JEAN BUESCHER BARTLETT
Ann Arbor, MI
BOOKS | Mixed media handmade books
Penland Affiliation | Penland instructor 1993, 2002, 2005
Artist Information | Studio artist; education: BS University of Cincinnati, MFA University of Alabama; teaching: College for Creative Studies (MI), Paper and Book Intensive (MI); collections:
Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Newberry Library in Chicago (IL), Cincinnati Art Museum (OH), New York Public Library (NY), Dutch Royal Library, and the University of Michigan\’s Special Collections.
Artist Statement | An intrigue with the interplay between pictorial, written, and spoken language has led me to print, illustrate, bind and publish limited edition, letterpress printed, as well as one-of-a-kind, handmade books. These are small, precious, and intimate objects meant to be provocative and sensuous in the hand, to the eye, and the mind. My books are material investigations into the immaterial. This work is often collaborative, drawing on the expertise of calligraphers, weavers, fellow papermakers, photographers, writers, painters, and letterpress printers. In each unique book or edition, I strive to integrate all of the parts into a harmonious
entity – from the selection of metal typefaces or handwritten text, inks, paper, thread, and book cloth to erudite and enlightening texts to sublime and meaningful illustrations to the physical design of the book structures themselves.
Before I set to work I must be mentally uncluttered, which I find to be both centering and sensor heightening. Artistic conditioning is necessary for my bookmaking to remain fluid. So, too, is the maintenance of a slow, meditative and unencumbered life. Much of my inspiration has come from an ongoing interest in contemporary literature, historical fine presswork, botanical prints and drawings, as well as illuminated manuscripts.
The soulfulness, authenticity, and deft handling of native materials found in folk art traditions continually inspire my life and work. Drawing upon my own ancestors’ appreciation and indebtedness to hand tools – particularly for woodworking, painting, gardening, cooking, and needlework – I easily fell into making things by hand as both an avocation and a livelihood.