I create embellished textile assemblages that investigate the ornamentation and armoring of female bodies sited in a Catholic aesthetic. My work marries traditional sewing, embroidery and embellishing techniques and materials with found objects to create decorative, iconic objects that exist as female power figures. The textile works are all hand-sewn and beaded, created through a slow-art process. The creative act is a meditative process of hand stitching and beaded, echoing traditional liturgical garment embellishment.
My work concerns the female form as an ornamented and empowered form existing within a ritualized context. As an artist, my point of view is inspired and informed by fashion, feminism, and a Catholic aesthetic rooted in my upbringing as a German-American. Fashion has been a constant personal and socio-cultural interest of mine from a very young age. Designers/artists like Alexander McQueen and Iris Van Herpen epitomize the concept of fashion as both armor and decoration that inspire me. Feminism is embedded as I intend to create images of the feminine as beautiful warrior. Being exposed to German Baroque religious architecture, art, and iconography as a young person has influenced the excessively embellished and iconic format consistently utilized as visual forms in the body of work. The intention of the works is to exist in the world as objects of beautiful power.
Jennifer A. Reis is a textile artist who creates intensively hand-worked, ornately beaded, and embellished paper doll icons on cloth using traditional and alternative materials. Her artistic practice has been honored with numerous awards and prizes, including Kentucky’s Al Smith Fellowship, national adjudicated and invitational exhibitions, and teaching opportunities at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, John C. Campbell Folk School, Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design, Cleveland Institute of Art, Society of Contemporary Craft, and the Southwest School of Art.