Designer Amber Jensen says when working on a drawing, she has to layer and remove, layer and remove, back and forth, “patiently waiting for the space to be activated.” What a beautiful animistic relationship to the page, to creative energy. What a striking metaphor for living a life of intuitive listening. Often when thinking about primitive or folk art, we describe art liberated from ego in which a more childlike intuitive symbolism emerges, a fluent symbiosis of person, place, myth, and imagination. I think of Amber’s art as all of that but with the complexity, texture, and nuance of a skilled weaver, observer, and visionary. She walks the Appalachian hills gathering up their speaking and longing and somehow weaves that into her work.
My daughter, Ellie, when young, would fill up a whole page with tiny swirling dots and lines, similar to the drawing above. She would say they were all the lost souls trying to get home. Amber says that drawing for her is always about trying to find the way home. There is that famous Ram Dass quote, how at the end of the day, “We’re all just walking each other home.” Or, as Amber wrote under a drawing on Instagram, “We hurt, We heal. We move on.” You can visit her beautiful new collaborative studio space, Ha!, “a joyful exploration into creative works and fantastical belonging,” in downtown Marshall.