<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=238369200684020&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Jacqueline Mallegni

Jacqueline Mallegni makes paper and naked paper into art. Jacqueline allowed Fibre Arts Take Two a peek into her unique world.

Jacqueline Mallegni’s Friday Feature Artist Interview can be found at the bottom of this page.

Jacqueline Mallegni’s work speaks to the profound beauty encountered in imperfection, the transformative power of nature and the introspective exploration of the human experience. A unique combination of childhood experiences, cultural influences, and a deep connection with nature has shaped her creative journey.

Over the years, Jacqueline’s creative journey has taken her through various artistic pursuits, including basketry, weaving, spinning, animal husbandry, gardening and botanical wool dyeing. Jacqueline spoke to Fibre Arts Take Two from her New Mexico home, allowing us to peek into her unique world.

Paper Rain

Jacqueline came up with the name of her studio after a move to New Mexico, “The water is very hard here,” she says, “In California, I didn’t notice that the water was hard where I was living, but here, there’s a lot of mineral content in the water, a lot of iron. So I started using water catchment for the house where I lived and used the rainwater to make paper. And I thought, What a great name for my studio.” And so Paper Rain Studio was born. 

Starting with snails

Jacqueline traces her creative principles back to a charming childhood story from her early years in San Francisco, “There was a woman, Mrs McGuire, who lived next door,” she says, “There was no fence between our yards, and she had a beautiful garden, and she was growing tomatoes and basil. San Francisco is humid; it’s foggy and cold, so snails live very comfortably there, and they were eating her garden. So she asked if I would come over and help her by collecting the snails, which I did.”

Jacqueline then found herself with a supply of snails, “I collected the snails, and then I didn’t know what to do with them,” she says, “I couldn’t kill them. My grandfather had built this little house for myself and my sisters. And we had a little card table in there and a couple of chairs; it was this fun place to go and hang out. So I would take my jar of snails in this little house, let them out on the table, and watch them crawl across the table. And it was so amazing watching these little creatures, and they’re so beautiful and delicate yet resilient. And that was the beginning of turning me towards nature and an appreciation of life.”


Paper beginnings

Jacqueline’s artistic career has been in the creation of paper, “What I loved about it so much was the making of it, but also the light coming through and just exposing these wonderful textures,” she says, “When I first very first started making paper, I saw it as more of a form of relief, rather than something to write on. I deeply admire and respect paper makers who make paper for printing and letterpress; that’s an incredible ability I don’t have. I never saw my paper being utilised in that way. It always felt like it needed to be seen; the fibres needed to be able to come through with the light, so I always felt like it had this other life rather than something to write on or print on.”

Paper offers many diverse choices, and Jacqueline enjoys her latest direction: “My recent work has been enjoyable because I’m now using mulberry fibre and creating these small little sculptures in colour, in a series or groupings. I always held such high regard for the preciousness of the fibre. I’m using it now in a different way that exposes the deeper nature of the fibre, which is wood. I still love making paper. I love it. There’s nothing like a beautiful sheet of handmade paper.”

Making paper

Because Jacqueline’s work is sculptural, it presents some unique challenges, “It’s a labour-intensive process,” she says, “You have to love it. It’s not a quick process at all. It’s quiet, it’s meditative, but it’s also very vigorous because I beat the fibre by hand with rubber mallets after it’s cooked. And then there’s that part of developing patience for this very detailed process of applying the paper to the form or casting the flax paper over an asymmetrical form. I feel like what has developed over the years is my relationship with materials and how there’s a spiritual aspect that feeds me.”


Ideas from dreams

“They’re very intuitive,” says Jacqueline when asked where her process ideas come from, “A lot of them come from dreams. They don’t always come out the way the dream looks. Sometimes they do, but I’m always working with something inside me that wants to come out and be revealed. And even though my work is inspired by nature, there’s an interior place that is awakened through the process, and I find that to be very spiritual. I feel pretty fortunate to be able to do that because I love my work. I love what I do. I feel fortunate that I get to do this in my life.”


Jacqueline recently added teaching to her resume, “Well, it’s a fun time,” she says, “A little challenging. During COVID, I started offering a four-part series that involved making the sculpture making forms with rattan, and that proved to be a little challenging for everyone. I’ve opened my studio this year to in-person classes, and I had my first two-day class this week with three wonderfully creative artists friends here in Santa Fe.” 

Jacqueline has higher goals than simply instructing her students on the practical, “What I try to do with people is to help them let go of their inner critic,” she says, “just have fun, and listen to their intuition. Because what I’d like to offer people is the opportunity to explore their creativity. And I think I came to that because when I started teaching in the 90s, so many people would come to the table and say, ‘I’m not creative, but I really love your work. And I want to learn how to do something new.’ We’re all creative, no matter what. Everybody is creative. And if I can help people connect with that part of themselves, I’m doing a good job.”


About the artist

Jacqueline Mallegni’s Paper Rain Studio is nested on a tree-lined property in Santa Fe’s Historic District. Jacqueline makes traditional paper with kozo fibre and creates contemporary fibre art in a variety of materials, with a particular focus on traditional handmade paper art and sculpture.

Jacqueline began making Asian-style paper with kozo fibre in 1989. Her journey with paper and sculpture has varied from light fixtures to stone carving to ethereal mixed-media sculpture and installation art. The thread of her creative process always begins with paper. Making and the art of transforming tangible fibre to intangible pulp and returning to a tangible form is very alluring for me. Jacqueline is interested in working with materials that translate her appreciation for spiritual ecology, water, wind, light and dark. Patterns in nature, textures and seasonal changes inform my sculptures that resonate with primitive and refined qualities. Along with nature’s inspiration, she’s interested in the concept of the ethereal journey, motherhood, vacancy, loss, renewal and how emotional responses to life’s challenges can evoke beauty.

Jacqueline is a member of IAPMA, the International Association of Papermakers and Paper Artists, the American Craft Council, the Surface Design Association and the NM Committee for Women in the Arts. This year her studio is open for in-person as well as online workshops.


Share this with your Friends and Creative Community

Join Our Newsletter


View our interviews and more on our Youtube channel!

Visit YouTube ➜


Join our Community and stay updated with our upcoming announcements!

Visit Group ➜

Join The Community

We are a thriving and supportive ‘family’ of artists and creators.

No matter how much or how little experience you have working with textile and mixed media art, we are looking forward to welcoming you.

To be kept up to date please subscribe to our newsletter below.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get started.