Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

LOCAL Q&A 1/10: Book Artist and Printer Jessica Peterson

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

LOCAL Q&A 1/10: Book Artist and Printer Jessica Peterson

Article excerpt

This week, meet book artist and printer Jessica Peterson, who introduces herself far better than I could.

Q:

Who are you?

A:

When I was younger, I decided to experience as much as possible, not knowing that this commitment was going to lead me down some unusual roads by the time I got to my late 30s. I'm a book artist, printer and citizen of the world.

I operate The Southern Letterpress, a letterpress printshop in historic downtown Northport. I print artwork, books, invitations, announcements, stationery. I also teach printing and book arts at The University of Alabama. I got involved with typography because of deep interest in reading. Typography is a key component to reading: how letters and words look to the human eye. Letterpress printing, to me, is the highest form of typography.

Q:

Where are you from?

A:

I'm from Rochester, N.Y. Having never visited Alabama, I moved here from NYC to go to the MFA Book Arts Program in 2006. I never thought I would still be in Tuscaloosa eight years later. What keeps me here is the community of artists and creative people. I've met some of the most creative and motivated people in Alabama, people who have wonderful visions of the world, which they work hard to manifest.

Q:

What do you tell people or friends who've never been here about living in Tuscaloosa?

A:

The thing about small-town living in the South is that you have to make your own experience. If you want something, you make it, whether a job, store, food, drink or entertainment. The best things happen as a result of this. In Tuscaloosa, you get to do what you want with your life, which is a great personal challenge many people I know rise to. This challenge has created great things like the Druid City Brewing Co., the Pink Box Burlesque, Slash Pine, the Left Hand Soap Co., Grace Aberdean Habitat, SunHeart Metalworks, and Mary's Cakes and Pastries. Everyone really does know everyone else in some way, so no one is anonymous, and the Crimson Tide is the universal glue.

Q:

Where are the top places you take visitors?

A:

One should spend some time driving around the backroads (Alabama Highway 69 to Greensboro, U. …

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