Jamin London-TinselPortland, Oregon

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident (AIA) 2022

Jamin London Tinsel is a studio artist and high school art educator living in Portland, Oregon. She received an MFA in ceramics from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2007, and a Bachelors Degree in Art Education with an emphasis in Sculpture from Colorado State University in 1999. Jamin is last year’s recipient of the Oregon High School Art Educator of the year award. She is currently on the board of the Oregon Art Education Association.  She has completed art residencies at Oxbow Center for the Arts, Oregon College of Art and Craft, and TICA summer institute at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Jamin has exhibited her work at the Maryhill Museum, University of Southern Oregon, as well as other galleries in Portland, Philadelphia, and New York.

Come into this cave with me.  Come into these 100 tiny caves and we’ll stitch ourselves back together.  In this work, I’ve been trying to make a safe place to crawl into to look at our wounds.  I want to put a blanket over you made of these things that have all fallen apart.  These are shards of things that used to be familiar.  They don’t fit anymore–Is that why it broke?–but I figured out a way to stretch them around us, to make something new.

In the pieces I’ve been working on, I’ve been intrigued by the cave, and the quilt.  A cave from the outside can be foreboding:  a cold, rough exterior and a black, gaping mouth.  But inside I’ve found warmth, wild colors and a sheltered space to rest and heal.  On the floor of the cave I sat down and began making a quilt of the broken pieces I carried in with me.  I strung fired clay pieces together into clay covering, also to protect and comfort.  I wanted them to be heavy, to hold me down, to help me hold on to my life force slipping away, as if I were stringing together a new life from pieces of the old.  With a quilt nearing completion, I wrapped it around me and found to my surprise this protective covering was also uncomfortable, limiting, constricting, so heavy, and even painful.  And I knew I’d found something.

This artistic process began by stringing together fired pieces of porcelain and stoneware with zip-ties into suggestive wall hangings, or “garments”, at the same time I was looking at pictures of so many caves!  When I switched from using zip-ties to using stretchy black bungee cord, I loved how it stretched and pulled like a net, and embodied tension.  I was drawn to the shape of the cave openings, and then was so intrigued at what could be inside–the otherworldly interiors of some caverns inspired me and fed my glazing palette.