Issue September 1, 2009

Profile: Justine Dennis

Justine Dennis rescues old sweaters and discarded clothing from local thrift shops and repurposes them into fiber sculptures. She began her artistic endeavors with ceramics and fell into the world of fiber accidentally, after a neighbor gave her a garbage bag full of discarded cotton. A self-proclaimed “old hippie,” Dennis couldn’t stare at the bag any longer and refused to let it go to waste.

So she concocted a process of creating fiber sculpture. Sixteen years later, she has perfected the art of repurposing by unraveling rejected sweaters and creating wall hangings, figures, hats, sculptures and purses from the fiber. After working with clay for years, she enjoys the literal and figurative flexibility fiber provides.

“There’s no pattern,” says Dennis. “I usually have a basic plan, but it doesn’t always work. Sometimes it looks like something I would like to look at, or maybe it starts to look like a horse or a dog. So it becomes that instead.”