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Betsy Bowen

“The aim of an artist is to make people love life,” said Leo Tolstoy, and I agree.

I live and work on the edge of the wilderness near Minnesota’s north shore of Lake Superior, on the old homestead bought by my suburban parents in 1963 to allow our family to experience another way of life.  In my early years, I focused on hand made textiles.  My work in woodblock printmaking has continued the ethic of seeking a straightforward livelihood generated by making goods by hand.  The prints recently have focused on illustrations for picture books, written by myself, and others.

My topics have evolved from views of my local rural life into the folktales and stories which inform rural lives worldwide.  Recent interest in the oral tradition of these folktales has led me toward pageantry, creating puppets, scripts, and staging for community street theater and dance performances.

Artistic activities include woodblock print illustrations for five picture-books, published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1991-2002, with topics embracing rural Minnesota life, and Ojibwe and Norwegian traditional stories.  Three of the books, Antler, Bear, Canoe,  Tracks in the Wilderness and Gathering: A North Woods Counting Book are written by Betsy.  Other recent projects are calendars for Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, Minnesota Journal 2000 project for Minnesota Historical Society, and large, and small-scale puppet theater works as Good Harbor Hill Players.

Currently operating Betsy Bowen Studio, a fine art family print shop, hand-printing Betsy’s woodblocks for sale to galleries and art fairs.


Education includes various college level experiences from 1965 through 1997, the finale being a BA degree from Vermont College in Liberal Studies as well as significant workshop experiences with Grand Marais Art Colony.


Bears on Holiday - Boxed Cards
Bears on Holiday - Boxed Cards
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