Wordy Prints: These are my newest prints and include my prints and short quotes that I have printed with words and/or letters I have carved over the years. (Yes, I do find words and letters beautiful.) The smaller prints are on recycled dictionary and/or blank sketchbook pages. and the larger (11 x 14) prints are on pages from a family bible that came to me when my mother died. You can read more about these bible page prints at the bottom of this post.
Birds: At the end of her life, one of the only ways my mother Hazel found joy was to watch the little birds feed at the bright red bird feeder that hung from the branches of the magnolia tree outside her front room window in Centralia, Wa. I carved these prints to honor the love my mother had for the natural world.
2 Cats: I hope someday to have many more cat prints.
A Lot of Dogs: I began living with dogs as an adult in 1994 when I got Gretta, a young shepherd mix, who traveled all over the country with me before she died at age 14 in 2005. Shortly after Gretta died, my daughter Patricia gave me Jasper, then 7 years old. After dear old Jasper died in December, 2010, I thought I’d take a long break but then I met sweet Gracie… Someday she’ll have a print too. A lovely reality of having a dog is meeting so many other wonderful dogs and their people. With only a couple of exceptions, my dog prints are all of dogs I’ve known and loved.
Reminders of Home: I taught myself print making by drawing and carving images of things around me that I loved. Each of these images says “home” to me.
Music Prints: I learned to play the banjo as an adult and for a few years, I played for old time dances in Seattle and Montpelier, Vermont.
12 Wildlife Prints: This grouping of prints includes images of animals and plant life that speak to me in some way.
Bible Page Prints: Like most of my work, these prints came into existence organically. It started in 2001 when my mother died and left me a big old family bible that no one had ever used. I love printing on printed pages and these bible pages started calling to me. When I thought about printing on them, the words In good we trust sprang to mind. I looked it up but didn’t find this as anyone else’s quote, so maybe it’s mine. In the spring of 2011, I mentioned my desire to print on bible pages to a market customer and she said, “I’m a Christian woman and I think that’s a great idea.” A week later, a friend opened a shop and asked me if I had any artwork to display. I told him that I’d been thinking about printing on these bible pages. He gave room for a show, paid for frames and mats, and gave me 10 days to work. There are 16 prints using five quotes in this series. You can see them in the “Wordy Prints” section, or you can order any prints you would like on this paper for as long as it lasts. The following text is on the back of each print:
Bible Page Prints, Jesse Larsen, 2011, Bellingham WA. My father and his father were Nazarene preachers from the 1920s through the 1950s, economically poor times for Nazarenes. These bible pages are from a bible that was given to my late grandfather and grandmother, Reverend James Nelson Tinsley, and Mrs. John Burch Landrum Tinsley, when my father, Arthur Wilbur “Bud” Tinsley, was 12 years old. The inscription reads: “Presented to Bro. & Sis. Tinsley Christmas 1927 by Elizabeth Gerber.” The only other information I have about this time in my father’s life is that his mother died in 1928.
There was no other writing in this bible and no sign that it had ever beenused aside from wear and tear on the cover from being packed and moved and stored and packed and moved again. Lots of moves.
It ended up with me in Bellingham Washington, one of many things left by my late mother, Hazel Loretta Gumm Tinsley, for me to decide what to do with. I also have other bibles from my family – the brown leather bible with the broken zipper that her Grandfather Alvin L. Slentz gave my mother when she graduated from High School in Spokane, WA in 1935; the fat black one that my Mom wrote things in for our family for a while; and my favorite, the little brown leather one that my dad used when he preached, the one that is dog eared and written all over.
Although I’m not a Christian and have read very little of the Bible, I have great respect for a book that continues to have so much influence on human joy and misery. By printing my prints on these family bible pages, I honor this previously unloved book page by page as part of the heart of my art. I do this work with reverence for the lives these pages have accompanied and gratitude for the chance to give them new life.