Today we meet Jenni Dutton who shares stories around her powerful work and the unique way in which she creates her large portraits. Although starting her creative journey as a fine artist, creating large oil pastel landscapes, Jenni ventured into textile art portraits, via mosaics and a chance opportunity to talk to a local Embroiderers’ Guild branch about her conceptual clothing. Under this idea she created dresses made from human hair, and corsets made from fish skins!
We talk about how life takes unexpected twists and how surprising opportunites can pop up as we share our work and thoughts. Jenni’s largest body of work is her Dementia Darnings which document the emotional journey of her mum as she declined through dementia. These are large pieces of work taking several months to complete, and Jenni had thought that she had ‘finished’ the series a while ago. An opportunity to exhibit in the USA which clashes with another exhibition has led to Jenni creating a new piece in the series, and we chat about the challenges of revisiting a series and aslo challenging oneself with a different creative process.
Jenni has also started to explore her own ageing process through her Absurd Sewn Selfies series. She wonders if she could still be making those into her eighties!
Susan Weeks chats with Jenni Dutton about:
- The challenge of going back to a series you thought you had finished
- The theme of loss and repair with darning
- Trying a new approach with her latest portrait
- Why mask off areas on a piece of work?
- Don’t let your logical brain upset your artistic vision
- The anxiety caused by deadline
- Discovering the delights of Anchor tapestry wools
- The emotions involved whilst documenting her mum’s decline through dementia
- Confronting one’s own ageing
- The horrors of ‘lockdown’ hair!
- Sharing our work as a counterbalance to our solo artistic time
- Can embroidery be improved with a blow torch….. or beeswax!
- Problems with moths, anyone?
- Being fierce about guarding our time
Related Stitchery Stories episodes you might like:
Other Places & People Mentioned:
The Horniman Museum
University Of Iowa Medical Museum Gallery
The Absent Gallery
This is where you can visit Jenni’s ‘Dementia Darnings’ exhibition in a virtual gallery.