Translation by Marina Dlacic
*Featuring photo: Table Settings, 2020-2021, 68 x 48 inches, copyright Jess Blaustein
Jess Blaustein, an American artist who currently lives and works in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, received the 2022 The Fine Textiles Award (FATA) for her work Table Settings.
The Fine Art Textiles Award is an international exhibition with a jury, supported by the Open College of the Arts with the aim of promoting the creative talent of artists who use the textile medium exclusively or prevalently in their artistic practice. The FATA is awarded annually at the Festival of Quilt at the NEC in Birmingham (UK).
Table Settings, an award-winning work in this 2022 edition, is a wall-mounted textile work, quilted and made with recycled household linen. The top reproduces, using the neutral shades of black and white, the traces left on the fabric of a dining table over four weeks of use.
The work refers to the idea of repetitiveness that characterizes daily actions in their apparent boring banality, a concept that the artist expresses precisely through the sobriety of the materials, shades and lines that are repeated and superimposed.
In congratulating the winning work, juror Jo Hall stated that: “Its simplicity speaks powerfully to the associations that exist between the worlds of domesticity and textiles, exploring this relationship in a thought-provoking way and in a beautifully understated approach. It prompted much discussion amongst us.We enjoyed the reference to the repetitive nature of domesticity, how everyday rituals can be tracked and recorded to create something that transcends the mundane. We also liked the slightly marked, overlaid patina of the work which we perceived to be a challenge to the perception of textiles as clean and beautiful.”
With the work The Three Living and The Three Dead 2021, Tanya Bentham, an artist specializing in early medieval embroidery (Opus Anglicanum), received the Most Innovative Use of Textiles award.
Bentham’s designs are inspired by the natural embroidery and dyeing techniques of the time. The restrictions in the choice of colors, precisely in accordance with ancient techniques, are in the words of the artist herself, one of the aspects that most inspire her.
The Judge of the award, Jo Hall, described the work as: “… simple, strong, direct and brilliantly executed, thanks to a large dash of humor hidden within the detail. The work would appeal to a wide demographic with its references to both Opus Anglicanum and modern day graphic novels, extending the reach of traditional needlework while appealing to a younger audience thanks to its creative visual storytelling. “
Finally, Canadian artist Judith E. Martin for Underfoot The Earth Divine and London-based Nadia Ricketts for 22: 2: 22 Portal received a Highly commended commendation for their work.
The winning works and those competing for the Fine Art Textiles Award were exhibited to the public at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham from August 18 to 21, and then at the Knitting & Stitching Show, the UK’s largest textile event, which will be held in London from October 6 to 9 and in Harrogate from November 17 to 20.
Full information on the Fine Art Textiles Award can be found on the Festival of Quilts website at:
Jess Blaustein Bio
Jess Blaustein is a conceptual artist and urban researcher. With a background that ranges from architecture, craftsmanship and human sciences, he often uses found and discarded materials to tell stories of places, especially those hidden and in between.
Jess makes books, quilts, maps and other tactile devices under the name of B-PLOT and is co-founder of STUDIOOSS Applied Arts Collective.
Her teaching and research have been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Getty Research Institute, the New School Green Fund and the Smithsonian Institution.
Exhibitions include Flux Factory, Miniartextil, San José Museum of Quilts and Textiles, Craft Forms, The Artist as Quiltmaker, Materials Hard + Soft and the Biennali Quilt Visions. She holds a master’s in interdisciplinary arts from Hartford Art School and a doctorate in literature from Duke University. Jess works and lives in the Lower Hudson Valley with a vintage Bernina 830, three boys and a dog named Djuna Barnes.