We believe that art and design is healing, enhances one’s quality of life and can save the world if we let it. Jess Feury learned, taught, felt and lived that truth and continues to do so with her textile business in Berkeley.
Daughter of a mechanic and artist, Jess was raised with an appreciation for the magic of working with one’s hands. Her love for shiny bits started with a childhood rock collection. She developed an affinity for crystals with the guidance of her mother’s best friend who would bring Jess to her family’s gatherings and moon ceremonies. Jess would sit in reverent awe of the crystals used (and the beadwork pouches they were kept in).
An appreciation for nature often manifests into deep empathy for the world around you. For Jess, the desire to make art, and a desire to help others led to a career as a children’s art therapist for hospice. After over a decade of working with hospice youth, she embarked on the journey of motherhood. While excited, she noticed the emotional wear that working around death and dying had on her spirit. Rather than nurture her soul as it once had, it was depleting the energy she needed to be a mama.
It was then that Jess discovered weaving. Learning the art was the medicine she needed to cope with the huge changes on her horizon, while still working an emotionally and spiritually taxing job. As a result, Jess worked out her feelings on the loom and found comfort in nature. Observing the metallic bellied hummingbirds in the garden brought solace. They were Jess’s messengers of joy.
With the help of that loom, thread, and nature, she grew a fulltime career in weaving. As a result, Jess’s days are now filled with hand dyeing and weaving textiles. Akin to her feathered muses and their nests, she weaves metallic bits into pieces alongside vintage fabric and hand dyed thread.
Jess’s process is simple. Sit down and weave – no mood boards or over thinking, just do. And what she does is beautiful – pillows, wall-hangings, blankets, hand dyed sheets, jewelry (and wearable textiles as well!).
“I think it continues to evolve. I (have) shed years of holding space for others and (am learning) to just hold space for myself. For years, my energy used to be very outwardly focused. (Consequently), it’s like I’m just now getting to know me. (Furthermore), I’ve struggled with being comfortable with my new identity as a fiber artist and not as an art therapist who weaves – accepting that what I am doing is enough for the world and that it means something.
However, what deeply resonates with me is how just being a kind and loving human can radiate in ways unimaginable. I hope to imbue some of that love into my work. What I do know is that I cannot imagine not making something with my hands every day.”
We want to thank and honor Jess for the beautiful and meaningful work she has done for the creative community and community at large. Together we can all make it a better place.
Photos courtesy of Jess Feury + photographer Nora Lowinsky.