NextFab 2025 Washington Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19146 +1 (215) 921-3649

The Mystery of Objects

Name: Jeanne Jaffe
NextFab Member: since 2010

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Before her illustrious 30-year career as a fine artist and educator, Jeanne Jaffe was studying to be an archaeologist; fascinated with global cultures and the objects they grant importance to.  Her studies in archaeology ignited a personal exploration of how verbal language mediates human experience, which can still be seen in the use of text in her installations. Through drawing and sketching her archaeological research, Ms. Jaffe discovered her creative talents and shortly after took a job facilitating art projects within the blind community.  Inspired to work for herself, she put a portfolio together and was accepted to Carnegie Mellon.  Finishing her BFA at the Tyler School of Art, and then continuing to complete her MFA at Alfred University, she moved to New York City after graduation to launch her creative career and assist the renowned visual artist, Mary Frank.

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“I’ve been re-examining folklore for the 21st century.”

Now an internationally recognized artist, her projects start with “little mysteries” and develop through impulse.  For the past five years, Ms. Jaffe has been blending technology and interaction with folktales, literature, and history, forcing us to ask questions about their psychological and anthropological influence.  To do so, she’s paired the centuries-old stories with 21st century technology.  

“The use of technology along with the hand fascinates me!”

When it came to fabricating a pair of legs with larger-than-life proportions for her installation Little Red Riding Hood as a Crime Scene, she turned to NextFab.  “Before NextFab, I made everything by hand,” but for this project, she modeled a miniature pair of legs, cast them in resin, and then digitally enlarged them using a 3D scanner.  The team at NextFab helped bring them to life using the CNC router on laminated MDF board.

“There’s been a huge shift in terms of possibility,” the artist says, referencing the new technology now available to fine artists.  She sees the potential for endless possibilities with these new tools, but also realizes the wealth of choices can seem overwhelming. Her advice: “Try everything.  See what you like.  Explore the potential.  Just PLAY!”

Ms. Jaffe is currently working on a project on the life and times of the curious prodigy, Nikola Tesla, set to exhibit at the Rowan University Gallery in Glassboro, NJ in the spring of 2015.  She will be working over the next year at NextFab and with a class at Rowan's engineering department for the installation.