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Special Collections at the Jen Library, SCAD-Savannah: Artists' Books

Welcome!

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 

‚ÄčArtists books are housed and handled in Special Collections on the 3rd floor in room 304. How do I see artists' books from Special Collections?

  • Make an appointment with the Special Collections Librarian at least one a day ahead of when you'd like to visit. It is helpful to share any details about your project, or if there's anything particular you'd like to see, either by artist, title, type of structure or technique, or subject matter.  Email specialcollections@scad.edu  
  • Schedule a class visit to see artists' books in the library. Whether you are Motion Media, Foundations, English, Photography, Illustration, Fashion, we have inspiration for your next assignment. Faculty are encouraged to request instruction sessions at least two weeks in advance, in order to maximize staff planning, and space availability. To schedule a Special Collections Instruction session please complete the online instruction request form.

Artists' Books

Dawn Peterson, Book sconce [art original]. Publisher Information [Tybee Island, Georgia] : [Blue Pearl], 2017.

Dawn Peterson, Book sconce [art original]. Publisher Information [Tybee Island, Georgia] : [Blue Pearl], 2017.

Carolyn Trant. My mackerel lover. [Lewes, Sussex] : Parvenu Press, c2004.

Carolyn Trant. My mackerel lover. [Lewes, Sussex] : Parvenu Press, c2004.

Dawn Peterson, A lifetime of dont's [art original]. Publisher Information [Tybee Island, Georgia] : [Blue Pearl], 2017.

What are Artists' Books

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.

Processes and Techniques

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. 

 

How-to Books

Artists' Book Instruction

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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.

Artists' Book Catalogs