Jess Tolbert

Fox Fine Arts Center
El Paso Texas, 79968
Phone Logo(915) 747-6813
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Jess L Tolbert
Assistant Professor, Art

Jess Tolbert’s current practice explores the use of industrially made products to create wearable and decorative works which balance a duality between manufactured and handcrafted, alienation and specialization. A humble staple is often overlooked, simply used to bind a few or hundreds of pages together, or to post a flyer to a lamppost; its purpose does not often extend beyond what it was intended for. She is drawn to its recognizable form and to the rhythm of its use. Through repetitive actions of layering, patterning, and systemically constructing, Jess Tolbert replicates the pace of mass production, but not its protocols. With infinite possibilities, she reflect upon the unknown makers and their process to create a product that is now my raw material, capturing labor in the form of jewelry.
With current conversations surrounding manufacturing in the US and globally, at a moment when our culture is increasingly face-paced, consumeristic, and accustomed to objects that are disposable, this timely investigation focuses on the merits of reinvention and reclamation as a creative act. It asks us to consider the source, and the role people play in the production of things.


  1. Craft
  2. Metalsmithing
  3. Art
  4. Function
  5. Materiality
  6. Labor