Where Fairy Tales Come to Life
One wall of the master bedroom is devoted to the framed paintings Jan makes for Joe each year, portraying their favorite experience from the year past. The couple loves to gather family and friends for dinner, so their latest home addition, two years ago, expanded the dining room (which can now seat 16) and upgraded the kitchen.
A loft above the living room serves as Jan’s library. An entire section of it is devoted to Norway, another to the Arctic, yet another to books on coins, which Jan delved into for her latest book, Hedgie Blasts Off. “Small nuances make things real for me and for the reader,” Jan says. “I try to include visual details in my drawings that readers may not even recognize or know about, but that nonetheless make them feel that they can walk right onto the page.”
Ultimately, their home reflects Jan’s ongoing explorations — of her world, of her past, of her art. “I tell both kids and adults to create the mental space for their art by listening to their muse, that quiet voice that points you in a certain direction, that says draw this, or write this, not that,” Jan explains. “For me, it’s the same as listening to my six-year-old self, who sits on my shoulder. The beauty of art is that it lets individuality flower — whatever you create is something only you could have made.”
“Jan’s business is to create,” adds Joe. “She gets endless ideas from a place I call ‘Jan-Land.’” If Jan’s enchanting books and home are any indication, Jan-Land is a magical place indeed.