Good Omens

February 2023
Written By: 
Grand Strand Magazine Staff
Photographs by: 
courtesy the Myrtle Beach Art Museum

Jen Swearington, 2022, ink, gesso, shellac, felt and tyvek, 79 x 83 inches

Jen Swearington is a lifelong artist and explorer. From rural Indiana, she earned a BFA in Sculpture with an Art History minor from Pratt Institute and a MFA in Fibers from Savannah College of Art and Design. Her exhibition, “Estuary Blues,” will be on display at the Myrtle Beach Art Museum through April 16.

In 2003, Swearington founded the Jennythreads Studio in Asheville, N.C., and has been producing fine handmade apparel for stylish women for the past 19 years. In 2018 and 2019, Swearington traveled to a dozen countries for a four-month international art residency, during which she filled sketchbooks with observational drawings and created a series of collapsible carousel pop-up book sculptures that fit into her carry-on suitcase. She then relocated to the tidal marshlands near Folly Beach, S.C., in March 2020.

As an avid runner during the COVID-19 pandemic, Swearington found old suitcases and mirrors on the side of the road and saw them as creative vessels in which to build wondrous new scenes of intricate cut paper—a natural development from the carousel book structures. She continued to develop this body of work as a 2021 Gibbes Museum of Art (Charleston) Visiting Artist. Estuary Blues encompasses Swearington’s work and life since moving to the South Carolina coast.