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Textile artist Jessie Mordine Young on her 100-day weaving challenge

"Textiles are evidence of humanity.”

My name is Jessie and I am a Brooklyn, NY-based textile artist, educator, and scholar. I make woven drawings on my looms with naturally dyed thread.

Why I took on a 100-day weaving challenge:

In the beginning of December, 2021, I embarked on a 100-day weaving challenge, where I committed to making one weaving on a frame loom. I initially thought of doing something like this after I attended an art residency with Thread Caravan in Oaxaca in August. There, I had tried to make 30 weavings in 30 days, but I did not complete the goal as I turned more of my attention to learning about textiles processes in the area rather than completing my own art.

It was the most incredible way to be informed and inspired, and when I returned home, I thought I would re-commit to the challenge, but make it for a longer duration. Extending the project over the course of several months would offer more versatility.

What the process was like:

This project was liberating in many ways. Each day, I arrived at the loom with little expectation and instead, I granted myself permission to play and experiment. There definitely were days where I felt pressured to get that day's piece done and felt it was hard to feel satisfied with the end result. I felt forced to post it to keep up with the challenge. Overall, I felt motivated to make new work with different colors, textures and forms that resulted. I let go of perfection in the process.

What helped sustain me for the 100 days:

This 100 days of making allowed me to focus on the present moment. All in all, I loved how this project posed a new set of challenges that was both fun and rewarding to take on, and I am so happy with the collection as a whole. I think having a very specific task and timeline each day helped me sustain the project and reach the goal. The support I have received also made it worth all of the hours spent on this endeavour.

On how this project has shaped me and my practice:

This project has inspired me to develop distinctly different bodies of work, some of which I had no idea would become a part of my visual language, until I allowed myself the opportunity to play in my practice each day. I will admit, it was quite challenging at times to complete a weaving each day, waking up at 5am before going to work became routine. Also, completing and then sharing a piece that I wasn't always thrilled about was humbling. It grounded me in many ways and did allow me to find balance, particularly at times when I was looking toward the future and looking for the next client project or the next opportunity.

How it feels to finish the project:

While I have finished weaving the series, it is honestly not complete by any means. There have been some exciting developments and collaborations in the works that surround this project, which I look forward to sharing when I can. I have also dreamed up new series in relation to the 100 days project.

Here's my caption from my 100th day, to give you an idea about my experience:

I can’t believe the 100 day weaving challenge is complete. I have pushed my practice in so many ways during these past few months. These weavings have lead me to new ideas, projects, and client collaborations - to many things I couldn’t have predicted when I set out with this goal. There are some really exciting things in the works - classes, documentation projects, and displays of these works, so in reality, this project is nowhere near finished. It is taking on new forms, there will be new iterations, and I am so excited for what is to come next.

You can follow Jessie Mordine Young's work on Instagram @jessie_weaves and her website


About the artist:

Jessie Mordine Young is a Brooklyn-based artist who researches, writes about, curates, makes and teaches textile art.

In one of her more recent bodies of work, she embarked on a project of creating daily artworks, which she calls “woven drawings” or “thread sketches.” These smaller woven works are deeply rooted in moments being marked by color. Furthermore, the small scale of these woven works offer a sense of intimacy through its reference to portraiture. These pieces directly connect to her experiences in nature, where color and texture become tangible references to memory.

Jessie is a recent graduate (2021) from the Masters Program in the History of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City. She received her BFA in 2015 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) with a dual degree in Art History and Studio Art in Fiber and Material Studies. She is a part-time lecturer/faculty in the MFA Textiles Program at Parsons School of Design.


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