After a lifetime of appreciating the midwestern landscapes, in 2020 Jaana Mattson moved her home and studio from Minneapolis, MN to the peaceful Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Asheville, NC.
Since 2014 she has been developing new techniques in needle felting to best capture the vibrancy and nuance of landscape. In 2020 her award-winning work and tutorials were published in the book "Jaana Mattson's Landscapes in Wool: The Art of Needle Felting".
Jaana's journey to her current work has been a meandering creative path. After completing her MFA with a focus in fibers at UW-Seattle in 1999, she designed and produced art jewelry for 10 years before returning to her mixed-media roots. Her current work in fiber and wood emerged from this study of diverse craft media including welding, stained glass, encaustic medium and felting combined with found objects.
When not travelling the country to show her work or teach, Jaana is at home in Western North Carolina with her dogs, renovating her house, composing new landscapes in the studio and working on tutorials for workshops.
"Using delicate layers of dyed roving, my needle felted wool textiles are built and anchored one wisp at a time with a notched needle until the image becomes fabric. With these materials one can manipulate light and color in much the same way as an impressionist painter, with the resulting layers of fiber blended by the viewer’s eye. The organic textures of wool and wood energize each other as the fiber composition is recessed into locally milled timber or found objects. By placing each completed textile in wood, the resulting sculpture takes on a resonance greater than the sum of its parts.
In my studio practice these compositions are meditations on the sense-memory of nature; the vibrancy of sunlit fields set against the ominous clouds of an approaching storm, the sounds of insects singing in tall grass or waves lapping the shore by moonlight to the relentless tug of the moon's gravity. After laying down bold, abstract colors as an emotional foundation for the composition, I build up to the final details until the drama and serenity of nature are a balm to my senses and a reassurance in turbulent times." – Jaana Mattson
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
A contented introvert by nature, Jaana’s joy in solitude is made possible by occasional, invigorating forays into humanity via workshops and art fairs. Sharing passion for art, landscape and creative process is the rich inversion that allows her to enjoy living in her head the rest of the time. Thriving on the fringes, Jaana pops back and forth to revel briefly in community before she withdraws once again to dwell on the significance of “things”.
Jaana has studied art and craft since she had any choice in the matter (and is grateful to have been able to follow her own lead on this). She has a B.S. in studio art from Skidmore College, and M.F.A. from UW-Seattle, with many hypothetical certificates from intense Independent Study. After being born, raised, and often stuck in Minneapolis, MN, Jaana eventually heard the siren’s song of the Blue Ridge Mountains and moved to North Carolina with no regrets. She lives there now with her dogs in her home studio among the treetops.