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Jennifer Fleming


After enjoying a challenging career of 27 years in the urban planning field, I hoped there might be a different form of creativity locked up inside of me. And when I had a chance to retire in 2002, I had the time to explore several art forms.

I always loved to sew and so silk painting was my first adventure. Courses are offered in this medium at Penland and Arrowmont and I have had the opportunity to attend both schools and focus on the form of silk dying called shibori. In the summer of 2012, I had the honor of studying at Haystack under Yoshiko Wada, one of the most well-known and accomplished shibori artists in the country. I work my dyed pieces into scarves, handbags, jackets and pillows and sometimes add vintage kimono pieces.

Non-objective acrylic painting and collage pieces are also some of my favorite work. Joan Blackburn, a Pensacola award-winning watercolor artist, introduced me to this world and countless ways to express feeling through texture, color, layering and adding dimensional objects. I also studied atArrowmont with Mary Todd Beam (non-objective acrylic painting), Jiyoung Chung (joomchi Korean paper art), Joan Fullerton and Robert Burridge. I find myself now looking at almost everything with a “new” set of eyes and they still have a lot to learn. But that is the fun part of art to me–always trying something different and discovering that sometimes a piece you initially think needs to be abandoned or at least placed back in “rest” mode in the portfolio can emerge as one of your better pieces. Artist StatementArtists have countless ways to express feeling through color, texture, layering and adding dimensional objects. In my paintings and collages, the work usually just emerges from the canvas or paper in ways that surprise me. Many times I don’t have a firm idea of what I want to paint when I make the first mark or lay down the first brushstroke of paint. Lines start to create a pattern of flow and then value and color combine to create energy on the surface. I find myself now looking at almost everything with a “new” set.