At the forefront of the revolution in fiber art, Ferne Jacobs has been creating innovative work since the mid-60s. At her retrospective in 2022 in Los Angeles, Building the Essentials: Ferne Jacobs, the Craft in America Center noted that Jacobs is recognized for her mastery of material and process. Reinventing and advancing traditional techniques used for basketry, including knotting, coiling, and twining, Jacobs has generated an entirely new language of sculptural art. Her acute sense of color melded with her poetic and intuitive approach set her work apart. You can order a copy of the catalog at browngrotta.com.
Ferne Jacobs began as a painter, exploring the possibilities of three-dimensional painting in the mid-1960s, before moving to weaving after workshops by such avant-garde fiber artists as Arline Fisch and Olga de Amaral. After the American Craft Museum (now Museum of Art and Design) exhibition Sculpture in Fabric (1972), Jacobs gained national attention for her work. Jacobs has taught and lectured on fiber arts and design since 1972. She received her M.F.A. from Claremont Graduate University in 1976 and has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. She is the recipient of the Flintridge Foundation Award for Visual Artists, and in 1995 she was named a Fellow of the College of Fellows by the American Craft Council.
Jacobs’ work is meticulous, intensive and personal. She felt particularly close to Interior Passages, “as though we are one and the same.” She says that “[t]his has never happened so completely to me before. It has caused me to ask why, and to try to find a way to explain it to others. In the world I find myself today, feminine values are often desecrated. I am beginning to understand that there is no such thing as a ‘second class citizen’ — anywhere, anytime. There are aspects of world culture where weak people try to control others; because that is the only way they feel their own existence.” Interior Passages emphatically resists that approach. “Interior Passages knows she exists,” Jacobs notes. “She needs no one to tell her who she is or what she is. She knows her value, and I expect the world to respect this inner understanding. When it doesn’t, I think it moves toward a destructiveness that can be devastating.”
Open Globe reflects Jacobs’ reaction to the environment. “The title Open Globe came from experiencing the piece as I was making it,” Jacobs explains. “In my mind, it was the earth. The colors green, brown, blue, grey are the elements on our planet. Open came because there is no bottom or top. The piece is open, so can we see the earth as a globe/ball and open/unending.” The undulations in Blue Wave operate on numerous levels, conjuring ancient Greek pottery, wave froth and water, and the female form among other references.
Jacobs’s work is found in many public collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, the de Young Museum, San Francisco, California and the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island.
Ferne Jacobs’ work will be included in browngrotta arts’ spring 2023 exhibition Acclaim! Work by Award-Winning International Artists. You can order a copy of the catalog Ferne Jacobs: Building the Essentials at browngrotta.com.
We Get Good Press
Maybe you’ve heard the buzz? In the past six months, both browngrotta arts and Tom’s book project, The Grotta House by Richard Meier: A Marriage of Architecture and Craft, which features many of the artists we work with, have gotten great coverage in the Connecticut publications, nationally and elsewhere in the world.
In December, the illustrious New York Times, profiled Sandy and Lou Grotta, their 300+ collection of Modern Craft which are beautifully featured/illustrated in The Grotta House book. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/31/arts/design/show-us-your-wall-grotta.html So did Art in America online.
https://www.artguide.pro/event/ book-release-the-grotta-home-by-richard-meier-a-marriage-of-architecture-and-craft/ Tom got a shoutout as the photographer in both articles as well. Next up was TLmag, True Living of Art and Design, a Brussels-based, international biannual print and online magazine dedicated to curating and capturing the collectible culture.
Also in February, the Grotta house and browngrotta arts were covered by Introspective, the online magazine produced by 1st Dibs, In the piece titled, “Tour a Richard Meier-Designed House that Celebrates American Craft,” author Osman Can Yerebakan, observes that the Grottas, are “[l]ed by intuition, they simply let an affinity for objects, and for the people who make them, guide their unerring eye.”https://www.1stdibs.com /introspective-magazine/richard-meier-grotta-house/?utm_term=feature2&utm_source=nl-introspective&utm_content=reengagement&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2020_02_23&emailToken=2277332_1a3d078b2c480b774c0897f7484ece12b4545b9bb006358a40eba4b7215550ce
On March 1st, Artfix Daily covered our online exhibition in “browngrotta arts presents Transforming Tradition: Japanese and Korean Contemporary Craft.” http://www.artfixdaily.com /artwire/release/7876-browngrotta-arts-presents-transforming-tradition-japanese-and-kor. An article by Rhonda, “Active Collecting: Acquiring Experiences as Well as Art,” appeared in the Spring issue of Surface Design Journal,
describing the interactions between Sandy and Lou Grotta and the artists they collect. The couple have met many of those whose work they have collected or commissioned and have developed deep friendships with others, including furniture makers Joyce and Edgar Anderson and Thomas Hucker, jewelers Wendy Ramshaw and David Watkins, ceramist Toshiko Takaezu and weaver Mariette Rousseau-Vermette.
The Spring also saw a light-hearted story in the March/April issue of Wilton Magazine, on Rhonda and Tom, “Art of Love, Love of Art,” by Karen Sackowitz, noting that our creative synergy– for better or worse — has spanned decades (3 decades and 7 years to be precise). Other local publications have championed us as well — The Ridgefield Press, Wilton Bulletin and Connecticut Magazine have talked up our taking art online, nothing that, “Social distancing doesn’t mean people have to distance themselves from the arts” as area arts institutions like bga have taken to providing people with digital experiences on their websites and social media platforms to ensure people are still able to engage with art.
Artsy, covered the Grottas and their home in April, in “This Collecting Couple Lives with a Rotating Cast of Craft Masterpieces,” by Casey Lesser https://www.artsy.net /article/artsy-editorial-collecting-couple-lives-rotating-cast-craft-masterpieces. Tom got a shout out, too. The author shared Lou’s collecting advice to “do your homework” as he recalled being told that “you have to see 50 works by an artist before you can start to understand what’s good.” Thanks to the internet, that’s much easier today than it was when he and Sandy started out. “Don’t fall in love with the latest stuff,” the author quotes Grotta. “Decide who you like and what you like.”
April also saw the Grotta house and book featured in Dwell online https://www.dwell.com /home/the-grotta-house-0257ab73 and in Archello https://archello.com/project/the-grotta-house. In progress (fingers crossed), a piece on The Grotta House by Richard Meier, a Marriage of Architecture and Craft in INTERIOR+DESIGN, a Russian publication.
We hope to get press coverage for our upcoming events:
Online in June: Cross Currents – Arts Influenced by Rivers and the Sea, Vols. 38, 35
Online in July: Fan Favorites — Sekimachi, Sekijima, Laky and Merkel-Hess, Vols. 24, 19, 2, 3, 8, 5, 15, 16, 19
Online in August: Cataloging the Canon – Tawney, Stein, Cook, Hicks and So, Vols. 13, 28, Monographs: 1-3; Focus: 1
Live in September: Volume 50: Chronicling Fiber for Three Decades. Now rescheduled for September 12 -22. Details on how we will mix art viewing and safe practice to come.
Hope you’ll join us for all or some of these.
Stay Safe, Stay Distanced, Stay Inspired!!