Two New 2018 Shows: Art214- Dallas, Texas & Jas. Mardis

“Jas Mardis is up to his old tricks in the world of art.  He spins a yarn, and quilts the damn thing!”


Hey Folks! Great news! I’m in two juried exhibitions coming up for March and April. My Iron Tapestry, “He Spit His Whole Chew On My New Dress” was juried into the Latino Cultural Center show “Art214”, April 11-May 25th.

I’m also juried into “Art214” at the South Dallas Cultural Center. They’ve taken, “The Girl Who Eloped Next Door” for March 31-April 28th!

*Feel free to drop the folks an email saying, “Thank You for showing the Fabric Art of Jas. Mardis! We’d love to see a full exhibition of “Let The Tablecloth Speak” series”.





He Spit_Side4

Responses to Gee’s Bend: an exhibition

bearded me“Responses to Gee’s Bend” an upcoming exhibition at Swarthmore College: UPDATE

I am excited to be near completion of my quilt for this exhibition and look forward to seeing the contributions of the other 11 Quilters selected for this honor. Of course, I cannot show you the completed quilt before the curators have their chance to see it, but I will be posting pictures in an appropriate timeframe. For some reason I committed myself to hand quilting this piece. What was I thinking? This may be the onset of carpel-ritis!

Responses to Gee’s Bend an exhibition presented in McCabe Library, Swarthmore College Curators: Alicia Ruley-Nock & Andrea Packard
Exhibition dates: September 6—October 28, 2018

The exhibition will run concurrently with Piece Together: The Quilts of Mary Lee Bendolph, an exhibition organized by Mount Holyoke College Museum of Art reconfigured for the List Gallery, Swarthmore College by Andrea Packard, List Gallery Director.

A very select 12 artists have been invited to create an original quilt in response to the Gee’s Bend aesthetic and themes associated with Gee’s Bend and its history.

Stay tuned and thank you for your support (and prayers)



Lily of the Valley

      Photo credit April Anue

Lily of the Valley

by now

we are clearly smitten

unsure of the end but certain of the path to it

all at once I understand something that others have wanted me to read

or at least the reason for so many to agree
it is a simple coming together

the rising voice of two people who know truly of love

somewhere along the way

their tongues have merged into a single song
you and I know it as kindred spirits

we already know what the hours ahead of us hold

so few minutes make up a night together

that we are both out of time before the clocks have run full circle
I want you to be sure of the brown bud

frozen outside your window

baked brown into a dormant husk in defiance of the driven snow

and laced poorly with the ice-cicled web of a lone spider
I want you to know that it is a bud of the Rose of Sharon

again cast against the shadows of another fair Maiden

the sun darkened lily of the valley

biding time in the season of bitter cold and frozen brambles
and so, let’s answer the question rising and falling within your breast

the one that begs at the corners of your mouth

the one that is awakening the unfamiliar craving tugging

riffling and running with your blood’s fire thru your soul
listen, Sweet, as I speak with a plan of love on my lips

with every intention of your flowering and blooming

of covering and protecting              of comforting and pleasure

listen, like this bud in repose, for a strum of the web in your Winter
Our’s is not the Solomon Song

but You can be the dark maiden come in from the sun

breaking free from all of the known words of men and sisters

pressing your head gently to the thunder of my welcoming breast
you have been found

every whisper of your heart song is heard without need for reprise

each of your nights are calling for voluminous joy

endless is your destiny        evermore becomes the only answer
and so to your soul I speak:

  Lily of the Valley      Rose of Sharon

    do not bother with the brambles that have so long entangled ’round you

press into the shadow of their brittle vein and thorns
come forward to my arms and favor

 wipe the weeping memory of any binding rope

    untie the warm caress within you

  undress the trembling, waiting, loving, searching hopes.

Jas. Mardis    12/28/2017

Jas. Mardis is an award winning Poet, Commentator and a Fabric Artist living in Dallas, TX. Jas. Is a 2014 inductee to The Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

Tapestry: Haint-Free Blue Door Formula

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I imagined that the idea for enslaved folks to paint the doors ocean blue was passed around as people were moved around the Southern States during enslavement. Blue doors are said to ward off evil spirits.

The narrative on this piece imagines the formula and when to apply it being handed down by a new person from a different region and being repeated and applied.

15×45 image development, yard, thread, leather and printed text with thread accents. Original Narrative text by Jas. C. Mardis

Photo Credit: Title: Old Negro (former slave) Willis Winn with horn with which slaves were called. Near Marshall, Texas Creator(s): Lee Russell, 1903-1986, photographer, U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black & White Photographs

Jas. Mardis: Iron-Framed Tapestry

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Title: “Believe I’ll Run On…”

I have a friend who is leaving town for a new job😢. I don’t have time to make a quilt but wanted to see if an “iron-framed tapestry” would do.

The image and top quote are from one of her FB posts. I added the bottom text; stitched leather wrapping with yarn and thread binding and, hopefully, a worthy design.

Repurposed and manipulated iron frame. Bamboo strips. Goat hide leather from Kenya (Thanks to Pan African Connection). Mesh fabric with high-end computer printing of an image from her personal FB post with top quoting from a Southern Spiritual with multi-layered color text and image printing.

This is a new creative direction that I can clearly see myself enjoying for a long time to come. Memory and the idea that fabric, metals and all of the items of our lives carry memory is both intriguing and very enlightening.  Being able to add original poetic narratives completes the perfect art-marriage. I am finding that I cannot create as fast as I dream.

Certainly in this case the friend who I created this piece for has opened up a world of joyous and precious awakening. Missing is not a complete enough word for her absence.

If you are enjoying this piece and wondering what I might dream up for you as a gift or art piece, let me invite you to “tell me a story”, “send me a photograph” or just let me know that you’d like to see other pieces in this line of work.




New Jas. Mardis Tapestry: “Flood Water Ain’t Never Blue”

“Flood Water Ain’t Never Blue” is the experience of two young girls during the great Arkansas flood of February 1937. It was a dangerous time, but a time when a girl met her best friend for life. They also learned a version of the folktale about why it rains while the sun is still shining. My Grandmother used to tell me about this flood from her youth. I found this picture while doing family history research on that flood.

From the “Eye Witness Series” from Jas. Mardis
Photo credit: Walker Evans and US Farm Security Administration collection

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Jas. Mardis Tapestry Update

I have three pieces accepted in the juried show “blkART214” at the South Dallas Cultural Center in Dallas, Texas, just up the street from the State Fair Grounds. Shows runs April 9-29, 2017 and features established and emerging Artists of Color from the DFW Metro.

I’m excited to finally be on the Arthello Beck Gallery’s wall! This Cultural Center that I saw being built is turning 30 years old. There are awards and one Artist will be selected for a solo gallery show.

I entered: “Am I Human To You Yet?: The Return of the African Dodger; From The Front Porch; and Sketches of Fatherhood.

The tapestry, “Am I Human To You Yet?: The Return of the African Dodger” was recently returned from a three month show at The Holocaust Museum of Houston.

I’m glad that these three were selected. They are three different pieces featuring: leather burning, thread and yarn couching, poetry/text, image printing on fabric, coinage, wire and metal work alongside leather and image transferring. “Fatherhood” is from a series of 10 tapestries made from a vintage tablecloth.

Fabric Artist & Writer