The Queue: Jeannine Marchand

The Queue: Jeannine Marchand

Get to know the people featured in the pages of our magazine as they share what's inspiring them right now.

Published on Monday, September 19, 2022.
blog post cover graphic for the queue featuring jeannine marchand
cover of the fall 2022 issue of American Craft magazine

Welcome to the Gather series of The Queue.
A biweekly roundup for and by the craft community, The Queue introduces you to the artists, curators, organizers, and more featured in American Craft. Our Fall 2022 issue is centered on the theme "Gather" and is out now! Join now to reserve your copy. In The Queue, we invite the inspiring individuals featured in this issue to share personally about their lives and work as well as what's inspiring them right now.

Jeannine Marchand coaxes light and shadow out of folded and smoothed clay.
Jeannine Marchand is based in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, but Puerto Rico, where she learned to make ceramics as a child, informs her current work, “sans the lively colors,” she says. Her ceramics—abstract, smooth monochromatic white clay formations—capture and reflect light. She says of her work, “I aspire to heighten awareness of everyday sensorial experiences, highlighting what incited a question or reaction.” She is featured in “Fine Folds” in the Fall 2022 issue of American Craft.

jeanninemarchand.com | @jeanninemarchand

portrait of jeannine marchand with camera beside creek
sculptural ceramic work by jeannine marchand

LEFT: Jeannine Marchand. Photo by Nico Marchand Wheeler. RIGHT: 3D hand folds. Photo by Jeannine Marchand.

How do you describe your work or practice in 50 words or less?
My work: Simple, organic, sensual, tactile, photosensitive, fragile, soothing, challenging, monochromatic, soft, hard (in all meanings of the word), heavy, uplifting, breathtaking, complex, meticulous, elegant, sublime, ethereal, comforting, inspiring, flowing, refined, perfectly imperfect, allusive, illusive, considered, meditative.

My studio practice: Two decades ago, my ideal studio practice consisted of going into the studio and asking myself what I felt like doing and letting it lead me. After being in production/mom mode for the last decade-plus, I’m excited to revert and see what new forms emerge from the clay.

studio nestled in misty woods on hillside at dusk
wall with various ceramic sculptures by jeannine marchand
inside view of jeannine marchands studio with various works in progress and wall decorations

TOP: Jeannine Marchand's studio. Photo courtesy of the artist. BOTTOM LEFT: Abstract forms in nature, oceanic, flora, and microscopic worlds. White clay, variable dimensions. Photo by Jeannine Marchand. BOTTOM RIGHT: Finishing and photographing folded wall pieces in natural light in the studio. Photo by Jeannine Marchand.

What forms do you look to—in nature, design, literature, or elsewhere—to inform your work?
Forms in nature are where awe lies for me. When a landscape, organism, or inanimate object catches my eye, I capture it with my camera or with a mental picture. I also remember how it made me feel. What made me stop to look at it, and that feeling, is what informs my work.

sculptural ceramic work by jeannine marchand
screen capture of hurricane maria weather radar image

LEFT: Jeannine Marchand, Folds XCVI (based on Hurricane María NOAA radar image), 2018, clay and wood, 50 x 6 in. Photo by Jeannine Marchand. RIGHT: Radar image of Hurricane Maria, 2017. Image courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency.

You are originally from Puerto Rico. How does its land or culture inform what you do?
The flora, fauna, oceanic creatures, the beach, the sand, mountains, the people, music, and traditions are at the core of my identity. Their beauty and passion are unparalleled. Nostalgia aside, I do believe my work is a distillation of it all, sans the lively colors.

What are your favorite pieces of craft media (books, movies, TV shows, podcasts, etc.)?
The books I read and listen to are mostly about psychology and how people perceive the world through their senses. I also enjoy watching historic series, like Vikings and Outlander. Who isn’t mesmerized watching Floki carving in the middle of the woods, or Scotsmen forging swords?

jeannine marchands hands working on clay sculpture with foldsceramic sculpture by jeannine marchand mounted on wall above bench

TOP LEFT AND RIGHT: Jeannine Marchand working. Photos by Cristina Córdova. BOTTOM LEFT: Jeannine Marchand, Folds CLXVI (latest piece installed in a private home), 24 x 72 x 6½ in. Photo by Jordan Carlyle. BOTTOM RIGHT: Jeannine Marchand, Capullo, hand built white clay, 22 x 6 x 3½ in. Photo by Tom Mills.

overhead view of jeannine marchand seated on floor working on clay ceramic sculptureceramic sculpture by jeannine marchand

If today you could have any craft artists’ work for your home or studio, whose would it be and why?
I would have Brancusi’s Sculpture for the Blind. As an undergrad, I used to visit it at the Philadelphia Museum of Art some Sundays, their free admissions day. I would display it, without the vitrine, for the whole world to experience it and feel pure joy.

Which artists, craft exhibitions, or projects do you think the world should know about, and why?
This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World, the current exhibition at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC, is an exhibition commemorating its 50th anniversary. It encapsulates what is happening now in the craft world and, by extension, reflects our present times.

stack of four issues of american craft with the fall 2022 issue on top

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