Jessica Peterson (jessica@papersouvenir.com)is a book artist, letterpress printer and graphic designer. She is the owner and printer at The Southern Letterpress in New Orleans, where she provides letterpress artwork, products and printing to the Southeastern United States. She holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Book Arts from the University of Alabama, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Jessica was introduced to artists’ books by the community at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York in the early 1990’s. She been an instructor in book arts and graphic design at University of Alabama, Purchase College, The University of Bridgeport and Mississippi University for Women. Her work has been recognized by the Windgate Foundation, the Alabama State Council on the Arts and The Kentuck Arts Festival. She has been the resident artist at several cultural institutions, including Florida State University, Longwood University and Studio 150 in Gordo, Alabama.  Jessica’s artists’ books are collected in special collections libraries across the country, select books represented by Vamp and Tramp Booksellers.

Artist Statement:

In a culture that offers many faster and cheaper ways to publish words, I believe craft-based printing and bookmaking are powerful and political acts, especially when used to publish neglected narratives.

The stories I work with encompass events, places and memories that can be both deeply individual and commonly shared. I use the book form as an artist medium to transform personal stories from my immediate life or community into narratives with universal themes. These are stories about racial identity, the biology of hormones, the changes to a place as a result of a natural disaster, the experience of loss. I manipulate every aspect of the book’s production to support the narrative, allowing the physical elements of the handmade paper, bookbinding and printing to become essential components to the story.