Meet the Jurors

“Re-imagined” a Collaboration with a Difference: Make the Ordinary Extraordinary.

There are three Jurors for this virtual exhibition; Janet deBoer from Australia and Susan L. Feller and Jackie Abrams from the USA.

We begin our introductions to the Jurors with Janet who reminisces here about her journey into textiles.

Janet deBoer, OAM

refers to herself as a VOT (Victim of Textiles) in search of the Extraordinary.

“Hand weaving was my start with textiles and nothing could have surprised me more. I had never had the feeling that I was artistic although I was pretty sure I had some aspects of creativity. Happily I followed an impulse to take hand weaving lessons in my early 20’s and it all flowed on from there.

I  am not a gifted maker of objects although I was a pretty good technical weaver. I am basically a communicator and arts administrator; it took a while to understand this and then to give myself over to it, all the time wondering if I would be found out as a fraud. I think this is a common feeling for many in the arts, whatever role they play. I do have a compulsion to communicate; to assemble facts and ideas and make sense of them. I always wrote the word Editor when asked for my occupation but I meant it in a very broad sense – editing the chaos to try and find the sense of it all.

It was an unexpected pleasure to be awarded an OAM – this is not something that people who come from the USA tend to be aware of. Yet there I was, nominated and awarded (and an Australian citizen of course).  For me it was confirmation of long years of difficult but inspired work – and ultimately a job well done – that kind of award carries you through all sorts of discouragements. Sometimes it even makes  you feel extra-ordinary.

I am seen as a bit madcap, with a devilish sense of humour and a liking for gaudy accessories and dressing  up. That’s just me.  But I find it helps me through a lot of situations and I truly would not be able to face long intense days of making things work for people if I didn’t have a good stash of false eyelashes, hats, wigs and much else. I sometimes think I might have managed a career as a stand-up comedienne – but I love textiles too much.

Those of us fortunate enough to have discovered something as vast and endlessly satisfying as the world of textiles are truly an extraordinary  community. I am deeply grateful to have found my passion while young and do appreciate how the Internet can help strengthen what I  call ‘community’. People should use whatever tools suit them – as in art, so in life.”

It is dangerously easy to misunderstand the material world around us if a basic understanding of how it came into existence is absent. In the case of art, an appreciation of the labour and skill involved in production is a component of meaning. This has a particularly acute bearing on our understanding of textiles. There are unquestionably more ways to appreciate a textile than solely via consideration of making, but it is impossible to appreciate textiles fully without attention to their fabrication. Jessica Hemmings, FABRICation catalogue essay, 2014.

There really is no such thing as Art. There are only artists…. There is no harm in calling (many) activities art as long as we keep in mind that such a word may mean very different things in different times and places, and as long as we realize that Art with a capital A has no existence. For Art with a capital A has come to be something of a bogey and a fetish. – E. H. Gombrich: The Story of Art (Phaidon).

“Re-imagined” a Collaboration with a Difference: Make the Ordinary Extraordinary.

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