I have a strong memory of my grandmother knitting afghans throughout my childhood. It was something that she loved to do and she did it well. A hand made blanket is infused with so much time and passion, it tells a story unto itself. Lucky for us, Jessica Green, a textile artist from Marshall, North Carolina, is continuing the tradition of our grandmothers and their grandmothers...
As her process is 100% done by hand, Jessica is devoutly true to her craft. She utilizes traditional weave structures and patterns that were common to colonial weaving of 19th century America and Europe.
Jessica, "I am deeply inspired by the history of 'women's work' and women's place in weaving as well as the way women have carried this history along, lifting it up each time it's almost forgotten. I draw upon those women every day."
Jessica shears her goats twice a year, which she then mixes with the sheep fleece sourced from neighborhood farms. Jessica, "The mixed fleeces are dyed with natural dyes (sometimes left undyed, and sometimes dyed with a combination of natural dye and a low acid protein dye) and finally I spin the fleece into yarn." It takes Jessica 3-4 months to spin enough yarn for just one blanket. Then the weaving begins...
Jessica researches online and keeps a few historical weaving books closeby for inspiration. Once a creative direction is decided upon, she starts to draft her motif. Jessica, "From the beginning the design starts to feel a little more mine- as human error creeps in. Once I have the gist of the mathematics of the design, then I'm free to riff, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot."
This gorgeous coverlet is part of Jessica's hand spun collection, as all the wool used is from a local sheep and her own goats. Jessica, "I washed and carded the fleece myself and spun it into the beautiful yarn that is the foundation for this blanket."
I love the world that Jessica has created for herself. She raises her animals, forages for natural dyes, shears her goats and sheep, then spins and weaves her yarn into magnificent pieces to treasure and share. Jessica, "I find deep satisfaction on carrying on an ancient art form that links nearly every culture that has ever existed."
Jessica grew up in Texas but recently moved to North Carolina and feels quite at peace in her new surroundings. Jessica, "I am completely enamored by Appalachia. It is distinct and historic and fiercly guards its culture. It's lawless and wild and storytelling is deeply embedded in everday life." And because of artisans like Jessica, the rich and varied stories imbedded in this ancient art form continue to be told.
Photos: A Little Weather Content: Sweet Peach