Ian Hanseworth, 2019/20 Jerome Fiber Artist Project Grant Recipient

While this time of quarantine hasn’t stopped artists from creating, there’s no doubt that it impacts how artists are creating.

“I’ve tried to lean into this new, slower rhythm rather than resisting it,” says 2019/20 Jerome Fiber Artist Project Grant Recipient Ian Hanseworth. “I’m spending more time reading and sketching than I usually do, which has honestly been really good for me and my process of thinking through new work.”

Normally Ian shares a studio with two other artists, but they have been working from home since the shelter-in-place was declared. “ This has definitely been disruptive for my work,” Ian shares, “but I’ve figured out ways to continue engaging my practice from home. For me, this means a lot more focus on ideation and research, while scaling down some of my bigger projects. Everything has to be smaller than my kitchen table.”

Ian’s work deals closely with nature, and luckily, spring weather has arrived. “It’s been inspiring to go on hikes and runs while the world is waking up from winter. I’m so grateful that despite all the chaos and uncertainty in our socio-political world, the plants and animals embody resilience as they move and emerge in accordance with lengthening days and warming soils.”

While the Jerome exhibition at Textile Center, originally scheduled for May 2020, has been pushed out due to COVID-19, Ian continues to push forward with their project work. “I’ve continued working on my Jerome project, which involves making cordage out of wild plant fibers and using this material to create sculptural netted pieces. Meditations on ecological entanglement, these pieces speak to the complex interdependencies that exist between all beings on Earth. This work is inspired by research into the deep ecology movement, and by a desire to explore what a truly carbon neutral practice might look like. Harvesting wild plant fibers has become an integral part of my practice, and has helped me establish intentional, ongoing relationships with my local plant communities. I am grateful that I can continue these relationships through the pandemic, as I look to the forests for both materials and solace.”

Ian has also shifted their focus from longer-term projects to projects that are relevant to what’s happening in the world right now. “I’m starting a series of relief prints illustrating nine medicinal herbs that are relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ian says. “These include herbs that boost immunity, herbs that soothe upper respiratory infections, and herbs that help our bodies respond to stress, both physical and emotional. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to print these pieces before the pandemic is over, but it feels good to use my practice as a way to feel through the stress and uncertainty of our world right now.”

When the pandemic has eventually passed, Ian is most looking forward to seeing friends and family, as well as camping as soon as the campgrounds open back up.