Oral history interview with Ferne Jacobs, 2005 August 30-31
Jacobs, Ferne K. (Ferne Kent), 1942-
Riedel, Mija, 1958-
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 84 pages.
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformated in 2010 as 9 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 6 min.
An interview of Ferne Jacobs conducted 2005 August 30-31, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the artist's home and studio, in Los Angeles, California.
Jacobs discusses her early childhood in Chicago and her family's move to Los Angeles; her parents' emigration from Europe; her parents' involvement with the Chicago Club in Los Angeles; her earliest experience with art at a Van Gogh exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; her fascination with drawing at an early age; her first art classes with Ron Blumberg, during her senior year of high school; entering in the Art Center College of Design; getting married and moving to New York; working in the handbag department of Bonwit Teller and taking classes at the Pratt Institute; her later education at various institutions, including California State University in San Diego, Claremont Graduate University, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine.; her first meeting with Dominic di Mare in San Francisco; her first meeting with Lenore Tawney in New York; her first foray off the loom at the behest of Arline M. Fisch; her first show at Galleria del Sol in Santa Barbara, California; her second show at the Fairtree Gallery in New York where Paul Smith, curator of the Museum of Contemporary Craft (now the Museum of Arts & Design) first saw her work; being included, along with Lenore Tawney, in the First World Craft exhibition in Toronto in 1967; her travels to Cape Cod, where she vacations annually, and to Italy; her aversion to all things technological; her recent experience learning to read the Torah; her work, including Tide (2005), Container for a Wind (1974), and Wind (2004); her interest in Carl Jung; addressing timelessness and duality in her work; various fiber techniques including twining, coiling, and knotting; her relationship with her son Peter and daughter Naomi; her relationship with dealers and galleries, including the Sybaris Gallery and the Snyderman Gallery; and the inspiration for her work that she finds in nature.
Jacobs also recalls Gabriel Laderman, Mary Jane Leland, Olga de Amaral, Peter Collingwood, Jack Lenor Larsen, Kay Sekimachi, Joan Austin, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Neda Al-Hilali, Marilyn Pappas, Patsy Krebs, Vija Celmins, Claire Delmar, Ken Price, Ron Nagle, Roland Reese, Fred Tomaselli, Agnes Martin, Francis Sumner Merritt, Joanne Rapp, Nancy Margolis, Kate Anderson, and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Ferne Jacobs, 2005 August 30-31. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Ferne Jacobs (1942- ) is a fiber artist from Los Angeles, California. Mija Riedel (1958- ) is a curator and writer from San Francisco, California.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001