Jamila Rufaro creates mixed media artworks, sculptures and artist’s book art. By applying abstraction, Rufaro tries to develop forms that do not follow logical criteria, but are based only on subjective associations and informal parallels, luring the viewer to make new associations.
Her mixed media artworks are often about contact with architecture and basic living elements. Space and landscape are examined in less obvious ways and sometimes developed in absurd ways. The results are deconstructed to the extent that meaning is shifted and interpretation becomes multifaceted.
She writes: When I was about eight years old I made paper angels out of notebook paper and sold them to my aunts. I carried them around the house in my mother’s silverware box. It made a fine display case. In one-way or another I’ve been selling my artwork ever since. Paper angels evolved into sand art terrariums and bouquets of flowers made out of formed wire dipped in resin. My mother taught me to crochet and while I never reached her level of skill in making doilies and dresses, I did establish a nice wardrobe of crocheted tank tops, vests and hats.
In Germany I learned the art of making stained glass windows. I sold several small sun catcher type pieces and gifted the larger lampshade and windowpanes. I also began teaching—crocheted vests, berets, booties and blankets were all the rage back then.
In the eighties I sold t-shirts with Kinte cloth appliquéd on them. In the 90’s I taught myself peyote stitch and madedozens of amulet purses, necklaces, rings and earrings using small Japanese seed beads.
More recently my focus turned back to paper in the form of card crafting using rubber stamps, ephemera, collage techniques and a style called steam punk. Loss of full-time employment led to a collage class, which led to my current obsession with book arts. My work area is pretty cluttered and I love the experience of finding the perfect element to complete a project buried in the rubble.
Jamila holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Education from UC Santa Cruz and a Ph. D in Education from Stanford University. Born in New York City, she has lived in Texas, Germany, California and travelled to Belize, Canada, France, Ghana, Jamaica, Mexico, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia. Jamila currently lives and works in Palo Alto, CA and is a member of Bay Area Book Artists. You can see more of her work on her Facebook page for book arts: J.BookArts, BayAreaBookArtists.org and Etsy: shop/byJRu.