© Janet Jaffke

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Janet Jaffke

Blotzheim, Alsace, France and Chicago, Il USA

Artist Statement

My work is inspired by…
Memory, experiences, my understanding of the human condition and my Buddhist practice.

I work primarily in burlap, also known as hessian. It’s a natural material that speaks to my love of nature and texture. It’s strong, durable and I associate it with my life growing up in a hard-working blue collar family. It’s a material rich with manipulative properties.

I use reclaimed coffee bags that originate from all over the world – each piece having distinct physical characteristics.The diverse colors, weaves, and weight are unique to the origin of the material, and represents the beauty of diversity in the world. I use these inherent qualities and associations of burlap to explore the resilience of the human spirit. I believe that no matter how torn or unraveled life becomes, there are ways to patch the pieces back together.

In spite of our diverse humanity, we all share moments of struggle and suffering. It is through these challenges that one can see the beauty of the torn and imperfect. It’s an opportunity to patch and repair, and to learn our true strength.

© Janet Jaffke

Janet Jaffke's Portfolio

© Janet Jaffke

Artist Biography

Janet Jaffke is an international fiber and mixed media artist. She was born and raised in Chicago, and now resides in a small farm town in Alsace, France. She graduated with a BFA from the Chicago School of the Art Institute where she focused on textile design and fiber art.

After moving to France in 2013, Janet worked primarily in acrylic mixed media, using collage as part of the process. While exploring various ways to create textured paintings, Janet collaged a piece of burlap from a salvaged produce bag onto her painting. This was the beginning of her fascination with the material. At first she buried the material under layers of paint, but eventually let go of the paint when she recognized the beauty of burlap in its natural state. Soon the burlap moved off the painting and became the primary focus and material in her work.

Janet has had artist residencies in Florence, Italy; St. Joe, Michigan; and Lewiston, New York. Her work has been featured in art and literary magazine,“WovenTale Press.” She has exhibited in Florence, Italy; Chicago, IL; Basel, Switzerland; and Paris, France.

She has worked in collaboration with writer LaurieShoulterKarall who after following her work on social media was inspired to write stories in response to her postings. Their book “Catch” was published in September 2022.



© Janet Jaffke

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