Jessica Peterson () works at The Southern Letterpress in downtown Northport, Alabama, where she provides letterpress artwork, products and printing to the Southeastern United States. She is a book artist, letterpress printer and graphic designer. She teaches at University of Alabama in the MFA Book Arts Program and in Honors College, and at Shelton State.
Jessica was introduced to artists’ books by the community at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York in the early 1990′s, and has been working in the book form ever since. She earned a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998 and a MFA in Book Arts from the University of Alabama in May 2009. She been an instructor at Purchase College, The University of Bridgeport and Mississippi University for Women. She was the 2009/2010 artist in residence at Studio 150 in Gordo, Alabama.
In a culture that offers fast and cheap ways to print and bind, craft-based bookmaking is a powerful and political act. I utilize letterpress printing and hand papermaking to create artists’ books about neglected and underprivileged American narratives. When traditional methods are used to publish non-traditional texts, an exciting juxaposition is created, which enhances and memorializes the narratives. I have made artists’ books about the effects of Hurricane Katrina on Biloxi, Mississippi; the closing of Coney Island; slavery in Alabama, a race riot in Rochester, New York.
The grind of daily life compromises one’s ability to activate a full range of emotion. My artist books are toolkits to summon and maintain these lost emotions. The contents of the books are images and words collected from everyday experience; recognizable things whose familiarity quickly and unconsciously evokes emotion. My books allow the viewer access to desire, love, escapism, fear, sadness, loneliness and nostalgia, etc.
Books represented in the following special collections:
Asheville Bookworks, Asheville, NC
Chestertown Public Library, Chestertown, NY
Duke University, Perkins Library, Special Collections
Ella Strong Denison Library
Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID
Lafayette College, Special Collections
Mills College, Olin Library
Occidental College, Special Collections
San Jose State University, King Library, Special Collections
Scripps College, Denison Library, Special Collections
Stanford University, Green Library Special Collections
Texas Tech University, Southwest Collections
University of California Santa Barbara Davidson Library
University of California Santa Cruz, Special Collections
University of California San Diego, Mandeville Collections
University of Central Florida
University of Delaware, Special Collections
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Sloane Art Library
University of Washington Library, special collections
University of Washington, Special Collections
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Special Collections
University of Vermont
Wesleyan University, Olin Library, Special Collections
Yale University Arts Library