Self reflection makes for an interesting self portrait

My artwork has gone through a huge shift in the past year. I began the year with a process of gluing burlap onto a wood substrate and then covering the burlap with plaster and acrylic paint. During the course of the year I was able to discern that the part I liked most about what I was doing was the way the burlap looked in its natural form. By covering it up it was like I was “covering up” myself. It was soooo liberating to free my work from a stiff and unwielding surface to an more organic and flowing form. This was a HUGE discovery for me and completely changed the direction of my work and in the best possible way. I finally feel like I’m comfortable with my own art. Not that I’m not challenged now, it just seems like the challenges are a bit more fun!

In reflection, I realize that part of this discovery was due to the fact that I was really searching for the right “form” that would best contain my expression. With the help from my Critical Discussion Group, I’ve been asking myself some important questions about my art. This questioning has brought me closer to being more myself in my art and being less vulnerable to the opinions of the outside world.

I know I’m just hitting the tip of the iceberg with discovering my greatest potential as an artist. I also know  that digging deeper will only improve my understanding of myself and my work, and the work will improve as a result.  And so I will continue moving forward.

Self portrait

In addition to continuing  with my Critical Discussion Group, I decided to participate in a workshop by Donna Watson entitled “The Essence of Identity.”  We’re just at the start of the workshop and have been self-reflecting and taking inventory of who we understand ourselves to be. We’ve been challenged to create a self-portrait based on what we have discovered about who we are. 

Here are the meanings of all the elements I used on my self portrait.

  • Gold tassel fabric – it’s from Florence and represents my lust for beauty in all it’s forms
  • Key – I’m always trying to unlock the secrets of my life, why I do what I do
  • Burlap – I identify with it’s strength, humility and durability
  • Needle and Thread – represents my current state of creativity working with fiber and stitch
  • Netting – I’m determined to break free from the nets and obstacles that hold me back
  • Wishbones – I am an endless optimist and believe in dreams
  • Mirror – Self reflection is a pillar upon which I want to build my life
  • African Kuba cloth – I love all African art and textiles. Going to Africa is on my bucket list. This fabric’s placement is a reference to a Buddhist scroll and represents my life
  • Dried crab shell – My nod to nature as one of my biggest inspirations!
  • French stamp – X marks the physical spot where I’ve landed at this point in life with my fabulous French husband
Oh! and the fact that it is in halves refers to the fact that I am peacemaker, libra and I believe wholeheartedly in balance and being fair.

9 rue Charles Wolf, F68730 Blotzheim, France | janet@jaffkestudio.com  | +33 (0)6 10 53 44 18

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