Pieces from Jennifer Neil's portfolio on her website.
I’m currently on my third series of work and much to my dismay I’ve been pulled into a rainbow palette. I think after doing neutrals for so many months I’ve been starved for color so the transition was probably inevitable but I’m still trying to come to terms with so many colors. I haven’t quite gotten a good grasp on it yet but I’m having fun re-finding my voice in this new chaotic chapter.
What do you do when you’re just not feelin’ it - whether it’s getting stuck on a particular piece you’re working on, or just in general?
I have two things that I do when I’m in a creative drought. Usually, I do what I call an “easy win” which is when you design something that’s easy to finish but the end result looks really great. Just the act of finishing a small project always reminds me of how good it feels to complete a piece and usually gives me the energy to tackle whatever it is that I’m avoiding.
And if I’m really stuck, I try to find my happy place by doing an improv piece or I “treat myself” by learning something new like trying to sew a shirt or a swimsuit; just anything that will make me feel a sense of accomplishment. That’s really the driving factor for me; feeling like I’ve accomplished something.
If you had a chance to magically become super-proficient in another artistic medium overnight, what would you choose?
Probably metal or wood. I’ve always wanted to design jewelry or furniture and I wish I was the type of person who could have a side hobby but I’m unable to “dabble” in things. If I were to take a woodworking or metal smithing class I would completely abandon sewing and jump head first into that new hobby.
You mention on your website that you want to elevate the art of quilting - that it’s been overlooked because “it has mostly been used by women out of their homes.” Can you say more about that?
What I mean by “elevate” is that I want people to start seeing the medium of quilting on the same level as painting and sculpture. Right now, quilting is seen as a craft or a woman’s hobby while being a painter or sculptor is considered prestigious. The medium of quilting hasn’t been taken seriously because throughout history women have not been taken seriously. I believe that if women had been treated as equals we would see textiles (i.e. quilting, weaving, embroidery, etc) right next to paintings, in museums across the world.
Hannah Hill, who’s an embroider, made a piece of work about textiles not being taken seriously that really sums up my feelings on the matter: here it is.
"The medium of quilting hasn’t been taken seriously because...women have not been taken seriously. I believe that if women had been treated as equals we would see textiles right next to paintings in museums across the world."
Tell us about one of the visual artists that’s meant meant the most to you, and why?
There’s a contemporary artist that I found on Instagram named Gina Gimenez and she has a piece that inspired my first primary quilt design so I contribute my artistic birth to her. She has a lot of abstract geometric designs that really speak to me.
What’s something you wish everyone understood about your work that’s sometimes hard to convey?
This was the hardest question to answer because my work is purely aesthetic, there’s no hidden meaning behind the pieces, so it’s only real intention is to provide joy and inspiration. I find real joy in seeing my visions come to life and when people see my pieces I hope it makes them feel inspired and happy.
"I find real joy in seeing my visions come to life and when people see my pieces I hope it makes them feel inspired and happy."
Who or what can make you laugh really, really hard?
My friends and family. I grew up in a household with a really wild sense of humor. It’s how we communicated with each other so my sense of humor is all over the place from Eric Andre Show to The Office. I also go through phases with Youtube videos where one video will make me laugh for months on end. Right now my favorite video is a Tim and Eric video called Quilting with Will it just kills me.