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Faces in the crowd: Woodlands woman finds magic in art, vibrant colors

December 20, 2018

One glance around Ivy Jensen’s home in The Woodlands and it’s clear: she’s a lover of color.

Every inch of her house, it seems, is filled from floor to ceiling with quilted wall hangings, marbled acrylic rods or swirly alcohol ink paintings in a wide spectrum of bright colors; the natural light that streams in through the windows accents the more lustrous works.

And it’s not only the walls that display art. “Art to wear” can be found in her jewelry closet and in her clothes closet. She’s even a walking canvas herself, wearing a vest she quilted.

While she bought some of the pieces, most have been handmade by her through her years as an artist.

“I always thought I couldn’t do anything original,” Jensen said of when she first got into art years ago.

But of course, that was far from reality.

Jensen graduated from college and got married in Houston, but moved across the country — going even as far as Hawaii — for her husband’s job. Jensen was an adult when she first took a creative stitchery class at a museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“That class opened my mind to what I could do. You just don’t know what you can do if you haven’t tried it,” Jensen said.

She was hooked on fiber arts and joined artist groups that organized shows while she developed her own techniques. Jensen and her family moved back to the Conroe area in the 1970s when she joined a local group called Fiber Artists of Houston.

“It was a motivation to get out and create, because you have a purpose in being with other people who are extremely creative,” Jensen said.

While the fiber art group she was part of disbanded a few years ago, Jensen still meets with a few of the members once a month to go to galleries and share what they’re working on. She’s also a member of the Studio Art Quilt Associates group, which meets every other month.

She has a piece in an upcoming show produced by that group. It’s a more than 6-foot long quilt that she made with a friend, Rita Joseck. Their quilt, titled “Saturated Seasons” is to be shown in the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, Texas, from Jan. 10 to March 24.

An art-infused life

Although Jensen worked a day job a social worker or a teacher, among other things, her passion seems to lie wholly in art.

She uses various methods to create all kinds of pieces. Her studio features a large work-table, sewing station, a wall-mounted scissors rack adorned with more than 25 pairs of scissors and a tower for a spools of thread.

When it’s time to go shopping for more fabric, Jensen just walks across the room to her wall-to-wall shelving stash of textiles and picks what she needs, or she utilizes unconventional materials such as Tyvek, a synthetic material made of polyethylene fibers.

Jensen said her mother, who was a quilter, too, would come over to Jensen’s house to find supplies for her own quilts.

Although she didn’t learn to quilt from her mother, it was something the ladies enjoyed connecting on later in Jensen’s mother’s life.

“My mother and I had a saying that ‘interest creates energy.’ And it’s true. If you’re wild about something, you get energy,” Jensen said.

Years ago, that energy sustained Jensen when her husband and her mother passed away with a month of each other.

“Art helped me cope. It has really given me a purpose for life. It infuses my whole life,” Jensen said.

Although the undercurrent of her passion provides a purpose, she said a lot of it is also just playful.

“Really, it’s just all kinds of magic,” Jensen said.

jane.stueckemann@chron.com

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