Judith Scott, Columbus, OH., 1 May 1954-15 March 2005.
Considered to be an outsider artist, Scott was a sculptor known for her strong use of colour and form, working with found objects and fibre art.
Born moments after her sister Joyce, Scott was as an unexpected twin. During their early years, they were inseparable and the family were especially close. Sadly, at a young age Scott contracted Scarlet Fever and consequently lost her hearing. A lack of diagnosis for her deafness, compounded with her developmental issues (Scott was mute and born with Down’s Syndrome), she was considered “ineducable” and her inability to hear was mistaken for severe retardation. At the age of seven Scott became a ward of the state and was institutionalised, remaining so for 35 years.
As a child Joyce was devastated by the loss of her sibling and the family never fully recovered. In 1985, Joyce started proceedings and sought to be her sister’s legal conservator. Some time after the sister’s reunion, Scott moved into specialist accommodation and it was here that she was enrolled into the Creative Growth Art Centre, Oakland. The centre, one of the first of its kind, runs art based programs and working spaces for artists with disabilities. For several years Scott seemed to show no inclination towards creative practices until seeing a fibre art class run by artist, Sylvia Seventy.
Scott, by accounts, worked intensely. There are some 200 creations made by the artist and she could often spend months at a time on a single piece. Some of which were nearly 9’ in size. Scott made use of car keys, bike wheels, chairs, baskets and any objects that she found (and sometimes stole) they would be wrapped, bound and entwined in threads and yarns of various colours.
Text taken from, the Darling: Book of Curiosities, Nephertiti Schandorf, 2013