Snow Circles

image for Snow Circles
Luce Center Label
Ferne Jacobs started work on Snow Circles while her mother was dying. The title was inspired by James Joyce's short story "The Dead," in which one character, Gabriel, watches snow fall on the Irish landscape and muses how it covers both the living and the dead. The circles within the woven walls of this vessel symbolize the cycles of life and are connected to show that one cycle moves onto the next, as a mother gives life to her children, who survive her passing. The folds and curves of the fabric evoke Jacobs's description of her baskets as "a place for breath, or for wind." ("Ferne Jacobs: The Will of the Weave," Angeles Magazine, May 1991)
Luce Object Quote
"His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead." James Joyce, “The Dead,” Dubliners, 1914
See more items in
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Renwick Gallery
Object number
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase
Ferne Jacobs, born Chicago, IL 1942
coiled and twined waxed linen thread
14 1/8 x 12 7/8 x 10 5/8 in. (35.8 x 32.6 x 27.1 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Decorative Arts-Fiber