Since 2006, Jiwanshakti has been making felted wool mats with inlay designs. She has always loved art and making art. Jiwanshakti is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She studied art history at Colby College in Maine, and studied abroad in Indonesia and Australia, graduating with a BA in cultural anthropology with a minor in environmental studies.
Her first love was ceramics, then she moved into photography, perfecting her prints in the darkroom. Metalsmithing and work in batik also attracted her. As she puts it, “artistry itself is my medium.”
She moved to Colorado after college, working as a mountaineering Instructor for eight years, and explored Taos and its galleries, very intrigued by the architecture and ancient culture of the area.
She expanded her education to become an elementary school teacher, completing an MS in Experiential Education with an emphasis on spirituality and art. After a 14-year career in Ojai, California, she took a break and went to India. It was here she discovered felts and felting.
Jiwanshakti was guided to move to New Mexico in 2013, settling in Arroyo Seco, just northeast of Taos. “I recall that I used to say that I would need to be an artist or something to move to Taos, and then there I was, an active fiber artist, in Taos!”
Her first year here is when she discovered the Espanola Valley Fiber Art Center. She had a short-lived atelier on the Taos plaza, but found the crowds a distraction to her creativity and so retreated to her studio. Her work has been shown at The Whole Earth Festival in California, and the Fall Fiber Fest in Santa Fe. Her work was part of the collective show “Fiber Rocks,” a collaboration with the Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project in 2016. The show was exhibited at the Martinez Hacienda in Taos. Deputy Director of the Folk Art Museum Aurelia Gomez, stated, “[Jiwanshakti‘s] felted piece has a strong voice and expression of style.”
She recently purchased property north of Questa and with her sister hatched plans to build a natural structure specifically for felting. Their idea is to increase local sustainability in a community space where neighbors can felt their fleeces and fibers.
“I am simple and purposeful at heart, but with a love of beauty and luxury,” Jiwanshakti says. “I am also deeply committed to our earth’s health and a sustainable future between humanity and the rest of the world.”
Visit her on social mediat at @ArtisanFelts on Instagram