Taking Notice

Memories and travels that offer inspiration
I am an artist. I notice things. I notice stones and trees and buildings. I notice the color of a flower and the shape of a roofline. If I stop to pay attention to what is around me, and I try to remember to do that frequently, I am in awe of what I see. 
 
I grew up around New York City. That skyline was imprinted in my memory; as a child I thought that all cities had a skyline just like Manhattan. I have created several architectural series, exploring both materials and techniques. 
 
I have been a gardener for all of my adult decades. A garden full of colors and textures and shapes is always a delight. This, too, has influenced much of my work over these years. It will continue to do so.
 
Although both architecture and gardens still impact my work, my first of eight trips to Africa, in 2005, changed me and my work forever. These were working trips; I was doing micro-craft development, and had the opportunity to interact with many African women. I lived in their communities, ate their food, and played with their children. 
 
Everything about them: their lives, the ways they live, and the ways they raise their children, were all new to me. Their experiences and expectations were so very different than my experiences and expectations. These experiences are what shaped them. I wanted to reflect that in my work.  
 
Since that time I have explored many different techniques and materials. My series are often about women: African, American, women everywhere. Women who grow and learn in their communities, who are formed by their lives and their experiences. My pieces are not smooth and regular; they reflect and honor the lives of these women. The inside of each piece reveals her inner strengths – strengths not always visible, which may require careful looking. 
 
I am currently exploring the use of materials that are often undervalued, and frequently associated with women and home: used tea bags, sewing pattern papers. Familiar materials that are worthy of consideration. 
 
For more information, visit www.jackieabrams.com.
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