A Pioneer in Fiber Arts Revisits her Formative Influences in Claremont

For Immediate Release

March 1, 2023

                      Press Contact: Catherine McIntosh

909 626-1386, cell 713 829-9338


Ferne Jacobs: A Personal World

May 19 – September 24, 2023

Claremont Lewis Museum of Art, 200 W. First St., Claremont

Opening Reception, May 20, 6-8 p.m.

The Claremont Lewis Museum of Art will present the work of Ferne Jacobs, a pioneer in fiber arts who creates unique three-dimensional sculptural forms using ancient basket-making techniques. Ferne Jacobs: A Personal World will feature a broad selection of her sculptures as well as books of her psychological drawings and collage diaries. The exhibition will open with a reception on Saturday, May 20 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and remain on view through September 24, 2023. The Museum, located in the historic Claremont Depot at 200 W. First Street next to the Metrolink Station, is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free every Friday. For more information visit http://clmoa.org.


This exhibition is drawn from and expands upon the Craft in America survey exhibition, Building the Essentials: Ferne Jacobs, April 2, 2022 – June 18, 2022. The Claremont Lewis Museum of Art’s 2023 exhibition, sponsored by June and Simon Li, will present a comprehensive selection from Ferne Jacobs’ 50 years of artmaking.

Jacobs began her work in fiber at the Claremont Graduate University (CGU) in the 1970s. This exhibition is an effort to deepen our knowledge and appreciation of her art by bringing it back to Claremont in the company of works by some of the artists who have influenced her, and a selection of objects she has collected that give insight into her creative vision. It is our hope that the exhibition and its accompanying public programs will serve not only to inform and delight our visitors but also to inspire the next generation of artists studying and working in Claremont.

This exhibition, curated by Seth Pringle and Emily Zaiden, will delve deep into Jacobs’s private world by featuring works by artists she is inspired by and collects. The exhibition will include Vija Celmins’s delicate spider web prints; “Chevak” dolls made by Alaskan artist Rosalie Panyak; paintings and porcelain bowls by abstract artist Patsy Krebs, who also earned her MFA from CGU; watercolors and intimate sculptures by California artist Dominic Di Mare; and art by American fiber artist Lenore Tawney along with personal items and correspondence from their long friendship. Jacob’s Echo Park home is a place of solace and inspiration, a space that she continually curates, containing such objects as carefully arranged rocks, shells, fetishes, Plains Indian and Inuit dolls, Native American baskets, and ceramic bowls by Toshiko Takaezu. Her artistic sensibility permeates every wall, corner and shelf, while the objects with which she surrounds herself enlarge our sense of her artistic inspiration and vision.


Ferne Jacobs, who received her MFA from CGU in 1976 and has since developed an extraordinary body of work in Los Angeles, exemplifies the formative role that Claremont has played in the arts of this region and beyond. Jacobs was recently featured in a one-person survey organized by Craft in America, Los Angeles.

Excerpt from the Craft in America catalog, Building the Essentials: Ferne Jacobs

“Ferne Jacobs has been at the forefront of the revolution in fiber art since the 1960s. She has pioneered the formation of a new category of sculpture. Transforming materials and pushing boundaries, she builds solid structures with coiled, twined, knotted thread. This (Craft in America) exhibition is the first to survey more than 50 years of Jacobs pivotal and timeless artwork from 1966 through the present.

Jacobs has lived and practiced in Echo Park for most of her life, yet she has rarely exhibited in Los Angeles. As such, this exhibition is a homecoming. Like countless other artists working in Southern California during this era and prior to recent shifts in the art world, most of her work migrated to galleries, collections, and museums in New York, the East Coast, and other parts of the country. She was among the leading artists who helped shape the national fiber movement that has flourished in California over many decades, having national and international influence. This gathering of work reflects Jacobs’s overall artistic evolution and highlights her unrelenting search for meaning in form, color, and process.”

Jacobs has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. She was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in 1973–74 and 1977–78. Jacobs is the recipient of the Flintridge Foundation Award for Visual Artists, and in 1995 she was named a Fellow of the College of Fellows by the American Craft Council. Jacobs’s work can be found in numerous public collections, including the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art (Washington D.C.), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), the Museum of Arts and Design (New York City), the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), the de Young Museum (San Francisco), and the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence).

Learn more about Ferne Jacobs and view images:

Craft in America Exhibition

Craft in America Catalog