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The City Journals

Making clouds with wood, ink and patience

Jun 20, 2018 04:31PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Jennifer Worsley sharing her art and explaining the woodblock process. (Amy Green/City Journals)

By Amy Green  |  [email protected]


The world is full of good artists, but how many get to make personal dreams come true, turning their artwork into a consistent and rewarding profession? Having buyers far and wide snatch up your original art would be absolutely thrilling. Jennifer Worsley, professional woodblock landscape artist, has experienced that “floating-on-a-cloud” feeling, having her work be exactly what many art enthusiasts are looking for.

Clouds happen to be part of Worsley’s work. She has a unique expression of sky and earth in her compositions. Her billowy, ink-pressed floating atmospheres, have movement and shape that is striking. She describes her work saying, “A certain linear quality always seems to be there in my work. My favorite visual element is line. The expressiveness of line is very individual to an artist, like handwriting. Line doesn't always lend itself easily to landscape images…but the lines that aren't necessarily there in real life, can be very real in my mind. That capturing of the world in an abstract form, is what my work is about.”

Worsley will be bringing her art to the 2018 Utah Arts Fest. This is an annual gathering of painters, potters, printmakers, performers and photographers (an impressive show of “p” word talents) and more.

“The Utah Arts Fest was one of the first places I tried out when I had just finished college more than 15 years ago, as a way to show my work,” Worsley said. “This was back when it was held at the fairgrounds on North Temple. I was simply elated that people responded to my work. There just isn't any substitute as an artist, for when someone pays you for what you create.”

The festival is now held at Library and Washington Squares in downtown Salt Lake City (200 East 400 South) running from Thursday, June 21 to Sunday, June 24. Bring sunscreen and water and additional water. There is much to do and see during the festival hours, noon until 11 p.m. There are arts/crafts available for purchase in many budget ranges. Wristband tickets are available each day of the festival.

“I really enjoy getting to interact with people and see their reactions, plus collectors can meet the artists! It's a very gratifying experience on both sides, and something I continue to enjoy every year I get to participate,” Worsley enthused. “I have branched out to other festivals all around the country and enjoy participating in the ‘circuit.’ But the Utah Arts Fest has always been my favorite event. Those four days and nights are a main highlight of my summer.”

Professional artist Jeff Hepworth, who also does skilled landscape painting said, “Jennifer’s work is highly admired by her peers. Her drawings, pastels, and especially her block prints exhibit a very creative complexity and technical excellence that few artists can achieve.”

She has a warm and relaxed personality, ready to answer questions about her special printing method — a Japanese technique called moku hanga. Her SLC in-home studio is where she does the thoughtful work she’s committed to. When not traveling to festivals, she has regular open studio hours during the winter season. Worsley’s success is a combination of talent, quality art education and dedicated time.

Her website shows her skill and diversity. “I have always enjoyed sculpture too, and woodblock printing has an element of that. I have a gallery of pastels, drawings, woodblock prints and a link to Instagram where I will show my works in progress,” she said. Worsley is an artist who perfects some age-old methods, yet with a modern-looking, lasting impression. “I love going on long drives to look for things to draw and paint. It is usually a certain outline or shape that makes a landscape exciting to me, a way of capturing what the world means to me,” she explained.

She uses her travel inspiration, paired with a gouge chisel tool on a plane of wood. Then line by line, inch by inch, she makes a picture showing nature’s depth and layers. It seems like a delicate, complicated and patient process. But Worsley is not a complicated person. She is someone who loves cats and is passionate about creating. She is a fine artist worth getting outside under the real clouds, to experience. Worsley is the type who would want you to call her by first name. Grab a wristband at the Utah Arts Fest. Look for Jennifer, and see great art.