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Jessica Spring

Artist Statement


My desire to create a new breed of rare and precious objects is inextricably linked to nostalgia. Preserving skills and artifacts of crafts no longer necessary because they’ve been effectively replaced with modern technology is nutty, especially considering those artifacts are heavy and awkward and the skills are underappreciated by most of the world. There is a growing romance, though, for all things made by hand, in response to an increasingly “technofied” world. In addition to nostalgic methods of production, I’m interested in related content. Here there is a similar desire to preserve or rescue: artifacts I value as significant but might otherwise be lost, or information or individuals potentially unrecorded. Attributed to Walter Benjamin, the notion is best described as “remembrance, the conscious re–collection of the fragmented and threatened past” and is at once nostalgic and documentary.
Memories and experiences are blended with history and popular culture—the results are stories that become artifacts preserved in the structure of a book. The act of reading this book is intended to be intimate, allowing the reader to make connections through their own memories and perceptions. Typographer Beatrice Warde recognizes that integral to this experience is touch: “...what you do with the human hand leaves a certain impression upon the imagination and the mind and the heart; the hand, the palpability of printing and the feeling that comes out of the hand that never comes purely from the eye.” This notion informs my choice of materials, from handmade papers enhanced with natural dyes to bindings that reward the readers’ touch. Typography can reinforce the effect as well—ink, texture and letterforms are the medium. The visual effect should match the power of the text, readable on multiple levels.
Though my intention is to provide an expansive experience for the reader, much of my experience, influences, and therefore content are of an intimate nature. I am always intrigued by my fellow humans: their behavior, beliefs, obsessions, and in particular, the stories and photographs they use to document their own lives. Childhood is a constant source of material that includes riches of games, toys and imagination. Closely related is the importance of surprise, fun and the opportunity to learn and explore that I associate with books. Underlying all of these influences is humor. Inevitably what I remember and connect with is irony, wit, the fresh point of view.

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