Hand, Voice, & Vision: Artists’ Books from Women’s Studio Workshop

Judy Harvey Sahak

This traveling exhibition features 40 artists’ books from 36 influential, contemporary book artists, published between 1979 and 2009 by Women’s Studio Workshop. Additionally, a broader view of the more than 200 works completed during that period at the WSW is provided by a companion display of books held by the Ella Strong Denison Library that were not included in the original selection.

The featured books celebrate three facets that characterize the artists’ book program at the WSW: the hand-made 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. These books reflect a wide range of subject matter, cultural diversity, and aesthetic perspectives. Some recurring themes in WSW books are personal and cultural narrative, self-image issues, and political observations. These artists’ books reflect the combination of media available at WSW and may incorporate handmade paper, letterpress, silkscreen, photography, intaglio, or ceramics.

Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York is an artist’s workspace founded in 1974 as an alternative space in which artists could both create new work and share skills and ideas. The exhibition was curated by Kathleen Walkup, Professor of Book Art at Mills College and has been shown at the Grolier Club, Vassar College and Carleton College.