JANE QUIMBY

JANE QUIMBY

 

Jane Quimby


In 9th grade I met a sculptor who had a studio next door to my grandmother whom I was visiting in Florida. This sculptor carved soapstone. I liked the stone, and the shaping process. The sculptor loaned me some rasps and gave me two small pieces of grey soapstone. I set to applying the rasps to the stone, to changing its shape, to carving a bird. I did the same thing with the second piece of stone. I returned home to Massachusetts with the two birds. I gave one to my best friend. She still has that bird, and I still have the one I kept. They each are very simple in form and line, about three inches tall. I felt pleased with the results, and said I wanted to be a sculptor. I enrolled in a sculpture class at the local Jewish Community Center, and learned to work with brown wax. I formed figures on wire armatures. I carved abstract shapes, usually two in relation to each other. 

    My other great love in high school was geometry, the simple shapes and lines, and the mathematical rules that applied to the angles, and to the relationships between line and volume.

   I went to college and studied psychology. I moved to Vermont; I moved to New York City.  In Vermont  I had learned to knit sweaters on a knitting machine  and found that many fashion designers in New York wanted knitters to hand-loom their sweaters. I supported myself in New York City  by knitting for several designers. I started to knit my own designs, one-of-a-kind, of asymmetrical bold color blocks. I had a little cottage industry of knitters who worked for me, and a sales rep who sold the sweaters around the country. I knit and sewed twelve hours a day.  I continued with my pursuit of psychology through psychoanalysis.

        And then I took a turn in an entirely different direction: I started working for a lawyer friend, and then as a legal advocate for mentally ill people. I spent three days a week working in a state mental hospital. I applied to law school and attended, at night, while continuing this work. I then was hired as a mitigation consultant on capital cases--I spent hours in prisons, interviewing accused murderers, compiling information to be used after conviction, to argue for mitigation of the punishment, from death to life. 

After law school I worked for the legal needs of poor people, particularly, for battered women, and abused children. I argued in court weekly. I constantly spoke with other lawyers. I saw the horrors of how a person can treat a person he loves. The opposing lawyers argued the law for their hate-filled sad clients. I said to myself: I need more beauty, much more beauty in my life; I want to learn about glass, working with glass. I proceeded to take every course I could find about glass: first blowing, then casting and fusing and mosaics. I wanted to thoroughly understand the material. I arrived at kiln fused or cast glass as my focus, the activity I have been doing in my basement for many years. My fused glass is usually 5 or 6 inches square, consisting of overlapping layers of color, and lines. Abstract, yet about color and beauty and relationship of forms, and, again, the spaces in between.

    After years of glass classes, I went to art school, to learn the fuller picture of art. My major was sculpture. The 3-dimensional work I create is geometric, abstract, formal, quiet, and beautiful. The forms have an interior and and exterior shape, a positive, and a negative space. The spaces between are just as important as the physically occupied space. My work is about the importance of that space between but not as a void, rather as an integral part of the relationship, as an entity in itself. My work is angular yet soft and peaceful. It holds contrasts which combine into a whole.

    I've told the lengthy history of where I've come from because my route has included  interactions with people not usually encountered, people who are marginalized. Developing a relationship with any person means recognizing the existence of the space between, and the fact that that space is filled, has a meaning of its own.


BIOGRAPHY

            PRINTS      QUILTS      SCULPTURE      GLASS      COLLAGE      SHIBORI      BUTTONS