Red Lightning Fountain

  • Ferne Jacobs, Red Lightning Fountain, 1983, knotted and twined waxed linen, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Eleanor T. and Samuel J. Rosenfeld, 2002.8.5

Ferne Jacobs creates most of her woven baskets from a waxed linen thread that comes from Northern Ireland. Each basket takes several weeks to complete as she painstakingly coils, twists, and knots the fine thread. In Red Lightning Fountain the woven surface appears soft and pliable, but the vessel is rigid enough to stand alone. On the end of the straps, Jacobs applied the Hebrew letters Aleph (the beginning) and Tav (the end) to symbolize the beginning and end of all things. The jagged lines of the straps together with the basket’s vibrant color evoke a dramatic explosion, suggesting the creation and destruction of life.

I consider my work to be in the service of something that is feminine in myself, and feel that I am building bodies and that each wrap of the thread is a cell. They are cells which build a body.” Ferne Jacobs, 1984
Red Lightning Fountain
Not on view
8 58235 58 in. (21.858.314.2 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Eleanor T. and Samuel J. Rosenfeld

Mediums Description
knotted and twined waxed linen
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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