Jean Judd: Intricate, Symbolic Textile Art

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Other Mediums

For more than 20 years, Wisconsin-based textile artist Jean Judd has created quilted artwork featuring dense, textural stitching and old world craftsmanship. She also experiments with rust pigmentation, non-traditional dyeing techniques, geometric designs and commercial fabrics.

Jean’s work is impeccable, as seen by her acute attention to each quilted element—and her love for her medium is painstakingly obvious in Last Angel, seen below, which took eight years to create.

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last angel

A traditional angel reminiscent of Byzantine and Orthodox Christian artwork from the 17th century sits amidst a border of flying cherubs.

The colors Jean picked are more earthly than heavenly, and she chose a soft sand color with matching threadwork to illustrate the delicate, modest nature of the angel in the middle.

Serenity Tree, on the other hand, features simple geometric shapes and large blocks of subdued color, but it is profound with meaning.

serenity tree

The tree is in the center of the piece, indicating that to accomplish a tranquil state of mind, one must find one’s center, or balance, in life.

The colorful borders around the tree may signify the walls that keep us from (or help us stay within) that place of inner harmony. . . just as the white, green and sand-colored hues are calming, perhaps the red and black hues represent anger and sadness.

The takeaway from this piece is that life is a constant fluctuation between good and bad emotions. Only with a clear understanding of all our emotions can we come to find peace and self-enlightenment.

Lastly, Floral Crossword Puzzle is a fun, adventurous piece that can be seen in one of two ways: as a hedge maze within a complex garden, or as an equally head-scratching crossword puzzle.

floral crossword puzzle

The piece itself contains an elaborate hand-quilted border in a crosshatch pattern that allows for plenty of texture along with beautifully bright colors and an air of mystery.

Head on over and view some of Jean’s other quilted works, all of which are equally clever and threaded with hidden meaning. If you have the time, I’d especially recommend her “Contaminated Water Series.”

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