Diane Jacobs, “Owed to The Mountain”


Diane Jacobs
Portland, Oregon

Owed to The Mountain
lithography, wood engraving, reduction woodcut, linoleum cut, copper etching, plexiglass, tree branches, acrylic paint, handmade paper, celedonite, Multnomah indigo blue, hematite red, and vine charcoal black pigments, handset letterpress metal type, solar etchings made from Sumi ink drawings, eco printing, mono print, and silkscreen book cloth.
box: 14″ x 14″ x 7.5″ closed, 60″ x 60″ x 7″ open, book: 13.25″ x 13″ closed, 13.25″ x 26.25″ open

Artist Statement

Owed to The Mountain

Stories are both history and prophecy – time is circular – stories are among our most potent tools for restoring the landand our relationship to it. – Robin Kimmerer Owed to The Mountain is a sculptural artist book – the box unfolds one leaf at a time, to reveal each of the four directions. The Mountain is featured in four different printmaking techniques: West face – etching, North face – wood engraving, East face – lithograph, and South face – reduction woodcut.

There are four linoleum cut river prints and three handset, letterpress-printed stories from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. The box opens flat and in the center a paper mountain peeks through a cloud layer held up by five tree trunks. There are three handmade paper mountain skins nested inside one another. The outermost layer is made with celadonite pigment and accentuated with white ink exposing words. The middle surface details the dwindling glaciers and the innermost represents the volcanic strata. Beneath the mountain rests a fine press book. Animal ink drawings in various colorful ecosystems and habitats appear among the text, documenting the changing seasons.

The stories weave multiple Native voices that underscore the value of friendship, reciprocity, interdependence, and cooperation.

Materials and printmaking techniques for the fine-press book include solar etching plates developed from Sumi ink animal drawings, a monoprint centerfold, a water motif silkscreen printed on book cloth for the hard covers, end sheets made from eco-printing plants found on Mt. Hood, habitats created from pressure printing and reduction woodcuts, and stories handset in Weiss foundry type (Roman and italic 12 pt., 14 pt., and 18 pt.) and printed letterpress. Book pages are Zerkall paper, end pages are Rives lightweight, and the beaver and river otter were printed on mulberry paper and adhered to the inside covers.

Owed to The Mountain takes three forms: an eight-copy limited edition (a collapsible box holding a three-dimensional paper mountain with a copy of the fine-press book beneath), the fine-press book (a 32 copy edition numbered 9 – 40), and a digital edition of 279 copies printed at Morel Ink in Portland, Oregon.

Owed to The Mountain cultivates a powerful story that inspires knowing a place deeply, sharing Indigenous wisdom, and building a community that turns its love for a mountain into action. Mt.

Hood has the 6th largest carbon stores of all National Forests in the country! By galvanizing a movement that advocates for the US Forest Service management plan to be updated, Mt Hood can be celebrated and treated as a living ecosystem and increase its climate resilience. Fire suppression has left our forests and their inhabitants vulnerable to catastrophic fires. Native people have known all along that fire is an integral part of an interrelated system of people, plants, animals, and the land.

Through this project’s research, interviews, and by spending time on the mountain, I understand how important it is that we protect clean drinking water, promote wildlife habitat restoration, support forest maturation, and prioritize the vision and cultural traditions of Native communities, including the practice of controlled burns. We owe it to the Mountain.