Jan Baker

August 13, 1950April 28, 2018

BAKER, Jan, August 13, 1950 – April 28, 2018.

Artist. Alphabet. Aunt. Books. Baker. Calligrapher. Collections. Cousins. California. Design. Devoted. Daughter. Empowering. Energetic. Family. Friend. Fulbright. Generous. God-mother. Handmade. Hearts. Inquisitive. India. Italy. Judaism. Japan. Kind. Love. Lucky rocks. Lecture notes. Mark. Meditation. Maps. Mentor. Notebooks. Optimist. Professor. Polka dots. Persistent. Perfectionist. Quilts. RISD. Sister. Sabbaticals. Students. Traveler. Textiles. Tea. Thirteen. UCSC. Valentines. Venice High. Wise. X-pert. Yale. Zany...

Funeral Service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at Swan Point Cemetery, Redwood Chapel. In lieu of flowers, a donation could be made to the Jan Baker Artists’ Book Fund, RISD Library. Arrangements by Sugarman-Sinai Memorial Chapel.


  • Funeral Service Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Jan Baker

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Laura Chessin

September 9, 2018

I was about to enter this scan of an envelope into my blog and wanted to share it here. It is the unmistakable hand of Jan, and in this is the love and respect she shared with her students. Her legacy continues with those of us who have chosen to live our lives as teachers. What was in this envelope? It keeps my memory of her, reminding me to value and trust in the unique hand each of us brings to what we make.

joy mouledoux

September 6, 2018

The world is a less beautiful place without you in it. You were the supportive, encouraging parent I never had, a mentor, a teacher, a friend. Every job I've had in design has been due to things you taught me. The classes I had with you at RISD 1996-2000 remain my fondest memories. I was incredibly fortunate to have been there & to have had you as an instructor. May you rest in peace beautiful lady.

Lisa Caracciolo Corrado

May 4, 2018

Jan, from the time spent in your classes at RISD ( 1986-1990) to this day, there is still not a year that passes that I do not think of you when I pick up a new pen or a pen I've used for years. I thank you for the gift of you and your hands. I will forever strive to make the marks with writing utensils that complete me, that fill me, that remind me of your beauty and talent. Thank you Jan Baker for all that you are, all that you shared and all that will continue to live on about you. I will never forget you. xo Lisa

Henry Michalenka

May 3, 2018

I had the pleasure of knowing Jan for many years in my capacity as Jan and Mark's trusted tax advisor. Her loss is deeply felt and I can say from the heart that I feel that I am a better person for having made her friendship all these years.

The world has lost a truly gifted person and kindred spirit.

Lois Blazer

May 2, 2018

Knowing Jan as a delightful young friend filled with the joy of designing, teaching, creating, inspiring, touching so many of us with her sweet magic. Unforgettable. Heartfelt condolences to the Baker family and to the entire RISD world, students, alumni, colleagues, who continue to cherish her.
May her memory be a blessing always.

Jeri Kim

May 2, 2018

Sending much love and condolences to Jan Baker's friends, family, and loved ones. We remember her visiting our father's shop on Thayer, a very friendly, familiar face on the East Side. We are so sorry for your loss.

Erin Hasley

May 1, 2018

Dear Jan,

We bring with us memories of your warmth, incredible talent, smile, and commitment to others. Your work was amazing, and your standards were high.

Some of my favorite times at RISD were spent in your classes: in the papermaking studio and working on artists’ books. It was what I wanted to be making. I am still involved with books, twenty years later.

My thoughts are with Mark and your family and friends, and the countless number of students you affected in such a positive way. I felt like you really “got” us. Thank you.


Ingrid Hernandez

May 1, 2018

I loved Jan Baker!!! She was an inspiration, a great mentor, and a sweet sweet lady. As my professor at RISD (1986-1990) , she made me fall in love with typography and bookmaking. She was also my neighbor during my sophomore year (we lived in the same beautiful big house on Benefit Street). My heart aches. Ingrid

Nicholas Felton

May 1, 2018

Dear Jan, I owe you so much.

Your teaching revealed the nuances of typography to me in ways that can not be unseen. If there is a kerning equivalent to the Rocky training montage, it was your Type 1 class. You forged much of what makes me the designer I am today. You also supported my impulse to visit Japan and allowed me to follow my instinct to just make things about the experience. These are some of my best memories from school.

In my own teaching I have tried to emulate your influence and assignments as much as possible. Those of us that studied with you know how rare and special you were and will miss you deeply.


Chris Bardt

May 1, 2018

What a loss. Jan was such a force of goodness and creativity here at RISD and among her friends and students. We will sorely miss you Jan. You inspired not only your students but the faculty and staff with your positive energy and limitless generosity. Who among us could repress a smile watching Jan in meetings, magically transforming notes and debates into a beautiful visual tapestry of lines, letters and words, making sense of what was being said; meeting minutes that one would want to frame and cherish. A few key figures carry the ethos of a community and at RISD Jan was the one that reminded us by her deeds and work how fortunate we are as artists and designers to be part of such a creative place.