A desire to immortalize, and make tangible, textile processes and domesticity of the early 20th century inspires my pieces. My work explores the lifetime of my grandparents and great-grandparents through their home life in relation to clothing and its construction. The domestic life in this time-period is far removed from today but recorded through recollection and documentation. The making of clothing through crafts such as spinning, knitting, weaving and crocheting was a necessity. Each article of clothing represents evidence of hand and process of making through found, knitted or crocheted objects that had a previous life, existence and experience.
Textile remains can be found, through the study of archaeology, as preserved impressions left on fired clay. Using clay as a means to preserve information is a main component of my work. This incidental process of preservation is recreated through slip dipping. In this process textiles are first dipped into slip, clay in a fluid state, then dried and fired; the fiber burns out and a cast is left of the original form and texture. The stark, ghostly surface is stripped of color and allows for maximum detail, light and shadow. Casting fiber in clay creates an illusion of fossilized clothing taking on the physical properties of clay and the visual properties of fiber. The literal preserved nature of the fiber in clay mirrors the metaphorical preservation that drives my work.
~ Jenna Leigh Richards, Artist
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Jenna Leigh Richards is a graduate of the University of Louisville where she received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Ceramics and Fibers. Jenna’s work has been exhibited regionally and nationally in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Missouri. She participated in two recent residencies: Vermont Studio Center and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Her work is currently on display as part of a group exhibition Art St. Louis XXXI: The Exhibition at Art St. Louis in St. Louis, Missouri. Jenna’s work can be seen in the upcoming show Materials: Hard & Soft at the Patterson-Appleton Center for the Visual Arts in Denton TX. Her work is also part of the art collection of Larry Shapin and Ladonna Nicolas.