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Artists' Books

Artist books are books created as original works of art. Mason Libraries own a growing number of artist books in Special Collections.

Check out the Catalog

Local & Regional Artists

Some items in the collection are by local artists from the D.C. metro area and Virginia.

Helga, Jennifer, Willa, Julee, Rachel : five handmade books by Judy Byron from from the series Where I Live. (GT1720 .B974 2007, Special Collections); Byron currently lives in Washington, D.C.

From Colophon:

"Each of these books was inspired by my drawing series, Where I live : exploring identity through bodies and clothes. Referencing childhood reveries with paper dolls, sewing cards, and things homemade, each is fabricated using handmade paper, sewing machine stitching, letterpress and inkjet printing, with paper cutouts ... in an edition of 35 signed by the artist"

"Dieu Donne Papermill produced the 100% cotton handmade papers. Pyramid Atlantic Center for Book Arts, Val Lucas produced the letterpress nameplates. Capella Book Arts at Pyramid Atlantic produced the sleeves and box. MAC Cosmetics, with it[s] established reputation for serving women of all colors, were used to create the color palette"


Hesitant Ruin by Virginia Arts of the Book Center (N7433.3 .H47 2007, Special Collections)

From the VABC website: A collaborative bound book created by the artists of the Virginia Arts of the Book Center, Charlottesville, 2007. All images were collected on the theme of time, decay, or ruin. The title and direction were supplied by randomized pairings of of adjectives and nouns… “Hesitant Ruin” was selected and parameters for the collection were set. A limited edition of 40 copies.



Asian American ? Project by Irene Chan (N7433.4.C415 .A85 2009, Fenwick Special Collections)

Contains 35 loose and unnumbered cards, much like business cards. Print media on paper, with press name Ch’An punched out. Housed in a red, white, and blue paper case with slip-in envelope closure. From the artis

"Business cards with text that respond to comments and questions that strangers ask Asian Americans. Every week since age 12, I am asked one to ten of the same questions. Since these questions and comments are common to other Asian Americans as well, I created a set of business cards to flash or hand out for the appropriate moment."

George Mason University Faculty and Graduate Students

Scieran by Helen Frederick, School of Art (N7433.4.F73 S35 2000, Fenwick Special Collections)

"This small book was conceived while walking the Jemez mountains of New Mexico and the shores of the Greek Isoand of Skopelos. 'Leave questions behind' is a wish for rest and restoration as we leave one century and begin walking the journey of the next 1000 years. Excerpts are adapted from the Mahabarata. -- Colophon. 


Evan Cantwell

Credit: Evan Cantwell

Pith and Vinegar by Roger Lathbury, English Department (PS3612.A792 P5 2001, Special Collections)

Privately printed in an edition of 100.




Dirtylaundry : a clothesline of little essays on family from a lady's perspective by Ceci Cole McInturff, MFA in School of Art (N7433.4.M356 D57 2011, Special Collections)

Dirty laundry'is a sculptural box containing little essays on aspects of lives lived, feelings felt and things attempted in contemporary family life. Ultimately, there is no dirty laundry, just realities needing to be adjusted to. Karmically, it all comes out in the wash." -- Ceci Cole McInturff. 

Volume 1 contains photos of some of the items inside the tower and an account of the thoughts that go through the author's mind while folding laundry.

Volume 2 is divided into nine sections with the running title "Lessons for the children".

The tower is white and is made of cast resin, book board, paper and wood. It has two doors that open at the bottom and two small windows near the top of the tower. The two books are kept behind one of the doors. A braid made from white string hangs from one of the windows. The tower has a removable roof that is topped by a white apple from which a slice is missing.

Several pieces of clothing - a lace apron, a white handkerchief, a bra, lace women's underwear, three white gloves, a white baby shoe and half a woman's high heeled white shoe - are stored inside the tower. Black and white images and text cover some of the fabric. The missing slice of the apple from the roof of the tower is bright red and is stored among the shoes and the pieces of clothing. 

"Mixed media with found and altered artifacts; acetone- and heat-transferred text and images; original essays and images in hand-bound volumes behind front door; other excerpts from 'Quotable women' (1989), Running Press, Philadelphia, Pa." -- from Colophon inside lady's shoe. 

Library Fellows from the National Museum of Women in the Arts

The National Museum of Women in the Arts supports the creation of limited edition artists' books through its Library Fellows Program.

Quercus Psalter by Sue Ann Robinson (N7433.4.R63 Q47 1994, Special Collections)

Recipient of the Library Fellows prize from the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Inspired by stories about oak trees. Bookwork opens out, accordion fashion, to represent a tranquil oak grove.

Wild Cranes by Jo Going (N7433.4.G63 W5 1997, Fenwick Special Collections)

Won Library Fellows competition with a proposal for a book of poetry and art in 1997. Her book celebrates the majesty of the Alaskan landscape (her home state) and contemplates the relationship between humans and the land as spiritual renewal.


Thoughts on Color, Color of Thoughts by Beth Weiss (N7433.4.W45 T46 2006, Fenwick Special Collections)

Won the 2006 Library Fellows Award. This 20-page book features quotations from artists that were screen printed on handmade paper from the Philippines. Its intention is to honor the creative genius behind a artist's work.