Heather Jones is an artist whose work questions and pushes traditional conceptions of both quilt making and painting by exploring the formal possibilities of color and design.
The artist’s works are created by cutting fabric with scissors, building a composition through assemblage and collage, joining the fabric components together with a sewing machine, and pressing the fabric with an iron. Once the composition is complete, Jones stretches the fabric around a wooden panel and staples it into place, allowing the final gestures to be made as a result of the fabric and its seams under tension. By manipulating fabric and pulling it taut, seam lines shift and stretch, revealing their final placement only once the work is finished. Jones’ chosen material is integral to her artistic process as she explains: “I am drawn to fabric, to its familiarity, its inherent qualities of saturated color and textural luminosity, and its invitation to be touched. Fabric reflects, captures, and interacts with light in a way that no paint can.”
Jones’ work is grounded in the tradition and history of textiles and the ways it has intersected with politics, race and gender throughout time. She writes:
I am interested in the historical and socio-political relationship between women and textiles and women’s work. I explore the relationship between gender, place, time, and culture in my work, as a way of connecting with my Euro-Appalachian ancestors who settled into southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky, many of whom made goods with their hands as their livelihood and connection to their ancestral homes. Conceptually, my work carries on the tradition of woman as maker, pushes the boundary between fine art and craft, and questions the definition of painting.
A native Cincinnatian, Jones studied art history at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning, earning both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts (ABT). She currently lives outside of the city on a small farm with her husband and two children. Her work has been exhibited widely at national and international venues including the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, OH; Iowa Quilt Museum, Winterset, IA; New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA; the University of California, Berkley, CA; Boecker Contemporary, Heidelberg, Germany; Five Walls, Melbourne, Australia; and M17 Contemporary Art Center, Kiev, Ukraine. Jones’ first book, Quilt Local: Finding Inspiration in the Everyday was released in October 2015 by STC Craft, an imprint of Abrams, New York. She was selected as an artist-in-residence for Kehinde Wiley’s inaugural class at Black Rock Senegal.