Jo Stealey claims to be coming from a seamstresses family, and that she always wanted to be an artist from her earliest days. Jo earned a Master’s degree in Art College where she specialized in both weaving and ceramics. She later took classes in basket making and paper making which led to her decision to combine the two crafts into one unified body of artwork. Jo Stealey is seeing artists’ books as one more way to promote her work of art, and her book ‘Paired for Life’ is reflecting quite some craft elements such as weaving, sewing, and papermaking.
Jo Stealey is chair of University of Missouri-Columbia’s Fiber Program, and on top of being a teacher in fiber classes, Jo also was teaching papermaking to students at the University. During her teaching years, she was introduced to a poet and together they decided to take a letterpress class. This collaboration consequently led to a series of 4 books, and later Jo started to make artist books and she incorporated several different media into her work. Narrating a story is frequently resulting in the creation of an artist book, and the books Jo has created are specifically related to a story. All her stories have a personal touch, for example in her book ‘Paired for Life’, she displays the story of how her husband and she got to know each other. The text is actually embedded in the book’s pages, yet the included narrative details really are less important.
You can find words that are stitched onto a page’s surface to provide a few hints of what’s meant to be said in the story. To Jo Stealey it is important that the theme of her books focus on a life-long symbiosis of the coming together of two elements