages for each written by the artist in their own words or transcribed from oral interview. 3 parts
1) Who they are: general introduction/bio
2) The story of their “discovery” : how they discovered felting, what was going on, who was doing it, where they went, who they met, how they met them.
2) Telling their felting story : what they did, where they went from there, accomplishments, collaborations, contributions, style, etc.
Visual Images: Artist’s portrait; 2 examples of work; 300 dpi 5″ x 6″
Artist details. Name, Business Name, Organizations, Website
Signed document (Deed of Gift) giving editor (Jenne Giles) permission to publish their story.*
*This is your story; permission just gives me the right to publish this particular version of your story on the web & in print.
1) Blog: the internet is the ultimate library. This would be a good format for organizing the material, refining it and sharing it so that people can be aware of the information.
2)Wikipedia: part of general encyclopedia. Story transcribed to third person.
3) Self-published (or published) book. I don’t think it would be a real money-maker. I’m thinking the real objective is to get it out into the world in a reverent & respectful manner with personal distribution so that it can enhance the body of knowledge about feltmaking, feltmakers, and felt history.
Friday, February 22, 2013
Far Beyond Pool Tables:
It’s a fabric that dates back thousands of years, and it has thousands of uses beyond pool tables surfaces. Felt has a reputation for functionality, but as an art form? Hardly. Look at Jenne Giles’ paintings, sculpture, and wearable art, though, and you realize that in the right hands felt is an inspired choice for artistic creations. Salvador Dalí used felt to make celebrated art. Giles does, too, now, after spending the first part of her career making art from clay and metal.
“You can do amazing things with felt,” says Giles, who works and lives in Oakland. “It’s a really wily medium. It’s as raw a medium as paint.”
Consider her Hibiscus Rose Scarf, which, when wrapped around a person’s neck, opens out like a rose in bloom. Or consider Knotted Wing, two feathery wings that are as detailed as those attached to the Winged Victory of Samothrace, that masterful Greek sculpture that stands in theLouvre. Giles, 37, has worked with felt since 2005, and has operated a business that specializes in felt constructions since 2007. In the past few years, she’s exhibited in group shows around the United States, and has been a finalist three times for a NICHE Award, given annually to top crafts artists. Thirteen years ago, not long after graduating from Rice University with a bachelor’s degree in art and art history, Giles was making sculptures for Burning Man. Now her expertise is felt, and she couldn’t be happier. “Each project,” she says, “is an opportunity to learn from it.”
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Thursday, January 31, 2013
I have a piece in this upcoming show: “In Motion” put together by Filz-Netzwerk. The opening is coming up on Feb 16th at the Historische Spinnerei (Historical Spinning Museum, I think?) in Gottingen, Germany. Never say never, but I don’t expect that I’ll see the exhibit in person…if you do, will you send me a photo?
The show will be traveling for a couple years. Here are other venues:
16.02-01.04.2013 Historical spinning,
The opening takes place with a vernissage at 5 p.m. clock
Steinsmühle 8, 37130 Gleichen – Klein Lengden (in Göttingen)
15.05 -. 29.07 2013
‘Musée du Feutre’ Place du Colombier,
Palatinate Museum, Chapel Street 16,
Craft Museum of Finland
Suomen käsityön museo
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
felted wool, mixed media
©2012 Jenne Giles, all rights reserved
John Ashbery’s My Philosophy of Life
Just when I thought there wasn't room enough for another thought in my head, I had this great idea-- call it a philosophy of life, if you will. Briefly, it involved living the way philosophers live, according to a set of principles. OK, but which ones? That was the hardest part, I admit, but I had a kind of dark foreknowledge of what it would be like. Everything, from eating watermelon or going to the bathroom or just standing on a subway platform, lost in thought for a few minutes, or worrying about rain forests, would be affected, or more precisely, inflected by my new attitude. Read the full poem HERE