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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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