Masterminds 2013: Artist of the Day, Jenne Giles

Categories: Art, Artopia
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Who are today's most promising emerging artists? Each year, SF Weekly finds 10 of them for our Masterminds issue. You'll be able to see these artists and their work up close at Artopia on Thursday, Feb. 21, at SOMArts Cultural Center.

That night we'll also announce the three artists who will receive grants. Come out and meet them. But first, get to know their work.

See Also: All the Masterminds 2013 artists

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Jenne Giles
Sugar Skull

Far Beyond Pool Tables:

Jenne Giles 

It's a fabric that dates back thousands of years, and it has thousands of uses beyond pool tables surfaces. Felt has a reputation for functionality, but as an art form? Hardly. Look at Jenne Giles' paintings, sculpture, and wearable art, though, and you realize that in the right hands felt is an inspired choice for artistic creations. Salvador Dalí used felt to make celebrated art. Giles does, too, now, after spending the first part of her career making art from clay and metal.

"You can do amazing things with felt," says Giles, who works and lives in Oakland. "It's a really wily medium. It's as raw a medium as paint."

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Jenne Giles
Hibiscus Rose Scarf


Consider her Hibiscus Rose Scarf, which, when wrapped around a person's neck, opens out like a rose in bloom. Or consider Knotted Wing, two feathery wings that are as detailed as those attached to the Winged Victory of Samothrace, that masterful Greek sculpture that stands in the Louvre. Giles, 37, has worked with felt since 2005, and has operated a business that specializes in felt constructions since 2007. In the past few years, she's exhibited in group shows around the United States, and has been a finalist three times for a NICHE Award, given annually to top crafts artists. Thirteen years ago, not long after graduating from Rice University with a bachelor's degree in art and art history, Giles was making sculptures for Burning Man. Now her expertise is felt, and she couldn't be happier.

"Each project," she says, "is an opportunity to learn from it."

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Jenne Giles
Knotted Wing


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