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Biography

master in costume design (Edinburgh College of Art)

Jeanette Sendler with Alison Mountain during a 2010 Summerschool
Jeanette (left) with Alison Mountain
In Feb 2011 Jeanette spent 3 weeks in Japan to research current & traditional textile art forms in preparation for two, week long 2011 Summer Schools ‘Felt & Japan' .

Work started to convert the former church in Clinton Street , Newburgh to a Textile Centre & residence for Jeanette & her partner Dave J Ford . Work was complete by July 2011.

2009 saw the relocation of Hat in the Cat to Perth at 3 Main Street, Bridgend. Hat in the Cat Shop, Perth, 2009

1n 2008 Jeanette & Alison Mountain opened Hat in the Cat on Newburgh High Street. The name reflected it's new roll & it's previous life ‘The Cat Shop', a local charity for homeless cats.

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Hat in the Cat Shop, Newburgh, 2008

In March 2007 Jeanette started a year long residency in the Tayside town of Newburgh, on the North East edge of the Kingdom of Fife. After 6 months Jeanette permanently relocated there buying with her partner Dave Ford a former church on Clinton Street . This was in due course to become Big Cat Textiles. Newburgh has a vibrant arts scene with Fife Arts Coop, the new WASPS Artists studios at The Steeple, Twist Fibre Craft Studio & the Sun Gallery.

In 2007, Jeanette & her Millinery Summer School students at Edinburgh College of Art beat 10 other Summer Schools (photography, sculpture etc) to win joint rosette for Millinery sharing the prize with Graphic Design. The last time Jeanette took a Summer School at the college in 2005 it too won the rosette for Millinery.

 

She ran summer schools at Edinburgh College of Art, her private studio, Kilmarnock Academy & Rensselaerville, USA.

Girl on plinth, the train of her grey knitted garment pulled above the camera

 

In 2006 Jeanette moved direction again to discover something many have long left behind – the knitting machine. Almost the first of her mind blowing creations to come off the needles were shown in an exhibition at The Museum of Arts & Crafts. Itami, Japan, & Crescent Art Gallery Scarborough, North Yorkshire. She collaborated with Barbara Ridland of Shetland in this new field in summer 2006 creating Textile Interiors - a combination of knitting & felt art.

 

 photography Dave J Ford

 
2 Knitted Lizard like forms
 
 

Along with the installation art Jeanette produced some more playful designs....

 
In 2005 Jeanette had residencies in Shetland & Drummond. She also joined a felt research trip to Mongolia. She continues to teach part-time at the Edinburgh College of Art, Drummond Community Centre & her private studio in Dublin Street. Again commissioned by the Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkaldy, this year the pantomime was Babes in the Wood. Classic image of white mohican head-dress on girl

an iconic creation of Jeanette's in her world of felt

photo: Joanna Kane

 
In 2004 Jeanette managed to execute 4 residencies: Prestonpans, in East Lothian, Wick, in Caithness, Broellin, in Germany & started Drummond, in Edinburgh.
 
Research and Residencies took Sendler to Finland, Lithuania, Kazakhstan and Kirgizstan. The impact of these travels is evident in her new found commitment to a variety of educational projects directed to furthering public knowledge of the ancient craft of felt making.
book with 'Filz' written on it

Sendler’s arrival in Scotland over a decade ago may have been more fortuitous than she initially realized as the region seems to have offered much in the way of inspiration and resources for her interest in felt. She now teaches part-time at the Edinburgh College of Art and has been invited to lecture at numerous institutions in Scotland and Northern Europe.

Her work is included in Filz Felt by Peter Schmitt, likely known by specialist books shop goers for its particularly appropriate felt cover.

all in italics: Jessica Hemming: Selvedge textile magazine issue 3 Sept /Oct 2004

 
 
 
The landscape, architectural spaces and the voids of ghostly forms are Sendler’s subjects. Large scale sculptures are often evocative of interior cavities, both of the human body and organic forms such as the cavities of rotten tree trunks.
red felt rope bundled inside hollow tree trunk
Here Jeanette combines the project life-line (Feast of Salt) with Trees (Decay of Life into Death)
During a residency at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Arboretum in Sussex Sendler created “Decay and Life” a series of felted skins that cover several of the parkland’s trees. The trees were subsequently undressed and the felt installed at the Beatrice Royal Gallery in Eastleigh, Hampshire. The gallery installation resulted in the project taking on two lives. During the outdoor installation, the cycles of growth and decay underwent constant change. Installed in the museum setting the project took on a new identity as a static record of the moment when decay was halted and put on display. Perhaps most evident in this project is one of Sendler’s trademarks techniques: the incorporation of other fibres such as bark, grasses and moss with felted wool.
tree trucnk dressed  in drapped felted fabric with stretch holes
This broad definition of “fibre” is also evident in Sendler use of hand made paper in several installations.
Paper and felt are possibly more closely related than the other fields that come under the wide umbrella of textile art. Pulp and wool eventually arrive at the uniform surfaces we recognize as commercial paper and felt. Both belie the original hand making processes that Sendler chooses to explore.
 
Both the Life-line & the Tree-skins were
hand made by Jeanette
'Decay of Life into Death'
 
Ghost Letters:
  Other works of performance art address the relationship between language and textile art. Working in collaboration with Nicole Dahlinger “Ghost Letters” is a piece of performance art based on works by the American poet Richard McCann.
 
bodies covered in felt with fingers  protruding A series of performances in London and Berlin describe, in Sendler’s words, “the journey of two friends into the world of death; one dies and the other one returns to the real world.” Similar to the earlier “Decay and Life” the costumes for the performance were intentionally subjected to the elements. Exposure to weather caused the fibres on the exterior surface to break down, while the performer’s body heat and movement encouraged a similar interior decay.
hand frantically scribbling
above: Ghost Letters (1998)
 
A Form of Patience
the last of the 'Ghost Letters'
(2004)
bundles of hand made paper

Jessica Hemming: Selvedge 

right: 'Feast of Salt' (2003)

 

In Broellin, Germany, in the summer of 2004, Jeanette helped to close the final chapter of the 'Ghost Letters' series.


red rope hang on a wall
 
Hats:
classic image of black hat with red feather. Feather end close up & in focus  
back shot of girls head in bizaar white felt hat with blue dyed feather piercing the hat
Red-head in black hat with pink feather
Jeanette teaches hat-making regularly in workshops & her annual summer-school
3 white felt theatrical hats

The art of hat making or millinery, to be precise, was Sendler’s early passion. From this interest evolved her current commitment to fibre and performance art. Resident in Scotland since 1991 Sendler studied at the Edinburgh College of Art, earning a BA (Hons) followed by an MA completed in 1997 both in Theatre Costume Design.

Alongside costume production Sendler continues to create a line of felted hats that teeter between the functional and the theatrical.

 
 Over the past decade Sendler’s interest in costume design has moved from the theatre stage to performance art and much of her recent projects now involve large-scale installations rendered in felt or paper.
 
East Berlin artist Jeanette Sendler’s background in theatre and costume design is evident in the large scale works she now creates as performance art pieces and installations. After training as a tailor for women’s clothing Sendler worked in the costume departments of various theatres including the Bertolt Brecht Theatre and Comic Opera in Berlin, the Scottish Opera, the English National Opera and the Australian Opera in Sydney.
 
  woman arms raised holding thick white felt & bathed in red light Sendler’s considerable commitment to the worlds of fibre and performance art is evident in the several organizations she is associated with founding. In the same year, 1997, that she completed her studies at Edinburgh College of Art Sendler co-founded Metacorpus, a company that aims to increase the awareness and appreciation of costume art through the organization and support of performance art production.
Sendler was also involved with the co-founding of Emerging Properties a second performance art company based in Berlin that is committed to projects that combine poetry and fibre art. fingers on a gravestone

In addition to these organizations, Sendler’s business Costume Construction handles special commissions for costume projects.

paper cocoons hanging on fine wire
Sendler’s solo exhibition “Threads of Red and White” at the Medaliu Gallery in Lithuania reinstalls a version of the above piece along with “Chorus of Ancient Souls” and “Chorus of Living Souls” from “Ghost Letters”.  
   

Skin is a recurring theme throughout Sendler’s work to date, be it the vein-like thread of her architectural installations or the shedding and decomposition that takes place in many of her performances. With the popularity of deconstructed and unraveled textiles in fashion, this invocation of decomposition, rather than merely unraveling, signals the fundamentally different possibilities that felt offers as a medium over other textile materials.

   
The French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari use woven and felted textiles as examples of two inherently different notions of space: the smooth and the striated. As a textile smooth space relates to felt as “a supple solid product [. . . which] implies no separation of threads, no intertwining, only an entanglement of fibres obtained by fulling.” Such philosophising, at the very least, is acutely aware of the fundamental differences between felt and various other textile structures. Sendler too seems aware, and inspired, by these differences.
all in italics: Jessica Hemming: Selvedge textile magazine issue 3 Sept /Oct 2004
 

Jeanette would like to thank the Scottish Arts Council for their help & support in many projects over the years

Big Cat Textiles Newburgh

Big Cat Textiles
3 Clinton Street
Newburgh, Fife

Scotland KY14 6DP

email: Jeanette
landline: 01337 841004
Hat Shop: 01738 624213
mobile: 07813 023607
webpage: davejford