Sheryl Jaffe, a Northampton native and awarding winner artist in the Pioneer Valley, specializes in handcrafted books featuring her own handmade paper and prints. She has been featured in a multitude of both solo and group exhibitions throughout Western Massachusetts and beyond, and has held artist residencies at Yellowstone National Park and with the Edward Albee Foundation in Montauk, New York. She currently teaches ceramics at Northampton High School, where a unit on Native American culture prompted a passion for corn, which has become a recurring material in much of her art. Initially interested in sculptures, Jaffe has experimented with all the fibrous parts of corn which eventually evolved into the paper she makes today. Her recent ventures include making paper from other local plants and recycled materials, such as horse radish leaves, mulberry leaves and linen rags. She makes her paper and prints through a variety of different means, using su-geta molds of various sizes, large screens and numerous other molds and deckles.
Her enthusiasm for papermaking expanded further than she ever expected, bringing her as far as Japan to study traditional papermaking. Thus, her work features a unique mix of materials, drawn from her interest in both Japanese and Native American cultures, but all rooted in the inspiration she finds from nature. Her books and prints most often feature imagined landscapes, combined with other text and images influenced by the natural world.
Bookmaking has become an enlightened passion for her and she describes why in her own words: "I love the process, the intimate quality of experience one has with a book. Visual, tactile, thought provoking, better than a movie because it is so easy to flip back and forth, to allow the element of time to condense or expand the experience. You can share it with someone or relish it by yourself. It can be sculptural and tell a story. It is a way to communicate with the past and the future."
More of her work can be found on her website: http://www.sheryljaffe.com/