Generative Measures: Research & Writing for Artist Books, Online Class

Join this three-session workshop with artist and instructor Ellen Sheffield to research and develop writing for your artist book.

This workshops is three sessions long:

Tuesday, November 10, 6-8pm EDT

Thursday, November 12, 6-8pm EDT

Friday, November 13, 6-8pm EDT

This workshop will focus on non-traditional approaches to developing original content for artist’s books. A wide range of research tools will first be demonstrated to jump start ideas for projects. From these research seeds participants will respond to writing prompts and engage in experimental creative writing techniques to grow these ideas into prototypes for artist’s books. Processes will be taught for getting text onto the pages of simple folded book structures including alternative mark making, transfers, rub-on type, stencils, rubber stamps and pressure printing. This workshop is for visual artists who want to expand their writing skills and for writers who want to explore the artist book as a time-based medium and go beyond their usual writing practice.

There are 12 spots open in this workshop.

If you cannot comfortably pay tuition but are interested in taking this class, please consider filling out our financial assistance application here. This application should be completed three weeks before the workshop’s start date.

Required materials:

– a dozen 3″x 5″ notecards

– pen or pencil

– 6 to 8 sheets of 8.5″ x 11″ paper or a sketchbook w/ at least 8.5″ x 11″ size pages or larger

– two 11″ x17″ sheets of paper (can be copy paper)

– scissors or x-acto knife

– vintage and contemporary magazines for collage


– sheet of carbon paper

– alphabet rubber stamps and ink pad

– masking tape

About the Instructor:

Ellen Sheffield’s works on paper and artist’s books use text and image intersections to create unexpected readings. Her interest in the juxtaposition of visual language: materials; design; mark-making; and printing processes, with written language: essays: poetry; and hybrid writing, continues to motivate art/word collaborations with Lewis Hyde, Fanny Howe, and Andrew Grace among others. Recently Ellen’s work explores themes of race and class in her rural community informed by research of local African-American history by her husband, Ric Sheffield, Kenyon College Professor of Sociology. Ellen’s studio, Unit IV Arts,

is located in Gambier, OH, where she teaches in Kenyon’s Art Department. Her artist’s books have been collected by the Beinecke Library, Yale Collection of American Literature at Yale University, by the Ella Strong Denison Library at Scripps College and by many others.

All images courtesy of the instructor.

About the Center for Book Arts:

The Center for Book Arts promotes active explorations of both contemporary and traditional artistic practices related to the book as an art object. The Center seeks to facilitate communication between the book arts community and the larger spheres of contemporary visual and literary arts, while being a model organization locally, nationally, and internationally within the field. We achieve this through exhibitions, classes, public programming, literary presentations, opportunities for artists and writers, publications, and collecting.