IMAGINE // EXPERIMENT // TRANSFORM
“This is how you keep a traditional craft vibrant, dynamic, and relevant in a world of mass production. Each action is meditative and thoughtful, each piece a compilation of the story of my time spent on the piece.
“This is honest, important work. This is my great hope. This is a conversation in time, texture, and color. Creating a utilitarian object invites the buyer to use it in the world, or in their daily lives, extending the story of that objet d'art.”
Amber's workshop is intentional. A wall of windows provides daylight and natural air. Pieces of wilderness are used as décor. Books on art theory, esoteric weaving techniques, and Nordic symbolism are scattered throughout. The history of her space is in the worn plaster walls, the chalkboards and transom windows, handed-down looms, the warped maple floor.
Here Amber can think, she learns, and she creates. This is not quite a rebellion, but a quiet voice to remind us that what we buy, and what human hands produce, can be (and maybe should be) simply beyond the ordinary.
“Weaving takes time. Good design takes time. This is about finding myself: who I am creatively,” says Jensen. For over a decade she has focused her career on utilitarian but lavishly constructed handbags and backpacks. This led to a formative interest and reverence for weaving, for the challenge of learning a traditional craft as well as the robust and lusciously tactile experience of it. “Weaving requires so much intention, and everything that comes off the loom represents so much physical work and time... I think you get a sense of those intangibles when you touch a hand-woven piece. It's a beautiful thing.”
Amber's education led from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, to the Eugene (Oregon) Textile Center, to the John C. Campbell Folk School, to the old high school studios in Marshall, NC. She's created works for the Walker Art Center and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. She's been a visiting artist at Penland School where her textiles incited a frenzy of touch in the weaving department. She drove 6000 miles with two floor looms in the back of her Subaru to teach a 3-day workshop at the Jennings Hotel in Oregon. While Amber may not be sure where her career in textiles will go, she is driven by something profound.