Eco-Activism and the Artists’ Book

“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 on Tuesday nights, from March 5–March 19 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm ET.

Complete schedule: 

  • Tuesday, March 5, 6:00–8:00pm
  • Tuesday, March 12, 6:00–8:00pm
  • Tuesday, March 19, 6:00–8:00pm

Please Note: Registration for this workshop closes on Tuesday, February 27, 2024 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)
  • 1 sheet of 18″ x 24″ 65 lb paper


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

About Ellen Sheffield:

Ellen Sheffield is a visual artist, poet and teacher based in Gambier, Ohio and Point Richmond, California. Her works on paper and artist’s books play with image and text intersections to create unexpected readings. Collaborations with poets, experiments with found text and working with visual scores are some of the ways she engages with themes of race, place, memory and language perception. She is an Emeriti Instructor of Art having taught Book Arts and related courses at Kenyon College’s Art Department and she continues to teach virtual workshops for arts centers around the country. Her artist’s books have been collected by the Beinecke Library Yale University, Scripps College, Rhode Island School of Design, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and 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 February 27, 2024 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.

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