Jeni is an artist and textile designer, based in Newhaven just along the coast from Bard in Edinburgh. She experiments with new frontiers in her work, combining technology with traditional techniques, to push the possibilities of form and process into new dimensions. Prior to setting up her own studio, Jeni honed her craft working as a product developer with a Chanel Metiers d’Art textile manufacturer in the Scottish Borders. Amongst other clients, she developed cashmere knitted garments and accessories for Chanel, Loewe and Sonia Rykiel. A keen interdisciplinary collaborator, Jeni also enjoys imparting her skills and learnings in workshops and classes. Craft is knowledge after all and knowledge is a gift to be shared.
What value does craft have in daily life?
There’s a great essay about exhibition making called ‘Resonance and Wonder’ by Stephen Greenblatt which I always try to keep in my head when making (or teaching craft). It’s pretentious to mention an essay isn’t it, but it’s really just the title I think about- does this object provoke wonder? Does it resonate with you in some way? If it does one or both as a crafted object then I think it’s showing its value in daily life well. We need moments of resonance and wonder in our days to provoke joy, to distract from the grind and to give meaning to our homes and workspaces.
What does Scottishness mean to you?
I think Scottishness is innovating on the stereotype. Things that now seem a bit trad started off as innovations - embracing Scottishness, I think, is not to sit back and rely on tradition; it’s to push it further, create something new and like our football team celebrate the wins but expect some losses.