My art making process has been about capturing cultural identity.

During the past three decades my artwork has included ceramic sculpture, original prints, photography and acrylic painting. The essence of my art centres around a distinctly Canadian heritage, of sweeping landscapes, archival orchards, and objects that have defined Okanagan culture.

My images of picking ladders, pails, boxes and fruit jars are not meant to
simply recall memory, but more importantly, to preserve history.

These objects, symbolic in nature, represent how cultural identities are formed. Over the past century they have evolved into symbols of identity.

The Glass Jar series:

Canning jars are “portraits” of Okanagan identity and moreover, Canadian identity.

In my art, the canning jar, stands as “the” symbol for preserve, not fruit, but identity.

The jar symbol now represents the interior of British Columbia as well as agricultural Canada. The history of our agricultural identity is anchored by the canning jar.

During the past decade , I have continued to explore the concept of “Preserve”
through my painting and photography.

It has been my creative process of arranging fruit in jars and shooting that still life. Capturing the evening light as it shines through the glass jar highlighting text that has defined agricultural and rural Canada – Jewell, Kerr, Ball, Mason, and “Made in Canada” : A poignant phrase that connects our land and abundant environment from coast to coast.  A phrase that compels me to ask the question;

What is it about Canada we need to preserve?

My jar series combines historic elements with personal memories. These jars are about my private world but also about the Canadian land. For the viewer; they see the jars stuffed with ripe fruit bursting with intense colour. On a personal level; they are portraits of my life and about my connection with our orchard – land we have nurtured for a half century.

Recently I designed and built my studio on our land surrounded by the very fruit trees that have been the core of my inspiration.

The studio is very personal for most artists and it is our ongoing relationship with that space, inside and out, that, in part, defines us as artists.

Jan Crawford is an award winning Canadian artist. Her recent work visualizes our Canadian identity as it relates not only to our past connection with our vast and abundant environment, but also implores all Canadians to contemplate and see clearly, what we need to preserve about Canadian culture today, for our future happiness and survival.

Copyright © 2021 Jan Crawford

Jan Crawford
Orchard House Sour Cherries