Jan Huling begins each sculpture with embellishment is a study of color, texture, and form.
Jan Huling began making art later in life after a successful career as a product designer. Once she decided to concentrate on her personal work, her art career took off quickly. In less than ten years she had secured regular gallery representation in both New York and St Louis, her work is featured annually in national art fairs such as SOFA Chicago, Art Market San Francisco, and SCOPE Miami. Her meticulous beading and embellishment has made her a popular teacher at international workshops in Mexico and Europe. Her sculptures are featured in craft, art, and textile magazines. In fact, her medium: found objects, thread, beads, and glue, combined with her subject matter elude strict categories of either craft or art and she has shown in both fine art and craft venues.
Her works, most often based on doll or animal forms, tap into a collective unconscious within the repertoire of fairy tales, myths, and mystery that appeal to anyone with a story in their head or heart. The surfaces are beautiful and gem like and her painstaking technique only adds to the overall feeling of wonderment people have when they encounter her work. The Gown, her largest work to date, is an artfully embellished 3D printed representation of a wedding dress the original of which was worn by Jan, her mother and her two aunts. Presented life size and bodiless, with arms outstretched in a Disneyesque pose, it was recently shown at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. I attended the opening reception and witnessed woman after woman, strangers all, approach the artist to talk about The Gown and share their own stories of important or ritual garments, needle work and women’s crafts, stories, and families. The reception line to talk with her wound through several rooms of the museum and did not diminish all night long.
In her own words, “Having worked for many years as a commercial artist, designing everything from textiles & dinnerware, ribbon & holiday decor, in 2008 I chose to make a break with my commercial past and newly dedicated myself to the glass seed bead. My goal and technique has been the transformation of mundane sculptural forms into spectacular, meaningful, hypnotic works of art. Each piece is a meditation of color and form, pattern and texture that is allowed to grow organically without plans or sketches. With each new row of beads I more clearly see the personality of the piece emerging and it tells me what color needs to follow, what line needs to intersect. I listen.” Explore a collection of her intricate creations on her site and Instagram. (via https://janhuling.com/