This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Image credit: Alphabet Tricks, by Diane Jacobs (2000)

Renowned Women’s Studio Workshop Artists’-Books Collection Archive is Established at Vassar

The Archives and Special Collections at the Vassar libraries now holds a collection of artists’ books produced by the nonprofit Women’s Studio Workshop (WSW), which since 1979 has grown to become the largest publisher in the country of these hand-printed and hand-bound works. The WSW is based in nearby Rosendale, New York.

While there is no fixed definition of an artist’s book, it is always a work of art in itself, created for its own sake. The objects incorporate a wide range of media, which at the WSW may include hand-drawn, sewn, and painted images, handmade paper, letterpress, silkscreen, photography, intaglio, and ceramics. Artists have produced 160 of these books with the WSW, through annually juried international competitions.

The workshop’s first shipment of 22 artists’ books was recently made to Special Collections, which houses all of the college’s extensive rare book holdings, including a number of private press and artists’ books. Vassar will acquire nearly the entire existing body of the publisher’s books over the next five years, and simultaneously Special Collections will add the new books WSW produces each year.

Over the past eight years, the WSW has also established repositories for its artists’ books at Yale University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Indiana University, the University of Delaware, and the Rochester Institute of Technology.

February 2008

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