About the Artist
Jennifer Kumer is a self-taught abstract textile artist who creates artworks with organic shapes, bold lines, and colors using a variety of textile techniques. In her practice, she often incorporates punch needle, embroidery, felt, as well as mixed-media art techniques to create her textural pieces. After 10 years of living in the United States, she is now based in the Netherlands where she lives and works from her home studio. She graduated from Maharishi International University in 2017 with a double degree in Sustainable Living and Media & Communications, a pioneering university known for its ‘consciousness-based education’ model and for incorporating Transcendental Meditation into its curriculum.
Jennifer draws inspiration from her multicultural upbringing, personal relationships, and profound experiences with creative coaching and therapy. She began making mixed-media abstract art when she moved to Amsterdam in 2017. In 2020, she became a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach and began facilitating workshops at retreats and offering creative coaching sessions for people desiring to reconnect with their creativity. The same year, her first exhibition “Empathic Wisdom” was held at 4bid Gallery. Since COVID-19, she moved and now lives in Soest, a small town in central Netherlands, and is focused on creating a new body of textile works from her home studio.
About Artist’s Work:
The driving force in my work is textures and form, consisting of abstract, organic shapes that speak to me as the primal source of imagination. It represents the state prior to meaning-making and is therefore open and free for interpretation. My work is a celebration of the beauty of the unconscious and an expression of my desire to understand the world around me through the lens of abstraction.
The techniques I use in creating my work, mainly through punch needle and embroidery, both have a repetitive quality that allows me to “un-think” and be in the moment. The making process connects me to the deeper, more intuitive side of myself and the process is slow, contemplative, and meditative.
The materials I choose to work with also tell a story. My work is made with a variety of natural materials such as wool and cotton but also materials not typically used in traditional fiber art such as recycled sari silk, bedsheets, or clothing garments. I’m always experimenting with new ways to incorporate natural fibers and yarn from recycled, upcycled, or sustainably sourced materials in my artworks. The tactile materials are able to evoke the feeling of warmth, calmness, and comfort.
The ideas and inspirations that inform my work are very varied. I may work from sketchbook scribbles or use a particular yarn or material as my starting point. I always consciously try to take an element from my current work into the next. This gives continuity whilst progressing and developing myself and what I do.
What does “Home” mean to you:
Home to me is a place of creative refuge. A place of nourishment, care, and a sense of belonging. A physical, emotional, and spiritual shelter where I am safe to experiment, stumble and fall because I am always held no matter what. I’ve struggled with finding a sense of home all my life because of my nomadic upbringing. For the longest time, I held pride in being able to call home wherever I am and grew convinced that freedom to be wherever I want to be was one of the greatest joys. However, I soon realized I had never given myself a chance to settle and to develop an attachment to a place, a person, a routine, a ‘home’ I would claim as my own. It was then that I saw my easy-going attitude as just a facade for my attachment fears. The idea of losing a home was scarier than never having it in the first place. But all of my anxiety and insecurities melted away when I met my partner who is now a strong anchor to my ship at the harbor we call our home in the Netherlands. For the first time, I admitted to myself that in fact, I didn’t want to travel anywhere else or explore yet a new city or country. I was tired and I wanted a home. My partner offered me the spacious attic to be my atelier so I can have my own creative home within our home. This has become the greatest gift because this special space became the key to the flourishing of my creativity. I’ve found my love for textile art during quarantine time and the slow, contemplative nature of making brought forth artworks that evoked the feeling of warmth, calmness, and comfort – my embodied experience of ‘home’.
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