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June Jacobs :: Q&A with a Fibre Artist

Updated: Nov 5, 2021

Meet June Jacobs winner of the Unwind/AureliaWool Two Dimensional Felt Award at the felt :: feutre canada national felt symposium 2016.

June has been involved in the Saskatchewan craft scene for many years as a fibre artist, educator, workshop participant, adjudicator, juror and owner of The Hand Wave Gallery. She is the Saskatchewan Professional Art Gallery president and member, Saskatchewan Craft Council member, CARFAC member, fibre guilds member and co-ordinator of many arts related activities. She has completed artist residencies in Banff, Vallauris, France and Quebec City.

She describes her work as generally figurative and realistic. In her work she uses nuno-felting, hand and machine embroidery, appliqué and quilting. Her work is inventive and beautiful. We are thrilled she agreed to take part in our Q&A. We are certain you will enjoy learning about her creative process.

How did you discover felt making? I participated in a Saskatchewan Craft Council Insight Symposium in 1985 and Judith MacKenzie, a B.C felter, was there and she was my introduction to felting.

Was it love at first sight? Not really…I had previously been doing rug hooking, applique, and stitchery projects and this technique added to my arsenal of fibre techniques…I did appreciate the aspect of a relative immediate transformation that occurs with felting that does not apply to quilting , weaving or other techniques… It is that feature that I fell in love with.

Music or no music while you work? Yes to music and all kinds.  I usually begin with classical but will move to rock n roll and then blues later in the day. I am also a radio person and switch between CBC am, fm and radio Canada.

Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere I look: in nature’s cornucopia, in architecture, in building material, in my garden, in the sky, in all things really.

Do you teach? I teach in workshop format. I have also mentored artists with CARFAC and have participated in two long term Saskatchewan Arts Board Artsmart school programs.

What do you enjoy about teaching? I love to discover what I will learn while I am teaching others. You always do make discoveries. Students make you think about your processes and verbalizing them acts as a form of reinforcement.

Who is your favorite artist? I love the freedom and the expression found in Marc Chagall’s paintings; and the repetitive yet ethereal expressions of and in Andy Goldworthy’s installations, and the organic forms of textile artist Simone Pheulpin.

Do you have your early work? There are a few that I have kept and photos too.

What would you say to fibre artists just starting out? Make work, lots of work, make mistakes and let them lead you to create more work. Hang them up so you can see them when you are working on something else, resolution often comes with time and when your not trying to find it, and inevitably leads your further down the creative path.

Are you a perfectionist? Not in an obsessive way…it is more about the feeling that is evoked. There is a fine line between worked enough and overworked, it is achieving the balance that I strive for in my work.

What is your philosophy about creating? Set projects that challenge you both technically and artistically, be ready for failures but view those as another way of looking at both the process of creating as well as the object itself. Place it where you can let time help to resolve the short coming of the piece. If you require deadlines to get you to your studio then enter juried exhibitions always being prepared for rejections but recognize it as just one opinion and continue with your pursuit.

Have you ever gone through a dry spell or felt blocked? Yes but only temporarily…

What did you do to get restarted? I always try to leave a project partially unfinished so that if I have to leave my studio with other commitments then when I come back I have a project to dive back into and then the result of working naturally leads to more ideas and pursuits.

What is the best workshop you’ve ever taken? Surface design workshop with Anita Luvera Mayer.

If you weren’t a fibre artist you’d be…? I have been a promoter of the arts for over 35 years and focused on fibre personally for over 30 years…I would always be involved in the arts.

Describe the space you create in: I work out my home with a studio space that has fibre stacked everywhere. I compose the raw fibre work there and then I move it to my expanded laundry room to do all the wet work. Yes, I have fibre bunnies everywhere in my house.

Do you have an upcoming exhibition? I have two bodies of work in my head and now is my time for developing those works.  I have no committed dates.

What are you working on now? I am doing some sampling for works; finishing some commissions and juried exhibition entries.

Your favourite fibre? I have different ones for different purposes but I love the feel of bison down in my hands. It’s as luscious as butter.

Your favourite tool? A medical surgical tool for removing stitches or restricting a vessel, a hemostat. I use it to remove unwanted material from my fleece.  It’s invaluable to me.

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