For over 40 years Janice Arnold has been creating textile art, immersive installations and community participatory events centered around her handmade textiles.
The daughter of a cartographer, she credits her childhood experiences with mapmaking and science for inspiring her curiosity and fierce independence for seeking uncharted territory in her work.
Arnold’s artwork stems from her passion and respect for ethnographic textiles. She travels extensively to learn ancient textile traditions within cultural contexts. Working with indigenous peoples has given her a profound respect for their wisdom and spirit embodied in their art. She credits these origins for helping her learn to listen to the voice of fibers and allowing her to nudge the humble living fiber – wool – to audacious places, on a physically unprecedented scale.
Her explorations and inventions of new approaches and techniques have redefined the medium of handmade Felt in art, theatrical, architectural, environmental and community-based arenas.
Arnold exhibits and lectures nationally and internationally about her textile art and ethnographic felt-making. Her work is the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt Nat’l Design Museum, and public and private collections worldwide. She was the only American artist commissioned for the Smithsonian’s Fashioning Felt Exhibition where she created the installation, Palace Yurt, the acclaimed centerpiece. She has received numerous grants and awards and was nominated and received an American Craft Council Rare Craft Fellowship Finalist Grant. She is currently working on a project co-sponsored by the Smithsonian, Union of Artists Kazakhstan, Chevron, and the US Embassy for a series of in-person presentations, community events and installations in Kazakhstan.
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