Stephanie Jaffe Werner
Unconventional pairings of materials are a signature of Stephanie Jaffe-Werner’s work. Oftentimes, this means transforming and repurposing objects she finds into fanciful arrangements and feminine narratives. Using a keen sense of color and eclectic arrangements, Stephanie constructs works that are engaging on multiple levels, ranging from nostalgic to whimsical, with plenty of tongue in cheek frolic and humor.
Stephanie Jaffe Werner was born in New York and was wooed to Florida in 1990 by family and romance. This period was strongly influenced by motherhood and marriage. Her work during these early years in Florida was a prelude to her current mixed media sculptures. She produced 3-D paintings and mixed media shadow boxes such as Deep Water, Too Busy to Write and Mermaids as well as the About Candy Series. Jaffe-Werner solidified her trademark ability to transform familiar, or even mundane feminine figures, into something whimsical and unusual.
Influenced by South Florida’s vibrant and lush flora and fauna, Jaffe-Werner was attracted to mosaics due to its resistance to the climate, bright colors and the natural symmetry with mixed media. Her desire to pursue larger and more permanent pieces drove her entrée into the world of public art. You can see her juried permanent installations throughout Florida including the Florida Highwaymen Obelisk in Fort Pierce, and The Lealman Park “L” located in Pinellas County, Florida.
Stephanie is now outside the box and into nature and conservation. She is still exploring the role of women in society, and has not lost her sense of humor or irony. Her topiary mixed media collage allows her to use her passion for finding and collecting a wide assortment of found objects and recycling them into works of art. Poignant and nostalgic pieces are all nestled among handmade ceramic flowers and shaped into garden topiaries producing a unique effect. Her mosaic paintings are made from antique tableware purposefully broken and reassembled to create a new perspective on an old image.
Jaffe-Werner utilizes countless small, colorful, diverse pieces to her mosaics and collages. She believes her approach to art was informed by her experiences early in life.
Jaffe-Werner’s early memories are sprinkled with dinner- time stories of success and struggles. Her parents built up their manufacturing business while raising three children. Her family made their living producing formed wire component parts such as hooks, hangers and bucket handles, then convincing consumer-goods manufacturers to utilize their wares. Stephanie was fascinated by the concepts that the parts make the whole, the psychology of the human spirit, as well as her parents’ creativity and entrepreneurial approach to problem solving.
The theme of component parts has reappeared over and over again throughout her art. As a child she was already a collector and had a fascination with using found items in new and creative ways. It was not unusual for her to travel to school with a bag filled with art supplies, books, photos, toys and candy. A few of her early pieces of mixed media sculpture included an installation of the game “Candy Land” glued to her basement wall, a ten car bicycle-powered train decorated with clothes and streamers, and several bowls of record (LP) soup.
As a young adult Jaffe-Werner was encouraged to pursue a Bachelor in Fine Arts by her teachers, mentors, and her own success in local art competitions. She spent a summer at the Rhode Island School of Design, before matriculation into Temple University Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received her BFA in 1980. She entered as a painting major, but was almost immediately drawn to glass blowing and studied glass under Jon Clark.
In 1979 Jaffe-Werner studied at Temple Villa Caproni, facing the Tiber River in the heart of Rome. Here she began to incorporate feminine commentary into her work. The romantic images and iconic fashions influenced her to use doll parts, gems, and fur in her glass designs and produced the pieces Candy Girls, and Lady Heads series.
After graduation, Jaffe-Werner was drawn to New York City’s garment district. By day she worked in a design room knitting sweater samples, at night she continued to blow glass at NY Experimental Glass Studio located in Little Italy. She explored every corner of the garment district for notions, beads, button, and trims. These finds resulted in an eclectic body of work celebrating the mysterious, loving, lighthearted and sometimes bizarre ways of women, including; Foxy Ladies, Mermaids, and the Shoe Fly.
In 1984, Jaffe-Werner used her entrepreneurial background and business acumen to the open Germantown Glassworks, a hot glass production studio with a former classmate. Germantown Glassworks produced functional artworks including vases, bowls and serving dishes. Their work was exhibited at the American Craft Council shows and sold in art galleries and retail stores across the country. Germantown Glassworks was best known for their vibrant and colorful sea-form line. Miami Beach is a long way away from the burgeoning studio glass movement of the 1980’s; however, you can still the kaleidoscopic influence of the small vibrant chips of colored glass known as smalti her mosaics today.
Stephanie Jaffe Werner’s work has been displayed and sold in galleries across the country including; Boca Raton Museum of Art, Miami Beach Botanical Garden, Bergdorf Goodman Windows, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Lee Yawkey Woodson Museum of Art.
Jaffe-Werner currently maintains her studio in Miami at The Bakehouse Art Complex, she participates in her her family business, has two sons, a best friend and partner and a calico cat named Stella. Stephanie continues to hunt and collect objects from bygone eras for inspiration and to be used in future pieces.