Jan Havens

Nashville, TN | Exhibiting Since 1991

I make hand-colored etchings in my basement in Tennessee.  The etchings are rather whimsical, with animals, birds and plants as the usual themes.  Some of the etchings have words in the borders as the animals and plants have conversations about one thing or another.  Twenty five years ago only a few of the etchings had words, but customers at fairs were disappointed if there were no words, so the storytelling developed.

To make an etching I draw backwards on a copper plate that is coated with a wax resist using a tool that is similar to a blunt nail on a stick.  Drawing through the wax exposes the copper so when I place the plate in an acid bath, the acid etches only the exposed lines.  I clean off the wax and rub ink in the lines, wipe off excess surface ink, and print the images with a hand-turned etching press.  When the paper is dry, I paint the etching with opaque watercolor.

I grew up in a military family and spent five years in the Panama Canal Zone.  I discovered both etching and hand built clay while attending Barton College in Wilson, NC and continued in clay and relief etching through graduate school at Peabody College in Nashville. I taught elementary art and continued working in clay for fifteen years until I got talked in to doing a t-shirt for our TACA fair in Nashville.  The t-shirt made me want to do etching again.