Showcasing the Arts

YouTube video - Folk Heritage Award, Jennifer Zurick
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2017 Governor's Awards in the Arts:
Folk Heritage Award



Berea, Ky.



Jennifer Zurick Jennifer Zurick

Since 1980, self-taught artist Jennifer Zurick has been harvesting and weaving black willow bark, her fiber of choice, into baskets that have earned the recognition of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art’s Renwick Gallery and won her awards and accolades at national exhibitions and shows.

“I have been manipulating fiber since I was a young girl,” Zurick said. “I first discovered inkle-loom weaving and later began weaving on large floor looms. I built up a small herd of sheep and for many years enjoyed raising , processing and weaving their soft fleeces. Interspersed with my handweaving projects, I began experimenting with basketry and various fibers available for harvesting in my area.”

Zurick describes her work with willow bark as rhythmic and centering as the creation process slowly evolves. Tension builds as the basket form takes shape and she expresses hope that the final work will reflect the interwoven essence of the bark and her love for the fiber.

A two-time recipient of the Kentucky Arts Council’s Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship, Zurick has also earned a $50,000 United States Artists Fellowship in 2010 and was selected for a 1999 Kentucky Arts Council Cultural Exchange Residence in Ecuador.

In addition to her contribution to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Zurick’s work is part of the permanent collections of the Asheville Art Museum, the Contemporary Craft Museum in Portland, the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art and the Johnson & Johnson Corp.

In her artist statement, Zurick writes, “I aspire to create simple, elegant woven vessels that possess a richness of spirit and a presence embodying the soul of the tree from which they came. A fascination with old tribal textiles, finely woven functional containers and ancient processes fuels my inclination to manipulate fiber. Employing various weaving techniques to inject texture and rhythmic design elements, I draw significantly upon the inspiration of early Native American and contemporary Japanese basketry. As my work evolves, I am compelled to create more intricate, textile-like woven forms, finding great satisfaction in emulating the art and integrity of fine basketry.”




Page last updated: January 19, 2018
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