Jan Heath’s Art - A Complement To Our Own Craft
Some 40 years ago, printmaker Jan Heath and her husband, painter Jonathan Heath, left Washington, DC to build their home and studios in Berkeley Springs. At that time in the 1970s, many young people were rejecting city life to “return to the land.” Today, of course, most young people gravitate to cities for opportunity and inspiration. But here Jan and her family remain, esteemed members of our town’s thriving creative community.
“It was the beauty and richness of the environment that drew us here,” Jan says. “There were quite a few artists and craftspeople in the area already and it was such a welcoming community. It’s a good place for artists to live.” Her ability to capture the essence of the natural world around Berkeley Springs drew us to her work. Jan's art has been chosen for several Gat Creek catalogs and a new print will appear on the 2020 catalog cover.
Place predominates in Jan’s work, which is primarily linoleum and wood block printmaking. “My studio sits in the middle of a forest so I am surrounded by trees,” she says. “It is where I get much of my inspiration for the prints I create.” To broadly simplify her method, she carves an image into the material, inks it and makes the print. But that understates the art and precise craft of her work.
When she is working with wood block, for instance, Jan is very meticulous about the wood she chooses. She’s careful to preserve and orient the grain so that it’s characteristics remain a part of the print along with the imagery she has carved into it. For us, Jan’s fusion of art and craft, her relationship with the wood and her landscape-inspired work align perfectly with Gat Creek. We were destined to find each other.
“I believe Gat Caperton owned some of my pieces but David Petersen (who leads marketing and branding for our company) is who wanted to integrate the work of local artists into the catalogs,” Jan says by way of explaining how her work became part of Gat Creek’s communication pieces. “I’m thrilled to be a part of it. Gat Creek is a wonderful company and such an asset to our community. People love working there.”
And we love that Jan, and other artisans in our creative community, call Berkeley Springs home.