Eco-Activism and the Artist Book 2022

“Collection Boxes” (closed) artist Ellen Sheffield
"Collection Boxes" (closed) artist Ellen Sheffield
"Collection Boxes" (open) Ellen Sheffield

Event Info

This three-day, virtual workshop takes place on Zoom, Tuesday through Thursday, September 6–8 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET.

Complete schedule: 

  • Tuesday, September 6, 6:00–8:00
  • Wednesday, September 7, 6:00–8:00
  • Thursday, September 8, 6:00–8:00

Please Note: Registration for this workshop closes on Tuesday, August 30, at 11:59pm. 

About the Workshop:

This virtual class at Center for Book Arts is taught by instructor Ellen Sheffield.

We are living in the age of rapidly unfolding climate disasters – can the artist’s book function as a tool for community activism? In this workshop participants will explore the use of the artist’s book as a means for presenting Code Red environmental issues such global warming, pollution, deforestation and resource depletion among other pressing concerns. This is a content creating workshop designed to encourage the use of our voices as artists and writers to educate about and advocate for environmental issues.


The historical lineage of activist artist books and examples of approaches artists have used in creating books with ecological justice themes will be presented. Participants will be asked to identify an issue in their local communities to investigate as potential content for a book project. Research, writing and image-making prompts and assignments will be given with the goal of creating a mock-up or prototype for a future individual or collaborative book project.


Required Materials:

  • a dozen 3″x 5″ notecards
  • writing and drawing tools
  • 8.5″ x 11″ 20lb paper/sketchbook paper (6 pieces)
  • 18” x 24” 65lb paper (2 pieces)
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • double sided tape
  • collage materials (vintage magazine photos/book pages, scrap papers, ephemera)


  • no prerequisites but helpful to have made artists books, zines or comics before

About Ellen Sheffield:

Ellen Sheffield’s works on paper and artist’s books combine text and image in unexpected ways. Her interest in juxtaposing visual techniques—materials, design, mark-making, and printing processes—with written language—essays, poetry, and hybrid writing—drives Sheffield’s creative practice. Her own writings have explored challenging themes of race and class in rural Ohio and her recent artist book projects chronicle family dynamics and wounded places.

Sheffield recently finished a 32 year career at Kenyon College, starting as director Kenyon’s Olin Art Gallery, moving to coordinator of summer writing programs for the literary journal, The Kenyon Review, and lastly teaching Book Arts courses for 14 years in Kenyon’s Art Department. Her studio Unit IV Arts is the site of collaborations with other artists, writers and musicians, including Lewis Hyde, Fanny Howe, and Andrew Grace. Her artist’s books have been collected by the Beinecke Library, Yale Collection of American Literature, the Ella Strong Denison Library at Scripps College, and many others.

All images courtesy of the instructor. 

Class size is limited to ensure an optimal participant to Instructor ratio. Register now before spots fill up! Registration for this workshop closes on August 30 at 11:59pm. If you cannot comfortably pay tuition but are interested in taking this class, please consider filling out our financial assistance application here. We will notify you of your scholarship status before the start date of the class.

Registration is closed. Return to all Classes.

Your cart is empty.