Jori Phillips, well known in Nevada County and beyond as a visual artist and comedienne, brings a new collection of art to the Grass Valley Museum. Not a recent transplant, but just before her arrival to the area 9 years ago Phillips left an indelible mark on the art world with one of her most iconic works, the “Thesaurus Dress”. This unique masterpiece was a testament to her exceptional talent and creativity. Crafted entirely from pages of various thesauruses, it represented a fusion of language and fashion that blurred the lines between art and literature. Intriguingly, the “Thesaurus Dress” found its new home in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, a fitting tribute to the eccentricity of Phillips’ artistry. Her ability to transform the written word into wearable art showed the world her unconventional approach to textiles.

Jori Phillips Exhibit

Jori Phillips is a multi-faceted artist. She’s not only known for her visual creations but also for her comedic talents. Following a 50-state comedy tour, Phillips emerged as a humorist who used her unique perspective on life’s oddities to entertain and provoke thought. Her humor often danced on the fringes of the bizarre, mirroring the peculiarity of her artwork.

Doll Photo by Jori Phillips
Photo by Jori Phillips

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the world to adapt, and Phillips channeled her creative energies into making doll-centric art during the lockdowns. Unable to perform in person, she immersed herself in the world of her characters, each meticulously crafted with her sewing skills honed from her artistic upbringing in British Columbia, Canada. These dolls became the embodiment of her artistic expression, each carrying a piece of her imaginative world. “Each piece holds a tangible and significant part of me. I’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of hours on the collection. They’re real characters in each doll, taking on a life of their own. I’m often told by viewers that they do in fact seem to be ‘alive’, which can be a little unsettling for some. I enjoy bringing them to life,” says Phillips.

Jori Phillips
Photo by Jori Phillips

Jori Phillips’ multi-disciplinary art journey expresses versatility and her ability to transform ordinary materials into extraordinary creations. From the “Thesaurus Dress” to her doll-centric artworks, as well as recently designing the costumes for Sierra Stages,“The Moors” [Editor’s note: Not Drowning Girl as originally published, those wonderful costumes were created by Teresa Shea] not to mention other productions in film she’s involved with, Jori Phillips weaves stories and magic through her textile work. Her return from the comedy tour marked a new chapter in her artistic career, one where her odd yet endearing perspective on life continues to enchant and intrigue audiences locally and beyond. Jori Phillips is more than an artist; she is a storyteller, a humorist, and a creative force to be reckoned with.

Come see her collection throughout the month of September at the Grass Valley Museum at 410 S. Church St. Wednesday through Saturday 12PM-3PM. An art reception will be held on Saturday, September 16th, 2023 from 3PM-5PM.