‘An Embrace’ – The work of Joyce Scott

images images-3 Judy1 Judy-Lausanne

(images taken from; http://judithandjoycescott.com/index.shtml)

Judith Scott is an outsider artist that transcended the realms of ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ artist, and became a world renowned artist for her intuitive, unique fiber bound sculptures. Scott has been a profound inspiration for me in the sense that her work deals with issues of loss, and the act of manifesting a particular conscious state into a physical manifestation; through the power of Art. Judith Scott was one of a pair of twins, in both suffered from a severe bout of scarlet fever as infants, and therefore both lost their hearing. However, Judith also suffered form Down’s syndrome, and found it difficult to connect with others for the earlier parts of her life. At the age of 7, she was sent away to a hospital for the disabled, and this loss of her twin had a profound and troubling effect on her. As she grew older, she would look after the younger patients of the hospital, and attempt to manifest her mourning over the loss of her sister. Finally, in 1986, both twin’s lives dramatically shifted when Joyce, following an epiphanal moment of insight, took it upon herself to become Judith’s legal guardian.  After long and difficult negotiations, and over the objections of their mother, Judith went to live with Joyce and her family in California, beginning a process of deep healing for both twins.  In time, Judith moved  to a nearby board-and-care home where she was enrolled in the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, the first organization in the world to provide studio space for artists with disabilities.  Here, for almost two years, Judith showed no evidence of artistic interest or ability.  Then, after observing a class being given by a visiting fiber artist, Judith spontaneously started creating the unique sculptures, for which she has since become famous. Judith’s innate talent was quickly recognized by Creative Growth’s staff, and she was given freedom to scour the studio for whatever materials she wanted.  Nothing was rejected and objects of every size and shape — both private and public — were gathered up.  Day by day, week by week, and sometimes for months on end, these prizes were gradually wrapped, woven and entwined in yarns and threads of carefully selected hues, until Judith, and Judith alone, decided that the piece was complete.

These pieces often consisted of a singular talisman, that is then woven over and over until the object bears no resemblance to it’s initial form; instead, representing something subconscious in the artist’s mind. The object is preserved and contained, and within this simple process, is safe and protected from the world surrounding it. Much like the sculpture I am currently creating, I have contained it within it’s frame. It exists within an environment that I have ‘trapped’ it in.


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