I draw inspiration initially from the beauty of intelligent design in the natural world. Vast landscapes or tiny details of texture and surface, the effects of light and shadow, the passage of time, the tide, the primary experience.
There is a saying Relationship is the essence of reality.
At the heart of the process is a journey of an intimate meaningful relationship, a sense of belonging to somewhere and someone, the poetic nature of thematic language through cultural and individual layered experience and knowledge.
I love to experiment and sample unusual combinations of weaving techniques with contrasting fibres. I am drawn to one of the richest artistic and technical historical periods of 13th-18th century European woven textiles. It is challenging to work through ideas that must be modified to produce on contemporary equipment. The loom I work on is purpose designed and built, 32 shafts, computerised and semi automated. It sits in a contemporary space between conventional modes of practice.
Working with ideas for both wearable and interior textiles, I enjoy different kinds of projects - exhibition, commission, research, experimentation, small scale production, miniature and large scale, with fibres including Australian fine Merino wool, linen, cotton, silk, camel, goat, yak, paper, metal and specific purpose synthetics. Any one of these materials possesses contrasting qualities depending upon the way it is prepared and spun. If used in combination with contrasting structures and proportions there is much scope for ingenuity, blending the best of traditional skills to create innovative cloth.
Jennifer Robertson was born in Somerset, England and studied woven textiles at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design University College and the Royal College of Art, London. Jennifer migrated to Australia in 1986 with her husband Christopher, a furniture designer and jeweller, establishing family and a weave studio in Fremantle, Western Australia.
In 1997 Robertson moved to Canberra to lecture in textiles at the Australian National University School of Art and re-establish her weave studio/research practice.
Jennifer holds an international reputation in the field of weaving and has worked with NUNO Corporation, Tokyo, Japan and completed residencies at Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles, Canada and Fondazione Arte della Seta Lisio, Florence, Italy. She exhibits widely including in Australia, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and France. She has lectured in Canada, Denmark, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. Her work is held in many international private collections including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and many public and private collections in Australia. Robertson has been the recipient of many awards.
With Australia Council funding in 1994 and 1997 Christopher built a unique, computerised, semi automated 32 shaft loom. From 2001-2003 Jennifer, with an Australia Council Fellowship explored thematic language between landscape, wool and the body to create triple cloths; three layers of cloth woven simultaneously and technically akin to playing three-dimensional chess. An artsACT Fellowship in 2005 facilitated research into European drawloom and early Jacquard loom weaving to create new furnishing textiles.
Jennifer's central themes are to develop a visual cultural language, exploring new uses of fine Merino wool and working with the best of traditional skills to create innovative cloth.