Pat Jeffers, abstract artist
By Kathryn R. Burke
What do baskets and abstract art have in common? Lots, if you’re Pat Jeffers. One day, in her “back east” past, Pat and her husband, Jack, were attending an arts and crafts fair in Greensboro, North Carolina where he, a fine art photographer, was showing his work. Pat, then a university administrator at a university in Virginia, and PhD candidate, wandered over to a nearby both to watch a man making baskets.
And her world changed. “I was mesmerized,” she said. “The colors, the shapes, the texture of the materials. Watching him work, I decided to quit my university job and learn to make baskets.” Which she did, and before long, she was creating her own designs and showing her work in arts and craft shows along the east coast. “We did 12 shows a year, spring and fall up to Christmas.”
Her world changed again when the Jeffers moved west, settling in Lander, Wyoming, where Pat continued her basketry. Before long, her work was carried in galleries from Vermont to California. During that time, she also began painting. “It started, mostly as a hobby, she said “mainly I wanted to learn more about color.“ (Pat’s baskets are noted for her use of color.) At first her paintings were representational, but that would soon change.
The Jeffers next move was to Montrose Colorado, where Pat discovered abstract art. She attended a workshop at the art center in Grand Junction, taught by Gregory Botts, a renowned abstract painter. “He grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” she explained. “Painted with the abstract masters, like Rothko, Marsden Hartley, and Ernst. I loved what he was teaching us! And, I said to myself, ‘I’m done with representation. I’m going all out for abstraction.’”