About Artists’ Books

Artists’ books are their own medium. They can have a traditional book structure with a cover and sequential pages, or they can be sculptural objects, or elaborately folded constructions. Whatever their form, the books published by WSW are created by artists, hand printed in limited edition, and are thoroughly engaging. This type of work presents artists with a way of developing aesthetic ideas, telling personal stories, or making political or social commentary.

An early proponent of the medium, WSW has produced over 200 limited edition artists’ books, and is the largest publisher in North America. Our books are in collections world-wide, including nine institutions that are repositories for all our publications: Indiana University (Bloomington), Rochester Institute of TechnologyUniversity of DelawareVassar CollegeVirginia Commonwealth UniversityYale UniversityUniversity of MichiganThe Library of Congress, and Bucknell University.

WSW’s artists’ books—chosen through an open, international juried competition—reflect a wide range of subject matter, cultural diversity, and aesthetic perspectives of the artists who come to work in our studios. Our books are characterized by the combination of medias available at WSW, and may incorporate handmade paper, letterpress, silkscreen, photography, intaglio, or ceramics.

Artists’ books do not easily fit into any one category. An open selection process continues to be the most vital element in implementing our book arts grants. This democratic process has resulted in a wonderful and varied collection, because all submissions are considered, and the selection is made by a rotating jury of practicing book artists. The jury changes annually, and always includes at least one artist who has previously been awarded a residency with WSW.

Hand, Voice, & Vision Exhibition

Hand, Voice, & Vision: Artists’ Books from Women’s Studio Workshop features artists’ books by thirty-six artists published over thirty years by Women’s Studio Workshop. Curated by Kathleen Walkup, Director of the Book Arts Program at Mills College, the exhibition is a comprehensive retrospective featuring some of the most influential contemporary book artists in America. It opened at the Grolier Club in New York and traveled to University of Southern MaineSmith CollegeVassar CollegeCarleton College, and Scripps College, among others.

The forty works in Hand, Voice, & Vision celebrate three facets that characterize the artist’s book program at Women’s Studio Workshop: the handmade mark of the book-maker, the unique voices and viewpoints of a broad and diverse range of artists, and the visionary nature of artwork that forges new directions in the medium of book arts. Hear more about the exhibition in a short video featuring curator Kathleen Walkup.

A comprehensive, fully illustrated catalog accompanies the exhibition and makes a great supplementary teaching material for any book arts curriculum. It contains essays by WSW alumnae Susan Mills, Clarissa Sligh, and Emily Speed; Deirdre Lawrence, art librarian at the Brooklyn Museum; Patricia Phillips, Dean of Graduate Studies at Rhode Island School of Design; Jae Rossman, Special Collections curator at Yale; Erica Van Horn, independent artist; Mary-Kay Lombino, Curator at Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College; Susan Viguers, Director of the MFA of Arts Program at the University of the Arts; Dawn McCusker, Associate Professor of Graphic Design at James Madison University; Ron Patkus, Head of Special Collections and Associate Professor of History at Vassar College; Sylvia Turchyn, Director of Cataloguing at Indiana University in Bloomington; Steven Andersen, independent writer and artist; and Kathy Walkup, the exhibition curator.

The catalog is 120 pages, fully illustrated, 11″ x 7.5″  $35, shipping included. Order online through PayPal, or call (845) 658-9133.