Jessica Spring – Tensile

Artist Statement

Tensile weaves together a 19th century poem of seduction by Percy Bysshe Shelley, with current research on bisphenol contamination in our environment and bodies, gathered by biologist Alyce DeMarais. Used to manufacture plastics and resins for food and drink packaging, bisphenol A (BPA) impacts the endocrine system, impairing development and reproductive health. BPE and BPS are similar reproductive toxicants with transgenerational effects. 19th century writers didn’t know synthetic plastic would emerge in 1907 to forever change the world. Tensile explores the irony of our love affair with plastic, a monster of our own creation.

Materials & Technique

Tensile is printed from single-use plastics including bubble wrap, drinking straws, and bottle caps to create haunting landscapes overprinted with handset type. Letterpress printed by Jessica Spring, with leporello binding by Gabby Cooksey & Jessica Spring.

About Jessica Spring

Jessica Spring began her interest in typesetting and printing as a phototypesetter in the 1980s. She has been a letterpress printer ever since, most recently inventing Daredevil Furniture to help other printers set type in circles, curves and angles. Her work at Springtide Press – artist books, broadsides and ephemera where typography plays a central role – is included in collections around the country and abroad. She has collaborated on the Dead Feminists broadside series since 2008 and co-authored Dead Feminists:  Historic Heroines in Living Color. Spring has an MFA from Columbia College Chicago and teachers letterpress printing and book arts.