Scotty Jones of Urthy Fiber Art is currently featured in the Ohio Craft Museum gift shop, and has been an artist at Columbus Winterfair and Greater Cincinnati Winterfair. Here are his answers to our questions:
OCM: What are you up to in your studio?
SJ: I was about to head into a very busy show season when the pandemic hit. My inventory was good and I was prepared. Then one show after another began canceling and our governor issued a stay at home order. At this point I’ve rarely left home in 35 days. Fortunately my studio is in my home so I’ve had lots of what I would call “thoughtful” studio time.
If you have ever been a visitor in my art fair tent you probably have seen me sketching or journaling in a black notebook. I’m constantly writing down ideas. One of the best things about being a festival artist is the constant stream of beautiful artwork you are surrounded by and draw inspiration from. In a typical season I’m so busy I rarely get to go through those ideas and try new things. I’ve been reading through those sketches and notes.
A reoccurring word last year was “Technicolor.” I’m rolling out a new series I’m calling the “Technicolor series”. I’m influenced by imagery of my childhood and remember the switch to color TV and the color block screen image at the end of the broadcast day. (In those days, TV wasn’t on 24 hours a day.) I’ve begun screen printing on bold colorful pieces of cotton duck and sewing them into simple quilt blocks to create structured handbags. I’m in the very beginning stages of this new series.
OCM: What inspires you, or influences your work?
SJ: I get asked quite often what artists I draw inspiration from. Most obviously Andy Warhol, but maybe less obviously Enid Collins and her wonderful handbags (pictured, below). I remember my grandmother going to Florida for the winter and returning with these wonderful structured bags with a wooden bottom and jewels and paintings on them. They were everything. I tried very hard to recreate in my bags that feeling when you hold one: the weight, the texture and the unusual imagery.
Yes, in one sense I create handbags, but to me they are so much more. Little canvases, little pieces of functional art, little pieces of me. Oh, I can paint, and I can draw, but THIS is my chosen medium. Every piece I create is a little snapshot in my brain of a very specific time in my young life. I lost my mother at an early age and perhaps I’m hanging on to every memory of her: downtown shopping trips, five and dime lunch counter lunches with her, and commercial art of the ‘50s and ‘60s. They weren’t artists- my mom and grandma- but they formed the artist I am today by giving me these wonderful memories and a love for fine craft and vintage textiles.
You can purchase Scotty’s handbags and accessories on his website, http://urthyfiberart.simpl.com/