Abby Paffrath, was born and raised in Breckenridge Colorado. As a true mountain girl the outdoors have always been a huge part of her life. She has been skiing as long as she can remember, she grew up riding horses on her family's ranch, she is an avid flyfisher woman and loves guiding friends down the river in her drift boat. Her experiences with these sports have long influenced her work as an artist. Staying true to her mountain heritage, Abby chose to attend the University of Montana, in Missoula where she earned a bachelor's degree in fine art in 2003. During her sophomore year, Abby enrolled in a program that took her to Bali, Indonesia, where she studied the countries art and culture. She immediately fell in love with the beauty and brightness of batik and began training in the centuries old process with a skilled, local artist.
Batik is a wax resist dye technique used to create images and patterns on fabric. The art form, which originated in Indonesia, is traditionally used on fabrics and clothing Balinese people wear for ceremonies and rituals, and during their everyday lives. More recently Batik fabrics have earned recognition as pieces of fine art and are increasingly showcased on the walls of galleries and museums mixed among more traditional paintings and sculptures. Although Abby and her Balinese mentor were not able to speak each other’s language, they communicated through the process of creating art. For Abby, the experience was transformative and it has influenced her career as an artist ever since. Even as she now dabbles in other forms like watercolor and acrylic painting, as well as in printmaking and ceramics, her true love remains making batiks.
"My favorite part of creating batiks is the mystery. The finished product is unlike anything else. And the process itself is so absorbing, so captivating."
In 2011 Abby earned her master’s degree in art education at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
"I just love teaching art, I am energized and fueled by young minds expressing themselves through creativity." Abby is a huge advocate for the role the arts play in education. When not in her studio, she works as an art educator for a Jackson Hole, Wyoming based nonprofit group called pARTners, an organization that links artists with students to help enhance school curriculums. Abby has taught countless classes, designed large scale art projects for children in kindergarten through 12th grade, brightened numerous hallways and classrooms with enormous murals, and has spread her love for art throughout the Teton Valley, her home for the last 13 years.
Abby's beautiful Wyoming home continues to inspire her and challenge her to make art that reflects the natural world and the way we interact with it, play in it, and rely on it daily. The next time you are in Jackson Hole, you should see for yourself. For as much as Abby loves creating art, she loves sharing it even more. So stop by and visit Abby in her studio anytime! Please inquire a visit via email under the contact link.