‘Healing Through Enchantment:’ Collaboration of Hess & Robertson

Susan EspirituFountain City, West Knox County

Jean Hess is an extraordinary artist pushing the artistic boundaries by seamlessly blending multiple forms of media to create captivating and thought-provoking masterpieces. Hess’s work is influenced by her studies in cultural anthropology at the University of Mexico where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s as well as over 15 years of art residences in New Mexico.

While Jean has collections in multiple museums locally and across the country, much of her work is held in private collections for the appreciation of the intricacies her artistic ingenuity includes.

Dr. John Robertson

One such piece was recently commission by Dr. John Robertson, a local psychiatrist, who uses his own ingenuity to create an environment for children and adolescents to be able to navigate emotional challenges so they can grow, heal and reach their full potential.

Dr. John who Jean calls, “playfully youthful himself,” wears silk neckties that feature popular cartoon characters and it is these neckties he wanted incorporated into a commemorative tapestry for his office.

Jean relates the collaborative project between artist and doctor to incorporate cartoon characters neckties into a tapestry:

“Necessary conversations ensued, things changed and expanded. I had a bit of a problem embracing Snoopy as an aesthetic. I wanted to turn the cartoon faces into celestial orbs, so that the finished piece could be more ethereal like a starry sky. I also wanted to use my preferred mix of old fabrics and to emphasize muted colors. I sent John progress shots.

“John in turn took to the idea of an ethereal piece and, feeling at one point that the work was kind of flat, allowed me to add embroidered stars to enliven the surface. Then, when he also mentioned his desire to have a caduceus and a brain, I segued into obtaining commercially available bling. Making it a truly collaborative, playful, almost risky work of art that we both like.”

The 72-inch x 18-inch piece is called Healing Through Enchantment and is a hand-stitched textile collage made of antique Japanese mended Boro fragments including ribbons, trim, and of course actual silk neckties for Dr. John Robertson’s collection.

Once framing is completed, they will add a custom brass plaque with the title of the work.

Jean Hess has said previously that she believes that random is possible and desirable and in her own work she keeps trying to achieve surprise by allowing for accidents. What a gift!

Her on-line presence is found at two places: Jean Hess or Jean Hess.

 All of us have a story and I want to tell yours! Send them to susan@knoxtntoday.com


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