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Snow Circles

Object Details

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Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department
Renwick Gallery
On View
Renwick Gallery, 1st Floor, Room 103
Renwick Gallery, 1st Floor
Date
1999
Object number
2001.32
Exhibition Label
Ferne Jacobs built this sculpture starting from the center of each circle, expanding and shaping the surface into a poignant vessel. She coiled and twined this form while her mother was dying. The title, Snow Circles, references a short story by Irish author James Joyce, “The Dead” (1914), that muses on how falling snow indiscriminately covers both the living and the dead. As Jacobs explains, “Stitch by stitch, cell by cell, I'm building a body,” and the circles speak to the cycle of life, from mother to child.
This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World, 2022
Luce Center Label
Ferne Jacobs started work on Snow Circles while her mother was dying. The title was inspired by James Joyce's short story "The Dead," in which one character, Gabriel, watches snow fall on the Irish landscape and muses how it covers both the living and the dead. The circles within the woven walls of this vessel symbolize the cycles of life and are connected to show that one cycle moves onto the next, as a mother gives life to her children, who survive her passing. The folds and curves of the fabric evoke Jacobs's description of her baskets as "a place for breath, or for wind." ("Ferne Jacobs: The Will of the Weave," Angeles Magazine, May 1991)
Luce Object Quote
"His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead." James Joyce, “The Dead,” Dubliners, 1914
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase
Artist
Ferne Jacobs, born Chicago, IL 1942
Medium
coiled and twined waxed linen thread
Dimensions
14 1/8 x 12 7/8 x 10 5/8 in. (35.8 x 32.6 x 27.1 cm)
Data Source
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Type
Decorative Arts-Fiber
Crafts
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/vk7954c12b5-7881-46bf-ba94-56e18d505aa5
Record ID
saam_2001.32

Snow Circles

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