The Artists' Book Collection at SCAD Jen Library is a teaching collection. The library offers class visits, workshops, and individual appointments to engage with our current holdings of over 400 artists' books. Students, faculty, and the public can make appointments to visit the collection, gain inspiration for their own creative projects, and engage in hands on object-based research utilizing unique collections.
Finding Artists' Books at SCAD Jen Library
Artists books are housed and handled in Special Collections on the 3rd floor in room 304. How do I see artists' books from Special Collections?
Artists' books encompass a wide range of processes and materials and can be hard to define. Most simply, artists' books are works of art that are in book form or inspired by the book. Artists' books may or may not have text; some artists' books have images, but not all do. As a fine art, artists' books are the vision and creation of an artist. There are exceptions to most limitations one could apply to the medium. Most importantly, artists' books are interactive; they are intended to be read and handled by an individual. That makes them unique among many other fine arts in collections, which viewers are prohibited from touching. A core motivation of artists who turned to book making in the 1960s was to remove their work from the restrictive and elitist environments of museums and galleries. They wanted to make art more accessible and democratic by producing multiples and expanding the reach of their artwork to untapped audiences.
The range of techniques and processes used to create artists' books is widely varied. The collection holds examples of techniques used from the 1950s through present day include: xerography, fine press etching, letterpress, sewn bindings, digital printing, and screen print.
Artists' Book Structures
Artists' books utilize a wide range of structures from the traditional codex to unbound pages, accordion folds to flag books. Below is an examples of some a more common fold.
Photo: ESL 560 Student Showcase, Norris Hall 2018
Resources for Instructors
Artists' Book Activity
Sensory engagement with artists' books encourages students to utilize critical thinking skills to explore artists intent. Faculty members are encouraged to use or adapt the following activity to meet course goals and objectives.
Creative Works Assignment
Primary sources offer inspiration for students to design something new! Tailor the creative work assignment for student instruction in the following areas of study: English, Sequential Art, Museum Studies.