Sarah Smith fell in love with the grids of Tschichold and the classic margins of medieval manuscripts, which led to her interest in lead type and paper. She interned at Center for Book Arts and was proud to learn from Aurora De Armen di, Ana Cordeiro, Yukari Hayashida, and Celine Lombardi. She also worked at Pace Ink, Harlan & Weaver, and LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies.
She learned hard work growing up on a sheep ranch, and her interest in outdoor, physical labor as well as gendered spaces influences her work today. Smith’s most recent book, Her Place, deals with the frustration and desire she feels for spaces where masculine labor is praised, and female-bodied people are made to feel unwelcome. “My recent work deals with inclusive versus exclusive spaces,” she says. “The traditional codex form of a book is meant to include people in their contents. The books I’ve been making take that inclusive codex form, but are damaged or altered in a way so as to shut the user out. Since we have all been in the physical space of a book, the exclusion from it feels personal.” Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Lower East Side Printshop and Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries.
A lot of Smith’s time goes into helping other artists create their work, and she currently works at Small Editions and Harlan & Weaver, collaborating with artists to create editions. After many years of editioning other artists’ books, she has come full circle, focusing more on her own work and teaching bookbinding.