At the age of 3, I was one of the youngest library cardholders in our small town. In the children’s library I was permitted to wander and did so with delight. One day I discovered a shelf of books that fit my hands perfectly. I became aware of the book size and shape and felt satisfaction in holding it. It felt good. One by one, I checked out all the Beatrix Potter books in the library. It is a powerful first memory of books connecting with my hands.
After completing a BFA in Printmaking at West Viriginia University I moved to Chicago. On one of my accustomed gallery visits, I encountered an expectional display of printed work including a few artist books off to one corner of the gallery. I began thinking about prints and books, about taking prints off the wall, out from under glass and making them accessible in this new but familiar object; the Artists’ Book. I was electrified.
I received an MFA in Printmaking from Cranbrook Academy of Art and moved to WNC to be Director of Education for the Hickory Museum of Art. Working closely with an exhibition of 40+ artists’ books celebrating 20 years of the Women’s Studio Workshop, I experienced a pivital moment in my creative life. That exhibition had a potent effect on me and I turned to pursing letterpress printing, bookbinding and papermaking in earnest.
In 2004, starting with two printing presses and a lease on 2400 sq ft of raw warehouse space, Asheville BookWorks was born. It is home to a vibrant book arts community where learning and discourse is fostered through classes, exhibits, artists-in-residence, sharing in common an intense appreciation of print, book arts and creativity.