J Carpenter graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in visual arts in 2002. She began her career as a figure painter and teacher. In 2006, she began to embellish her paintings with embroidery, and soon thereafter needlework became her primary medium.
Carpenter was a member of Gaia Studio, a collective of women artists, from 2006–2008. During this time, she became fascinated with lace, due not only to its beauty, but also to its rich, intriguing history.
Carpenter received a 2009 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. With the time that this grant provided her, she studied lace making with master artisans at the Lost Art Lacers Guild of New Jersey. She also completed a residency with, the Supporting Women’s Art Project (SWAP). During her involvement with these two organizations, she completed several sculptures and installations comprised of lace. Some pieces are comprised of traditional thread, others of surprising materials such as industrial nylon rope.
Carpenter is currently creating a series of houses made with black lace, using the view of Manhattan from Governors Island as her inspiration. She plans to exhibit these houses by suspending them from balloons, which will fall to the floor over time. She is also creating a proposal for a public sculpture, a 10’ x 8’ x 8’ lace house, constructed with industrial metal cable, rather than of thread.
Image credit: courtesy of the artist