Multi Arts; Visual Arts: Crafts, Functional and/or Decorative, Jewelry, Media and Visual Communications, Mixed Media, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Textiles, Visual Arts Instructor, Works on paper
“When we connect ourselves to our ancestors, we are reminded of our strength.
My work is an exploration of personal and cultural identity, jumping hurdles backwards and forwards to reconnect ties and hold tight to fraying ends. I believe in art as our first language. I believe in its magic, its medicine. I trust it to help make sense of things I often can’t put into words. I trust in the making of it and I hold that making sacred.
Twining a corn husk basket on the western shore of the Susquehanna, centuries after colonization, I sit re-indigenizing our homelands. Gathering treasures washed ashore with my friend, we build altars to the mystery, to the world around us, to our shared experience, and we litter them with old German magic passed down and down. I teach an artist to make rope and the grass reaches up to join us, we receive its lessons. I grieve a broken heart, children I’ll never have, and work to give strength to strangers, never knowing that these are the lessons held in my trust for the process, the choosing of thread, the rhythms and colors, until the work is complete and I understand its name and I let it go. I wrap thread endlessly for years sharing stories and making connections, part of this continuum. In every piece, I carry our ancestors forward. I tell our histories, celebrate our lives and dream our futures.”
Jess McPherson is an award-winning artist, cultural educator, and social impact strategist of Shawnee and Pennsylvania German descent.