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Janel Jacobson

Biography to Display: 

1950Born Minneapolis, Minnesota

EDUCATION

1972BA Art, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa

APPRENTICESHIPS & RESIDENCIES

1972Summer Coursework, Pond Farm, Marguerite Wildenhain, Guerneville, California

1974Summer Coursework, Pond Farm, Marguerite Wildenhain, Guerneville, California

1977Summer Coursework, Pond Farm, Marguerite Wildenhain, Guerneville, California

PRIMARY WORK EXPERIENCE

1972—Studio Artist

1975—Studio Artist, Sunrise Pottery, Sunrise, Minnesota

 

Janel Jacobson is known for wheel-thrown porcelain low relief carved covered boxes and jars that are finished with celadon, pale blue, or dark blue glazes and fired in a gas kiln. The second body of Jacobson's work is small-scale hand-carved porcelain sculpture. Primary subject matter across both bodies of Jacobson's work features tree frogs, insects, and foliage.  Works from this period (1985 to 1995) are either intricately carved low relief jars, or three-dimensional, sculptural forms. Pieces are often 4 inches or less frequently in the form of Netsuke (a Japanese carved button-like toggle[1]) and Ojime (a 3/4” to 1” cord fastener bead[2]).

About her work, Jacobson states, “During these early years, my interest and respect for what I observed and drew from nature … found its way into my work.  Drawings led to shallow-relief carving on wheel-thrown pots that over the years became smaller in scale.  The first explorations in the later 1970’s are on stoneware vessels, and then on porcelain clay vases and shallow covered dishes in the early to mid-1980’s.  The carved subjects began to tend to be more three-dimensional in the later 1980’s that were increasingly not suited to the shallow-relief carving style that fit well on the covered dishes.  The next step progressed to small, sculptural porcelain explorations that continued until mid-1995.  Drawings and attention to myriad details informed the compositions being carved into the clay.”[3]

From 1995–2015, Jacobson primarily carved boxwood in the scale of netsuke and okimono (Okimono may be a small Japanese carving, similar to, but larger than netsuke[4]). Beginning in 2016, Jacobson returned to work in porcelain and stoneware, focusing on wheel-thrown utilitarian pottery forms.

In addition to her personal creations, Jacobson was instrumental in founding and further developing the annual St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour in Minnesota for over a quarter of a century.

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netsuke (9/6/2018 9:37 p.m.ET)

2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okimono (9/6/2018 9:34 p.m. ET)

3 Artist submitted Biography received The Marks Project, August 2018.

4 https://www.bigbeadlittlebead.com/guides_and_information/ojime_beads_guide.php (9/6/2018 9:10 p.m. ET)

 

Artist Note:

When I began carving stoneware and porcelain, I had no system for keeping each one-of-a-kind piece unique from another. This became problematic when similar kinds of subjects were used in pieces with different compositions. At some early point, I began with 001 and began to assign a catalog number to each unique, carved piece. In addition, I noted many details for each piece in a log-book that has been a very useful and necessary reference. At first, I did not inscribe the numbers on the pieces. Tags would fall off, galleries would remove them, etc., so I began to inscribe the numbers in inconspicuous places. For the lidded boxes, that number appears on the inside of the lid in most cases. The lid is also signed directly above the number, on the carved lid surface with a tiny “JANEL”. The bowl would also have “JANEL” inscribed within the foot ring on most pieces. The sculptural pieces were more of a problem. It was offensive to me to see my name so blatantly carved into the otherwise natural subject. At that point in time, I had not yet figured out how to make a clever and simple configuration of my initials that would be less distracting mark.

 - Janel Jacobson 8/2018

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, Alfred University, Alfred, New York

Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York

Minnesota Historical Society, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona

Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin

Scripps College, Claremont, California

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Washington, DC

Takamado Netsuke Traveling Collection, Tokyo, Japan

Tweed Art Museum, Duluth, Minnesota

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

Bibliography

Bibliography to Display: 

Benesh, Carolyn L.E. “Janel Jacobson. Stirring the Dawn.” Ornament Magazine 20, no. 3 (Spring 1997).

Dietvorst, Diana. “Janel Jacobson: Celebrates Nature's Smaller Treasures.” Sculptural Pursuit Magazine 2, no.4 (Fall 2003).

Fina, Angela and Jonathan Fairbanks. The Best of Pottery. Bloomington, IN: Quarry Books, 1996.

Sessions, Billie. “Ripples, Marguerite Wildenhain and her Pond Farm Students.” Ceramics Monthly 50no. 10 (December 2002). 

 

 

Typical Marks

Jacobson uses a numbering system which began with 001 to assign a catalog number to each unique, carved piece. Initially numbers were placed on tags that proved to be impermanent, leading Jacobson to inscribe the numbers on each piece. See Artist Note below.

1985
1988
1989
1993
1993
Wild Rose Jar
Date: 1985
Form: Covered Jar
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Thrown
Dimensions: 4.5 x 3.25
Surface Technique: Incised
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Tree Frog Grapevines
Date: 1988
Form: Covered Box
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Thrown
Dimensions: 5 x 5.25"
Surface Technique: Carved, Celadon
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Lady Bug, Lady Bug
Date: 1989
Form: Covered Box
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Thrown
Dimensions: 1.5 x 2.25"
Surface Technique: Carved, Celadon
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Grapevine Walker, Netsuke and Ojime
Date: 1993-1994
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Carved, Hand Built
Dimensions: 1.75 x 1 x .5"
Surface Technique: Unglazed
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
The Icewalkers
Date: 1993
Form: Sculpture
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Hand Built
Dimensions: 2 x 1.5 x .42"
Surface Technique: Unglazed
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Autumn Aria
Date: 1993
Form: Covered Box
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Thrown
Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 1"
Surface Technique: Carved, Celadon
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Above Blue Water
Date: 1994
Form: Covered Jar
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Thrown
Dimensions: 2.25 x 2.5 x 2"
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Wild Plum Rendezvous
Date: Covered Box
Form: Covered Box
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Thrown
Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 1.5"
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Dragon Dance, Manju Netsuke
Form: Sculpture
Materials: Porcelain, Mixed Media
Method: Thrown
Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 1"
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Rabbit Ojime
Form: Sculpture
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Carved, Hand Built
Dimensions: 1 x .05 x .64"
Surface Technique: Unglazed
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Ready
Form: Sculpture
Materials: Wood, Mixed Media
Method: Carved
Dimensions: 3.3 x 1.06 v 2.7"
Surface Technique: Gilding
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson
Photo: Janel Jacobson

Citation: Kuratnick, Jeffrey. "The Marks Project." Last modified October 4, 2018. http://www.themarksproject.org:443/marks/jacobson-0