About this piece:
As the pandemic bore down, so did I. A time to look inward, at old notebooks, my paper stash. I found a friend’s coarse, gaudy paper and began to make small books, gathering the colors but each sheet was different to write on – the paper was as uneven as my days.
Small blue/green and black sheets were folded to make, Pandemic Book of Days. Michel de Montaigne wrote his Essays as the bubonic plague raged in France and wrote the need to live fully each day and not to fear death. I wrote his words on the blue/green paper. But deaths increased here, too.
Even before I studied calligraphy, I loved medieval art and cloisonné enamels. On the black paper, I drew a small head outlined in gold with a colored background. I made black brush marks to music, the rhythm of that person’s life – some long, some short. Montaigne said that the number of days you live is the whole of your life, no more, no less. Each page took time as the inks and gouache dried. I had time.
paper, gouache, acrylic, thread
About the artist:
Lives and works in Belfast, Maine.
Jan Owen is calligraphic book artist. Her work incorporates color, pattern, brush marks and hand lettered text. She chooses words by various authors and makes books, scrolls and panels. Her work is in the the Library of Congress, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Walker Library of Human Imagination and university Special Collections.