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FLEET LIBRARY | Research Guides

Rhode Island School of Design

Artists' Book Collection at RISD

Angela Lorenz Artist Book Process Archive

Angela S. Lorenz is a Brown Alumna who studied Art and Semiotics in the mid 1980’s.  While attending Brown, she also took many courses at RISD.   As a student, she started making artists’ books for class assignments, developing and utilizing her skills in printmaking, letterpress printing, painting, photography, papermaking, book arts, and writing.   After graduation Angela settled in Bologna, Italy where she has been living and making artist’s books ever since.   Angela Lorenz Artist’s Books

The RISD library started collecting Angela’s books in 1991 and in 2002, Angela graciously began donating her vast and unusual bookmaking process archive materials to us.  One of her RISD professors told her when making art to never throw anything out and she has taken that instruction to heart.  Her collection of process materials include research notes, sketches, printing plates, test prints, text drafts and edits, book mock-ups, test bindings, false starts, instructions to printers, extra printed pages, and numerous scraps and leftover pieces from the production of her books.  These materials show how the artist works to develop each book, from start to finish.  They provide extraordinary insight into the mind of the artist.

In the October 2006, after four years of planning, the library mounted an exhibition of these materials entitled Creating with Abandon: Process in the Artist’s Books of Angela Lorenz, with venues at the newly opened Fleet Library and at the John Hay Library at Brown University.  An exhibition catalog is available from Special Collections.


Ruth Laxson Artist Book Archive

Ruth Laxson, an Atlanta-based artist, studied printmaking, drawing, and painting at the Atlanta College of Art from 1958-1965.  For many years she was a printmaker, poet, and performance/installation artist before coming to artist’s books.  She founded her own imprint, Press 63+ at the age of 63.  Using a variety of techniques such as letterpress, etching, offset, collage and drawing, Laxson produces visually playful content-driven books.

Ruth’s visual poetry, use of symbols, rebuses, and inventive hieroglyphics, hand-drawn images, and shaped texts are rich in texture, pattern and rhythm.  Her pages seem to break all the rules of printing and layout.  In addition to her quirky visual poetry and playful use of text and image, she is also known for her highly relevant social and political commentaries.

During her career Ruth has produced 30 artist’s books and the RISD Library has over 25 of these books in its Artists’ Books Collection.  In 2004 Ruth donated her bookmaking process archives to the library.  This collection is comprised of research notes, preliminary sketches, text edits, camera-ready pages, test prints, extra printed pages and mock-ups for these books.

The Fleet Library at RISD mounted an exhibition of Ruth’s books and materials from her Archive entitled IT IS UP TO US IF WE GO ON AS IS: Ruth Laxson’s Persistent Muse, May 9-July 3, 2008.  Copies of the accompanying exhibition catalog are available in Special Collections.