2014 Book Arts Award Winners

Collins Library Award

Chosen by Katie Henningsen, Hilary Robbeloth, Peggy Burge, and Julie Christoph.

The recipient of the 2014 Collins Library Award is Laura Russell for her work Anything Helps.

russell for blog and press releaseThe Collins Library Award was granted based on a combination of factors including, but not limited to, originality, creativity, content integration, unity of form, craftsmanship, reader/viewer engagement and conceptual strength.

Artist Statement: "Anything Helps is a limited edition artist book surveying the hand-scrawled cardboard signs used by the panhandlers and Homeless people on street corners everywhere.  These folks can be found on city intersections and highway off ramps in cities large and small across the county.  It is so very easy to keep driving and avert our eyes as we pass by.  Over the last three years I have been collecting these signs, some purchased for $5, some found.  Many of the signs are works of art-clever, eye-catching words and illustrations designed to garner our sympathy and our coins as we speed by at 35 mph." - Laura Russell

About the Jurors

Katie Henningsen is the Archivist and Digital Collections Coordinator at Collins Library.

Hilary Robbeloth is a Metadata Librarian at Collins Library.

Peggy Burge is the Humanities Librarian and Coordinator of Information Literacy at Collins Library.

Julie Christoph is a Professor of English and the Director for the Center for Writing, Learning, and Teaching at the University of Puget Sound.

Comments from the Jurors

"Anything Helps raises important questions about social inequality, about who in our society has the authority to speak, and about personal responsibility and judgment.  This book is artistically complex, innovative, and speaks to a compelling yet often ignored social problem.  Given the university’s commitment to the homelessness project through the Civic Scholarship Initiative, we envision Anything Helps engaging students in courses from multiple disciplines, including Communication Studies, English, Psychology, History, Sociology and Anthropology, Art, and Gender Studies."


Curators’ Choice Award

Chosen by Patricia Chupa, Deborah Greenwood, An Gates, and Elizabeth Walsh

The recipient of the 2014 Curators' Choice Award is Mari Gower for her work An Alchemist’s Lunch Box.

gower for blog and press releaseThe Curators' Choice Award was granted based on a combination of factors including, but not limited to, originality, creativity, content integration, unity of form, craftsmanship, reader/viewer engagement and conceptual strength.

Artist Statement: "I see many parallels between scientists who research GMO crops today and medieval alchemists.  To explore these parallels I decided to create a lunchbox for an imaginary alchemist.  The accordion book combines my interpretations of ancient alchemical symbols and processes with images and information about the most common current GMO crops; including quotes from experts (both pro and con) on the GMO debate.  The tulip fold book is a riff on old botanic illustrations with a Frankensteinian twist.  The pamphlet book contains my poems, using the four alchemical elements as a starting point." - Mari Gower

 Comments from the Curatorial Team

"The Curatorial Team feels that Mari Gower’s work beautifully articulates her approach to this piece; as an artist - in the conceptual strength, technical excellence, and strong design skill; and as a scholar - in the creativity and depth of field she imparts on the subject matter of her piece. She applies a duality of theme (the alchemical and the mundane scientific), a duality of philosophy (alchemical science as an echo of the artificial engineering of GMO technology) and a duality of engagement (playful vs. serious) that brings the viewer to her subject matter by speaking to the fanciful and imaginative person within, in order to provide concrete information about which she cares deeply."

About the Curators

Patricia Chupa is a book artist from Olympia, WA, whose work showcases a range of artistic and literary pursuits, generated from her interest in book arts, letterpress printing, writing, book binding, proofreading, beta reading, copy editing, indexing, and leading workshops.

Deborah Greenwood is a collage and book artist from Tacoma, WA.  She studied art at the Columbus College of Art and Design and earned a doctorate in Mythology and Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute.  Interest in these areas fuel her visual explorations in collage-based books.  Her books are collected by university libraries and art schools.

An Gates is a book artist from Tacoma. She has a special fascination with interactive book structures and explores subjects from nature, science, and mathematics.

Elizabeth Walsh, a calligrapher, graphic artist, and instructor from Olympia, WA, has an avid interest calligraphy, paper art and envelope art for over 30 years. She has served on the board of the international calligraphy conferences, judged calligraphy at state and county fairs and continues to enrich her retired life with travel, photography and art workshops.


Award for Excellence

Chosen by Margaret Bullock

The recipient of the 2014 Award for Excellence is Lucia Harrison for her work Old Growth.

photo credit: Lucia HarrisonArtist Statement: "When standing in an old growth forest, you feel a false sense of stability.  Beneath your feet are layers of moss, hemlock and cedar needles, lichen cones, fern fronds, and elk droppings.  Interpreting the text of a soil profile reveals layers of old growth forests altered by geologic forces: fire, flood, volcanic eruption and lahar.  Even the bedrock lies upon shifting tectonic plates." - Lucia Harrison

Comments from the Juror

"I am honored to have been asked to choose one of the awards for this exhibition and thoroughly enjoyed the chance to look closely at the work of so many talented artists. Congratulations to you all on a beautiful exhibition. I chose Lucia Harrison’s work “Old Growth” because I feel it meets all the criteria for the award. The concept is clever, clearly communicated, and beautifully executed—both technically and artistically. I also feel it exemplifies the “fully hand crafted object”--a key characteristic of the best artist books—where every element has been created or thoughtfully modified and integrated by the artist."

About the Juror

Margaret Bullock is the Curator of Collections and Special Exhibitions at Tacoma Art Museum, Washington. She has a BA in Art History and English Literature from the University of Colorado, an MA in Art History from the University of Oregon, and an MA in Anthropology from Washington State University. Prior to joining the Tacoma Art Museum in 2007, she was curator at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos, New Mexico, Associate Curator of American Art at the Portland Art Museum, Oregon and a research fellow at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Alabama. She has curated exhibitions and written articles and books on American and European fine and decorative arts. Her specialty is late 19th and early 20th century American art with a particular focus on the art of the Pacific Northwest.


About the Book Awards

Each award recipient was given a handcrafted book of achievement, created by curatorial team members Pat Chupa, Deborah Greenwood, and Lucia Harrison.


It is a bit of serendipity that each of the artists who volunteered to make book award chose to work with the symbol of the laurel, as this was not agreed upon in advance.  The motivation behind giving the award recipients a handcrafted book was for the organization to honor them with something from the heart that they would greatly value.

Beginning in ancient times, Greece being most notable, the laurel has been equated with excellence and achievement.  The circular wreath constructed of the interlocking branches of the aromatic bay leaf was a sweet gift indeed.

The Latin expression for laurel is laurus nobili:  laurus translates as triumph, success, and victory and nobilis as nobility and regal status.  Together these two definitions put an accent on “high honor.”  Further, the laurel is linked with the Latin word plaus, signifying “praise:” the intention of the award process.  It must have seemed a natural fit for all three makers of the gifts.