Janice Lessman-Moss "#460, Casting Shadows" (detail)

“In The Studio” with Jacqueline Mallegni

SDA member Jacqueline Mallegni takes us inside her studio and process with 2018’s first “In the Studio” article. Working in a wide variety of media, Jacqueline’s creates sculptures inspired by natural forms. Read more to get to know one of our recent members!

I began making handmade paper in 1989—falling in love with how the light captured textures and colors within the fiber. This love of light and texture took me on a long journey creating custom lighting for trade exhibitions, commissions and environmental site-specific installation projects. Isamu Noguchi’s book “Space of Akari and Stone,” changed my course from making traditional lighting fixtures to sculptural lighting that are one-of and unique. The installations featured in this book also inspired me to learn how to carve stone, so I chose to study with Berkeley-artist Patricia Bengtson in the early 2000s—learning how to bring to light what lived inside stone.

Jacqueline Mallegni Nest II 2016, rattan, cast flax, found object, waxed linen thread, 18″ x 13″ x 9″. Photo by artist.

My creative process has always been driven by my love of the calm and chaos found in nature. Line, shape, form, and light can be seen in the most simple compositions such as the delicate form and line found in a birds nest; the negative space found in the shape of a tree; the light shining behind a leaf; the movement of a water ripple.

Jacqueline Mallegni Indigo Forest 2017,
 cast flax, indigo, 38″ x 10″ x 10″. Photo by artist.

In response to my relationship with nature, I create mixed media minimalist sculpture with a focus on the concept of the spaces between exploring the perception of a landscape. What is it we, as humans, choose to see? The spaces between us and them, inside/outside, and contemplation/chaos. The sculptures I create are small installations made with rattan, foraged natural materials, kozo and gampi handmade paper, and cast flax and silk roving fiber that are sometimes embellished with mono-prints infused with indigo and sumi ink. The intention is to evoke a sense of place and one’s relationship to that place. To pause and reflect on the beauty within.

Jacqueline Mallegni Meeting Pool 2017, cast flax, reed, 10″ x 10″ x 39″. Photo by artist.

All these aspects of nature inform my art practice along with Japanese aesthetics and philosophy of wabisabi (a worldview centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection) and yugen (a profound, mysterious sense of the beauty of the universe and sadness of human suffering).

Jacqueline Mallegni Nest 2016, rattan, 
kozo paper, cast paper, sumi ink, 11″ x 11″ x 7″. Photo by artist.

My new Santa Fe studio with natural light and simple archecture, provides a supportive container in which to explore variations on a theme and to discover how the influences of living in an urban environment will unfold within my creative process. Currently, I teach papermaking workshops and continue to create fiber sculpture in response to life’s journey, the human condition and the natural world.

Jacqueline Mallegni Currents 2017, handmade paper, indigo, waxed linen thread, cast paper, 16″ x 6″ x 6″. 
Photo by artist.

– Jacqueline Mallegni

Jacqueline Mallegni teaching a workshop at Paper Rain Studio, Santa Fe, New Mexico 2017.

If you’re also interested in being a part of SDA’s “In the Studio” fill out our Submission Form


  • Ginny Felch says

    January 11, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Exquisite creations and inspiring words.

  • Carola DeRooy says

    January 11, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Jacqueline's philosophy is fused into her aesthetic combining structured shapes with a sense of pliability and movement. Love her explorations into indigo with it's powerful tones infused into sculptural paper. Took a paper making class with Jacqueline and had a wonderful experience learning from her.

  • Julie says

    January 12, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Happy looking students! Happy New Year and many blessings in 2018 Jacqueline.

  • Jacqueline Mallegni says

    January 27, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Thank you Jenny, Carola and Julie for your appreciative comments and support!

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