Using fiber as my medium, I create artwork as a reminder of the joy and beauty of living. The container, with its female aspects, use-orientation, and domestic simplicity, is a constant shape in my work, evolving partly from my roots as a basketmaker. The tactile aspects of my art — the shape, feel, roundness, of a finished piece in my hand — are equally as important as the visual look.
I begin a piece by recalling an image that brought me joy — an image from my memory of growing up in the Southwestern United States, surrounded by varied cultures and land forms, or perhaps a more recent image from my life in the Vermont landscape. The texture, color, and movement of this image informs my choice of shape — either freeform, using a woven basket skeleton which becomes an integral part of the piece, or a more structured shape provided by a removable mold. Using my favorite tool — my hands — I tear, rearrange, and add layer upon layer of handmade papers. Marbling, a process of floating pigments on water and then picking up a print, is one of my favorite techniques for adding additional colors to the paper. This process requires a certain letting go of control as the floating colors are always unpredictable, always in motion, always influencing each other and always influenced by the external environment.
SELECTED EXHIBITIONS AND AWARDS
Shelburne Farms 23rd Annual Art at the Coach Barn, Shelburne, Vermont
Web and Flow, Textile Center Joan Mondale Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Select Group Show from the National Basketry Organization's "Web and Flow" exhibition, Guardino Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Juror's Choice Award, Textile Center Joan Mondale Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Leave a Paper Trail, Studio Place Arts Gallery, Barre, Vermont.
Paint the Gallery Red, Studio Place Arts Gallery, Barre, Vermont.
Maps and Journeys, Studio Place Arts Gallery, Barre, Vermont.
Basketry as an Art Form, Bascom-Louise Gallery at the Fine Art Center, Highlands, North Carolina.
Smaller Than A Breadbox, Shelburne Art Center, Shelburne, Vermont.
Fine Art of Craft, Studio Place Arts, Barre, Vermont.
Palettes of Vermont, Vermont Arts Council, selected exhibition, Montpelier, Vermont.
Landscapes, Art on Main, Bristol, Vermont. Featured artist.
It's Alive!, Shullenberger Gallery, Jericho, Vermont.
Tour de Vermont, Shullenberger Gallery, Jericho, Vermont.
Vermont Arts & Fine Craft Festival, Stratton Mountain, Vermont; "Best in Class" award.
It Must Be The Water, Shullenberger Gallery, Jericho, Vermont.
Leff, Ellen W. , Sandra C. Jefferis, and Margaret P. Gagne. "The development of the Maternal Breastfeeding Evaluation Scale," Journal of Human Lactation 10: 105-111.
Leff, Ellen W., Margaret P. Gagne, and Sandra C. Jefferis. "Maternal perceptions of successful breastfeeding" Journal of Human Lactation, 10(2): 99-104.
Gagne, M.P., E.W. Leff and S.C. Jefferis. "Diabetes and breastfeeding: an exploratory approach." Health Care of Women International, July-September.
Leff, E.W., M.P. Gagne and S.C. Jefferis. "Promoting successful interdependence: type I diabetes in pregnancy." MCN, March/April.
Jefferis., S.C., M.P. Gagne, and E.W. Leff. "Breastfeeding and diabetes: making it work for you." Diabetes Forecast, August.
Sandy redefines the ancient skills of basketry, creating her joyful, contemporary vessels and sculptural designs. Sandy was born and raised in northwestern New Mexico and draws inspiration from the forms and colors of the Southwest landscape and the incredibly varied cultures found in this area. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. In 1982 she received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Vermont, with a focus on maternal-child nursing. In partnership with two other nurses, she founded a research group focusing on diabetes, pregnancy, and newborns. Several publications and presentations are included in her resume. In 1997 she started her basketmaking business, expanding into a new studio in 2004. Workshops with well-known artists/basketmakers Mary Merkel-Hess, Jerry Bleem, Jill Nordfors Clark, Carol Eckert, and Mary Hettmansperger have provided additional inspiration. Sandy has three grown children and currently resides in Vermont with her husband.