“The way out is in” –Ram Dass
Intimacy with ourselves and the land under our feet offers a path out of crisis, both internal and environmental. This philosophy is what drives the art and creative class offerings of Marlboro Vermont artist Jess Weitz. Jess is a multi-disciplinary visual artist. Her mediums, over 30 years of practice, have included photography, painting, found object sculpture, writing, and ceramics, often used in combination.
Jess grew up in Washington, DC but felt most alive during her childhood while visiting her extended family on a farm in Londonderry, VT and on a remote island in Maine. Twenty three years ago, she moved to Vermont and married Vermont native Forrest Holzapfel. They bought a house next to his childhood home in Marlboro and she began the process of becoming intimate with this mountainous piece of earth.
Jess' creative process, driven by topophilia, conflates the visual and written poetics of place and memory. Her ceramics and paintings are made in collaboration with the local landscape, incorporating found plant and soil materials to create paint pigments, slip and glaze, working in earth tones, and preferring wood firing. She has learned to “juice” rocks and create inks from plants for paint. Last summer, she returned from her grandparents’ land on Vinalhaven Island in Maine, with a bucket of sea mud, from the bay below their house. She began to experiment with using the mud as a glaze for her pottery pieces in combination with ashes from applewood branches from her own backyard.
“My desire is to never step outside of nature, to acknowledge our immersion in this tissue of life, through my art. Being a channel to our animal and plant beingness”
In addition to being a working artist, Jess offers classes in non-clinical art therapy and meditation, creating in-person and online experiences for adults and organizations. A primary teaching objective is to share intuitive approaches to art making and lessons from Buddhist practices to help others rediscover their innate creativity. Jess emphasizes this embodied process of art making through mindfulness practices and non-clinical art therapy approaches that encourage intimacy through attention and mutual support in a non-judgmental environment.
“Quieting and listening to our inner experience is a way out of self-violence, and in turn, a way out of external violence with others and our living earth. It is of the utmost importance as we live amidst a climate and mental health crisis.”
A recent student remarked, “Jess gives permission to play with art materials and see what happens. I am often surprised and delighted with what I create during the hour. I am always inspired and amazed by the artwork of the class participants. Everyone is so supportive of each other and each individual's process. Participants feel safe enough to be vulnerable, sharing their artwork and their feelings."
Jess will be an artist participant at The Brattleboro Flea starting in May and is offering a new series of online classes this Spring. To take a class or see her artwork please visit www.jessweitz.com or contact her at email@example.com