Our Histories and Futures: Making New Print and Book Arts Work with/in Libraries

Photo of Tia Blassingame at Bodleian Libraries

Thursday, January 18, 2024
4:00 pm PST – 5:30 pm PST

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
2520 Cimarron Street

Stephen A. Kanter Lecture on California Fine Printing

Lecture by Tia Blassingame, Book/Print Artist/Scholar of Color Collective, Scripps College

Printmaker/book artist Tia Blassingame’s creative practice marries time in the reading room handling historical documents and time in the studio working with typefaces, ink, paper, paint, and dyes in order to develop artists’ books that help readers/viewers connect to history and make connections to the present and futures. Fresh from a stint as the Bodleian Bibliographical Press Printer-in-Residence at the Bodleian Libraries, Blassingame will discuss her experiences as a researcher, artist, and educator working in and with libraries while sharing the resulting artist’s book and print projects, including a new Book/Print Artist/Scholar of Color Collective commissioned work.

Proprietor of Primrose Press, Tia Blassingame is a book artist, printmaker, curator, and educator exploring the intersection of race, history, and perception. Utilizing printmaking and book arts techniques, she renders racially-charged images and histories for a nuanced discussion on issues of race and racism. Blassingame holds a BA in Architecture from Princeton University, MA in Book Arts from Corcoran College of Art + Design, and MFA in Printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design. She has been a teaching artist at the National Building Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Glen Echo, Pyramid Atlantic, and University of Maryland at College Park. Blassingame was a curatorial intern at Smithsonian Museum of American History and served as the Image Coordinator for Race & Ethnicity in Advertising–America: 1890-Today, an Advertising Education Foundation-Smithsonian Institution project. She has been an artist-in-residence at Yaddo, Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI), the Andy Warhol Preserve, the International Print Center New York (IPCNY), and MacDowell Colony. Her artist’s books and prints can be found in library and museum collections around the world including British Library, Library of Congress, Rijksmuseum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate Britain, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and State Library of Queensland.

In 2019, Blassingame founded the Book/Print Artist/Scholar of Color Collective, which has over 40 members, to bring Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) book artists, papermakers, paper engineers, letterpress printers, printmakers, and children’s book illustrators into conversation and collaboration with scholars of their cultures’ Book History and Print Culture, to build community and support systems.

Blassingame co-curated Paper Is People: Decolonizing Global Paper Cultures, an NEA and Center for Craft grants-awarded travelling exhibit, at Minnesota Center for Book Arts (April 14-August 12, 2023) and San Francisco Center for the Book (October 22 -December 22, 2023) with writer, book artist, and publisher Stephanie Sauer. In 2022 she co-curated the exhibit Troubling: Artists’ Books that enlighten and disrupt old ways of being and seeing  at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art with book artist/educator Ellen Sheffield.

Blassingame is an Associate Professor of Art at Scripps College, where she teaches Book Arts and Letterpress Printing, and serves as the Director of Scripps College Press.

IG: @primbookart and @bookprintcollective
Website: www.primrosepress.com and www.bookprintcollective.com

The lecture is free to attend with advance registration. It will be held in-person at the Clark Library and livestreamed on the Center’s YouTube Channel. No registration is required to watch the livestream. Registration will close on Wednesday, January 17 at 5:00 p.m. Seating is limited at the Clark Library; walk-in registrants are welcome as space permits.

Photo credit: Wojtek Lubowiecki, Bodleian Libraries