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Imaginative ´eco artist` highlights the entangled relationship between humans and nature


Jeanne K. Simmons is passionate about working in nature to address issues concerning humanity and the Earth. The Pacific Northwest-based artist is profoundly moved by the natural world, and is fortunate to live close to beaches, forests, and fields that inspire and sustain her and also provide her with her source materials.

Grass Cocoon — June 2018 Jeanne contemplated making Grass Cocoon for two years. The image was persistent and it took up residence in her imagination, so she finally committed to making it and enlisted the help of friend, naturalist, educator, basket-maker, and now beloved model, Nicole Larson. “This piece changed my life. It was shared widely on social media and was well received (aside from abundant concerns about ticks and chiggers.) Source: Instagram/jeanneksimmons


Artist Jeanne K. Simmons stated goal is to express, as beautifully and as compellingly as she can, the contents of her inner world and imagination, as well as a preoccupation with the relationship between humans and nature. With her work, Simmons attempts to describe a connectedness between us and our environment that seems to have been all but forsaken. 

“I hope to nurture this dynamic relationship, which is our birthright and obligation, and to perhaps even rekindle and reawaken a yearning for it in others, as well as satisfy my own need to embed myself in nature.

Women, for me, express the feeling of connectedness to nature in a way that I find poetic. And, since my models are, in a sense, my surrogates (as I wish that I could braid myself to the ground and document myself in that state, but cannot), it only makes sense that they should be women.”

Grass Cocoon — June 2018 “From this experience I learned to just make the things I wanted to make, without judgement. I learned that it is possible to scrutinise an idea, and to apply a formal decision-making process to each piece, without assigning value. I decided to let other people decide if my work has value to them, and to remain confident about the essential role of my work in my life. After all, when everything is said and done, these are experiences I want and need to have.” Source: Instagram/jeanneksimmons

‘Grass Spiral’ — July 2015 In 1991, when Jeanne was a sculpture student at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, in Skowhegan, Maine, she discovered that she was able to braid and/or cornrow the tall grasses growing in the fields there. “While I felt excited about my discovery, I was unable to conceive of a sculptural application for it until 2015, in a field in Port Townsend, WA. While driving past my favorite Port Townsend field, a great door began to swing open in my imagination, and soon after I set about braiding a 20’ in diameter spiral in the grass. While the experience was enlightening and exhilarating, I wasn’t quite satisfied with the overall flatness of the piece. Nonetheless, a seed was planted.” Source:

Sadie in Ivy — April 2021 “Sadie in Ivy” is another piece that impatiently waited for several years to be made, as it took me that long to find a model who was willing to hang upside down with 20 pounds of ivy attached to her. Sadie is a professional aerialist who performs and teaches throughout the Pacific Northwest and has prodigious acrobatic skill, incredible strength, and spends lots of time upside down. Source: Instagram/jeanneksimmons

’Sadie in Ivy’ is a sculptural metaphor for that deep process of becoming one’s truest self. “I feel like I metaphorically emerged from this particular cocoon a couple of years ago, so it’s just a huge relief to have this project out of my head and into the visible world.” Source:

Ivy Dress — July 2018 “More often than not, my work is inspired by a certain material. That was definitely the case with Ivy Dress. I had been walking past a giant rolled-up ball of ivy in the corner of my favorite graveyard for weeks. I was in awe of this material because of the complexity of its weave. The ivy had grown into a kind of tightly woven fabric…” Continued below. Source: Instagram/jeanneksimmons

Ivy Dress — July 2018 “On the 4th of July, I set out with my clippers and harvested this ivy fabric not knowing what I would do with it. What I discovered was that it practically stood up on its own, and that I could wrap it around myself like a beautiful ball gown. It seemed to want to be a gown.” Source: Instagram/jeanneksimmons

Extensions — December 2020 “Extensions” involves the merging of my model’s hair with the grassy hillside, by means of a braid. I braided a grass extension to my model’s actual hair and connected it to a braided section of grass. Having had very long hair my whole life, I tend to experience my hair as an extension of myself and my nervous system. With this piece, I was attempting to express my feeling that I am an extension of the natural world, and that the natural world is an extension of me. I was also striving to illustrate the unbreakable bond between us.” Source: Instagram/jeanneksimmons

“ We cannot escape our relationship with the natural world.” Says Jeanne. There can be no “us” without “it.” In both “Grass Cocoon” and “Extensions” my model, Nicole, could not walk away from her situation. She was literally bound to the Earth. She was also profoundly at peace with her condition. Source:

Lace Skirt — July 2019 “Driving through Silverdale, Washington, I passed an abandoned lot that was full of Queen Anne’s Lace. The plants were enormous and there were hundreds of them. As I continued driving, the Queen Anne’s Lace took root in my imagination, and before long I envisioned a skirt made of the stuff, with a woven cotton bodice. I returned to the lot the next day and harvested a small portion of the flowers on the site. I worked on the piece for two days, storing the work in progress upside down in a bucket of water to keep it happy overnight. I didn’t have a model lined up and the piece needed to be documented right away, so I decided to wear it myself.” Source: Instagram/jeanneksimmons

“Right before the shoot, it seemed to me that the white cotton of the bodice was just too white…” — “I wanted to dye it a light pink, so I scoured my house looking for food coloring or dye, or anything liquid and red that I could quickly apply to the cotton. Alas, all that I could find was an ancient bottle of Nyquil. It was in fact liquid… and red. So, reluctantly I watered down the Nyquil, brushed it onto the bodice of my skirt, and went to the shoot. My husband shot the pictures, conferring with me about the angles, distances, poses, and light. Our sweet dog Oso was with us in the field that day and was intrigued by my new Nyquil smell. This piece was, and continues to be, a joy.” Source: Instagram/jeanneksimmons

Jeanne almost gave up on her life-long dream of being an artist in 2017 when she decided to become a professional librarian instead, enrolling in graduate school to pursue her MLS. Just then her life’s passion—making things—bubbled up (see Grass Cocoon) and was irrepressible. Jeanne left her library job in 2019, quit library school, and jumped back into making art, with both feet, and her whole heart. Source: Instagram/jeanneksimmons

Taken from: BrightVibes.