Third Fridays – a decade of communion and critique

3 images - group show

Exhibition dates: April 5 – May 26, 2018

OPENING RECEPTION: APRIL 5, 2018 from 5:30 – 7:30pm


In the beginning there was … a loose group of artists who committed to meet regularly with the general goals of review, critique, encouragement, and support. These friends make art – with fiber, papier maché, clay, on paper, bound into small editions or unique artist books taking on everything from personal challenges to global concerns. Inspired by each other and the world around them no material is safe from their employ, no topic is off limits.

Colloquially called the Crit Group – these creative folk have been meeting on the third Friday of each month since 2007. Each session they share new ideas, creative struggles, work in progress, or finished pieces. The format is holistic and democratic: everyone talks, offering thoughts, impressions, suggestions, and references, guiding each other through the many stages of developing work. Naturally, over the years, unbreakable bonds of camaraderie have formed that serve to strengthen their original commitment.

Join us to honor this group of talented folks who call the Asheville area home. You may recognize their work or discover new art to explore. You may recognize their work and feel at home. All of these artists are our neighbors; they generate creative waves throughout this community. The exhibit will include new works, work in progress, as well as pieces from the archives. The exhibition also shares personal statements and bios for each artist.

They are: Lisa Blackburn, Clara Boza, Margaret Couch Cogswell, Laurie Corral, Gwen Diehn, Michelle Francis, Heather Allen Hietala, and Laura Ladendorf

Drawing Ten Thousand Things

local seed pods
Drawings from around the farm nearby and family trip.

Drawings from around the farm nearby and family trip.

Gwen Diehn, a lifelong artist and educator, decided in mid-2013 to document her drawings and take on the challenge of drawing ten thousand things. Initially inspired by the statement – “You cannot learn to draw until you have drawn the ten thousand things.” – Diehn considered this a tangent on her own continuous path of drawing and learning. The term Ten Thousand Things refers to the countless manifestations of the Universal (or Tao or energy or God or whatever term one uses for the mysterious animating force of the universe).

Diehn launched this new phase with typical enthusiasm – heading out on her favorite paths and tuning in to everyday things with fresh eyes. On that June afternoon she drew one of the first day lillies of the season, a mulch pile in the old apple orchard, a bird on a wire, and caught the large orange and white tail of a fox bounding through the woods—the first fox she had ever seen on her local trail – taking the fox sighting as a good omen.

Diehn found the rhythm of making between seven and ten drawings a day quite pleasurable – the journals filled up with scenes and illuminated maps; travel sketches as well as the faces or accessories of friends and family at meetings and events; the evolving grandchildren and changes of seasons were all recorded. When her sketchbook with around a hundred drawings in it was stolen along with her bag in Barcelona she estimated the number of stolen drawings and jotted it down in the sequence. Relaxing into the connectedness and fascination of everything, she often researched things she’d never seen before—the cleistogamous marriage of violets, the language of venery, caput mortuum in early spring, the elegance and economy of seeds and nuts. Continuing day after day, line by line, step by step, without looking back or ahead for four years until on a sunny morning in June, exactly four years after starting the project, Diehn spotted a hen scratching in the dust and stopped to draw her dancing motion, and wrote the number 10,000.

The entire sequence is documented online at Diehn’s blog –

Reproductions of many drawings will be on view as well as all of the journals employed throughout Ms Diehn’s four years of numerically tracking her sketching practice. There will be a talk/presentation by the artist. An exhibition catalog will be available for sale at the opening.

Drawing Ten Thousand Things - cover

Exhibition Catalog

On March 2 – 4, 2018 Ms Diehn will teach a class at Asheville BookWorks – Armchair Travel Sketching: Building a Practice. The class will build a sketchbook to facilitate exploration and learn how to use it in a sustainable practice of looking, seeing, and noting/sketching.


Gwen Diehn has exhibited her artwork internationally and worked in many private and public collections, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington. She has taught college art as well as workshops for many years and is the author of several other Lark books, including The Decorated Page, The Decorated Journal, and The Complete Decorated Journal. Her Live & Learn: Real Life Journals (Lark) was listed as one of the top ten crafts books of 2010 by Booklist. Gwen lives in Swanannoa, NC.  Follow Ms Diehn’s ongoing adventures at:

PICTURING THIS: Prints and books by Karen Kunc

Infrastructure by Karen Kunc
LandEscape by Karen Kunc
Garden of Disaster by Karen Kunc
Essence of Abydos by Karen Kunc
Aqua Alta by Karen Kunc
Incessant White Noise by Karen Kunc
Infrastructure by Karen Kunc
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LandEscape by Karen Kunc

Picturing This: Prints and Books by Karen Kunc opens on November 4

opening reception: November 4, 2017 from 5:30 – 7:30pm

Prints and artist books by Karen Kunc, will be on view in the gallery. There will be a talk/presentation by the artist. BookWorks Gallery exhibitions are free and open to the public.
exhibition dates: November 4, 2017 through January 20, 2018
Artist Karen Kunc explores inventive color abstractions of the natural and human-fashioned world in her prints and artist books, creating ideas of ‘strange beauty’. She is an advocate for the “experiential nature” of artist’s books – that one experiences the work on many sensual and spatial levels.

Ms Kunc finds artist books to be a “fertile format”. Among the many reasons Ms Kunc makes books is to recognize the tactile qualities of work made for the hand, the control of pacing and the “reading/viewing” as an experience, an interest in story-telling, and strong, important historical and cultural associations.
In making “book objects” she engages her love of materials – an awareness of paper, ink, proportion, color, relationships, finish, detail, all parts to the whole, with evidence of craftsmanship. Her books become an aesthetic object, even a beautiful one, as a carrier of important ideas.
Her prints and books often deal with her own “print” issues – reading and perception questions – how one is aware of subtle printed elements, how one reads on multiple dimensional printed levels, how the eye moves through the works into designed entrances and exits, where one gets entwined and held, and where a simple ending forms. The experience of making and thinking is what influences her visual instinct and interconnections, which results in the works themselves.

Artist Bio – Karen Kunc is a Cather Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Awards include Fulbright Scholar Awards to Finland and Bangladesh, two NEA/MAAA awards, the 2007 SGCI Printmaker Emeritus Award. Her works have been shown in exhibitions nationally and internationally and are held in numerous collections: MOMA; Library of Congress; Milwaukee Art Museum; Haas Arts Library Yale University; Stanford University; Jyväskylä Art Museum, Finland; Portland Art Museum OR. She has taught workshops around the world, in Egypt, Italy, Finland, Bangladesh, Poland, Japan, France, Mexico, Iceland, Spain; and she has lectured as a visiting artist to over 200 institutions.   Kunc has recently launched Constellation Studios in Lincoln, Nebraska, as a creative destination for artist residencies, collaborations and workshops in print, paper, book.

GRAIN – prints by Asheville Printmakers

Relief print by Chris Whiteman

Relief print by Chris Whiteman

art print

Grain by Clay Harmon

Exhibition Dates: September 9 through November 1, 2017

GRAIN is an exhibition of prints by members of Asheville Printmakers. The prints showcase a variety of print processes; all printed on 12 x 12″ paper. Participating artists explored and interpreted GRAIN in its many forms – of wood or paper; as food, as plant; as a concept or texture. Most of the works on view are for sale. The exhibition is on view from September 9 through November 1. The reception and exhibit are free and open to the public.

Mountain 2 by Martha Oatway

Asheville Printmakers (AP) encourages printmaking in the arts community and provides a forum for sharing experiences among its members. AP has a broad definition of print that includes most works in which artists are engaged in the production process including a variety of relief and intaglio methods, such as woodblocks, linocuts, engravings, etchings, lithography, collographs, and photogravure, as well as monotypes and alternative photographic printing processes.

The Life & Times of American Crow

Collages used in chapbooks for Life and Times of American Crow.

Collages used in chapbooks for Life and Times of American Crow.

The Life & Times of American Crow
+ Engaging Collage

On view through September 2

The Gallery at BookWorks currently features an exhibition of the making of The Life & Times of American Crow, a brand new self-published collage novel by Sebastian Matthews, an Asheville-based author and artist. The story of American Crow, a young artist on a journey of self-discovery, is presented in 11 chapbooks featuring the author’s own collage as well as artwork by Aaron Birk, Bill Matthews and Mica Mead.  The exhibition displays the drawings, collages, typed text and Risograph prints by artists whose work appears in the novel.

Sebastian Matthews

Sebastian Matthews

Matthews teamed up with printers Woolly Press to serially publish the novel on Woolly Press’ Risograph Printer—bringing out a new chapbook loosely every three or four months. The complete novel is packaged as a boxed set with a handmade case by Jon Buller, a Hendersonville-based binder. Now available for purchase through the website at or at BookWorks – the entire set is available as well as individual books. The set also includes a CD of The American Crow Sessions, music written to accompany the story of American Crow by Nashville-based musician, Nathan Bell.

Matthews has lived in Asheville, NC, for seventeen years, working as a teacher, writer, artist and editor. He’s been working on The Life & Times of American Crow for over ten years. Over the last two years, as the project began to come into being, Matthews has collaborated with a number of local artists and printers. His collaborations with Aaron Birk and Mica Mead (at Woolly Press) lie at the heart of the enterprise.

Also featured is Engaging Collage, a presentation of collage-inspired works by the local artists Ursula Gullow, Ginger Huebner, Travis Medford, Brent Skidmore, Ralston Fox Smith and Ken Vallario. A long-time admirer of their work, Matthews invited these artists to join him in honoring and engaging in the spirit of collage.

Let The Good Times Roll

Good Times Roll Mural

It’s a lo sun in December but we want to show off our new mural. Recently Noah Lentz painted this wonderful mural on our back wall. We are loving the art and the message! Thanks Noah!

BookWorks gallery is filled with locally printed posters, handmade journals, zines and prints by Woolly Press, Vandercooked Poetry broadsides, cards and more by local artists.

BookWorks also offers gift certificates which can be used year-round for studio classes in letterpress, bookbinding, printmaking. Please see our Workshop page for upcoming classes.

a community resource for print and book arts located in West Asheville, North Carolina. Through classes, exhibits, lectures, and signature events – BookOpolis + PrintOcracy, Asheville BookWorks has developed a national reputation as a fine book arts and print facility. Founded in 2004 by Laurie Corral, Asheville BookWorks has become a gathering place for individuals with an interest in handmade books, printmaking and letterpress. BookWorks provides space, equipment and technical support for artistic exploration, collaboration and the sharing of knowledge.


ON VIEW through October
428 1/2 Haywood Rd, West Asheville

Karen Kunc Ephemera Woodcut and letterpress prints by Karen Kunc - artist Poems by Robert Pinsky, 2009

EPHEMERA – Woodcut and letterpress prints by Karen Kunc.
Poems by Robert Pinsky, 2009

Camaraderie is a show about the long-term relationship of book and print. A chance to observe and consider the inescapably intertwined history of the disciplines of Book Arts and Printmaking. A look at how these approaches to making intersect, mingle, and diverge in the work of a diverse group of contemporary artists.

What is a book? What defines a print? For an artist skilled in the techniques of both book and print, how are decisions of form and content approached? For artist Anne Beck, “the book is printed matter to be reworked, annotated beyond the boundaries of the matrix – a participatory object.” Artist Kalmia Strong views “books foremost as generative social objects, choosing to either create books and book-objects that are made in collaboration with others, or take as their subject (and often, objective) discourse, presence, and interaction.”

Camaraderie celebrates the relationship between book and print by considering the works of a small section works by artists from the larger Book Arts and Printmaking community. Participating artists include: Anne Beck, Laurie Corral, Allison Dennis, Gwen Diehn, Karen Kunc, Laura Ladendorf, Dyann Myers, Kristen Necessary, Carol Norby, Rachel Singel, and Kalmia Strong.


Rachel Singel is an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville. She grew up on a small farm outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. Her work is inspired by what she sees in nature. Rachel has participated in residencies at the Penland School of Crafts, the Venice Printmaking Studio, and the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica. She will be returning to Venice to study at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in summer 2016.

Kristen Necessary currently lives in Brevard, NC where she works as a studio artist, educator, and owner + operator of Starfangled Press. Specializing in Relief, Intaglio, Screen Print, and Drawing, Kristen received her MFA in Printmaking from The University of Iowa in 2011, and her BFA in Painting + Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008.

Almost 40 Years in Purgatory

Esther K Smith and Dikko Faust of Purgatory Pie Press
Esther K Smith and Dikko Faust of Purgatory Pie Press

Esther K Smith and Dikko Faust of Purgatory Pie Press



Limited Editions and Artist Books by Purgatory Pie Press
proprietors – Esther K Smith and Dikko Faust

Asheville BookWorks is excited to announce the upcoming exhibition featuring a retrospective of works by Purgatory Pie Press, located in New York City. One of the longest running artist/presses in the world, PPP was founded by Dikko Faust, who named it in 1977 when he spilled (pied) a lot of very small type while studying with Walter Hamady. Instead of leaving town Faust chose to pay his dues in Purgatory sorting p’s & q’s (and b’s & d’s–and all the uppercase and lowercase letters and punctuation. Faust moved to New York City to work at Center for Book Arts and in 1980, Esther K Smith joined him. Their wedding invitation was their first print collaboration.

PPP has collaborated with more than 100 artists and writers–making limited editions and artist books. Always focusing on letterpress printing from hand-set wood and metal type and typographic elements– but also making photoengravings as needed–and printing collagraph–from all kinds of substrates. Dikko’s current series is hardware prints and mathematical moires. Before this, he made a series of prints from typographic elements–patterns derived from archeological and vernacular sources

Artistic director Esther K Smith, after designing for theatre, chose to stitch books instead of costumes– a less ephemeral medium. Smith became interested in the simple printers’ bindings and pre-printing book structures. This led to her teaching a long-running artist books class at Cooper Union. And that led to her writing HOW TO MAKE BOOKS which has brought so many people into the field.

This anniversary exhibit is a survey/retrospective of their work from the very beginning thru the future of Purgatory Pie Press.


Esther will each teach a one day workshop at Asheville BookWorks. Registration is accepted either by phone (828-255-8444) or online at

Magic Books and Paper Toys – July 9. 10am – 5pm with Esther K Smith


The Elegant Statement

Locus by Macy Chadwick

The Elegant Statement exhibition is on view at Asheville Bookworks through April 22.

Featuring 27 book artists and letterpress printers working across the United States, curated by Lisa Beth Robinson, this collection of books and broadsides exemplify the relationship between material and meaning; each magnifies the other. Some artists are driven by content, some by structure, but all works demonstrate a deep respect and passion for our craft. Works will be on display until April 22, 2016.

Artists included in the exhibition are: Brian Borchardt (WI), Macy Chadwick (CA), Maureen Forys (CA), Caren Heft (WI), Jennie Hinchcliff (CA), Josh Hockensmith (NC), Sarah Hulsey (MA), Ned Irvine (NC), Ellen Knudsen (FL), Barbara McFadyen (NC), Jeffrey Morin (WI), Carrie Ann Plank (CA), Kristin Rothrock (NC), Julie Sittler (WI), Eileen Wallace (GA), Mark Brueggeman (WI), Mary Bruno (MN), Terrence Chouinard (TN), John Cutrone (FL), Dan Elliott (NC), Landon Godfrey (NC), Gary Hawkins (NC), Diana Hoover (WI), Craig Malmrose (NC), Jennifer Manzella (GA), Paul Moxon (AL), and Lisa Beth Robinson (NC).

There will also be a special visit by the Itinerant Printer, traveling letterpress printer… For more info –

Our gallery is always free and open to the public during our regular hours.

Locus by Macy Chadwick

Locus is a personal geography about taking a leap into a new phase of life, and existing in the space between the known past and the unknown future. In this exploratory realm, anything is possible. The narrator considers her past, locates herself in the present and finally embraces the enigmatic future. by Macy Chadwick
Relief and pressure printing on Mohawk and Gampi Shi papers. Hybrid french doors/accordion book in hard cover. Housed in a clam shell box.
12.5 x 10.5 closed
Limited edition of 40.
$1150 each.

Ingress/Egress by Ellen Knudson

Ingress / Egress is an artist’s book that contemplates the design of artists’ books. The intent of the piece is to encourage ideation on the theme “books are”. The six French-fold books use geometry, visual design, text, and imagery to investigate topics such as “Books Are Architecture” and “Books Are Collections”. Books are letterpress printed on Japanese mulberry paper from Boxcar Press photopolymer plates. The translucency of the mulberry paper produces layers of reading in each book, and the potential interaction of layers among the entire suite of books. by Ellen Knudson 6”W x 9”H x 3/4”D. 2015

Lisa Beth Robinson – Curator, The Elegant Statement
Lisa Beth Robinson is the proprietor of Somnambulist Tango Press where she makes artists books, fine art, and collaborative chapbooks and broadsides. Robinson is a mixed-media artist who is transforming materials physically and psychologically in the pursuit of understanding the idea of reading alongside interpersonal, spiritual, and environmental relationships and their global impact. Her media include handmade paper, letterpress printing, collage, and her innovative processes employ principles of physics, botany, and Jungian psychology.
Her books and bookworks visualize the relationship between language and experience, making connections between disassociated objects and concerns. Her primary research interest at this time includes colony collapse disorder, both in and of itself and as a metaphor for global sociopolitical acts. She is extremely interested in the interconnectedness of things.
Robinson serves as an assistant professor at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, and serves on the national board of the College Book Art Association. Her degrees are from the Johnston Center at the University of Redlands and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Recently, her work has been purchased by institutions such as Yale University and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The Riso Museum


“The Machine” 5 color risograph designed and printed by Woolly Press founders Mica Mead and Colin Sutherland.

The Riso Museum showcases the Risograph (Riso) printing process and celebrates  Riso culture and its users. A stencil-based digital press, the risograph was employed in the copy rooms of the late 90’s corporate environment. Churches, law firms, and other small to medium organizations used the Riso as a method to produce large inexpensive runs of one to two color editions. The Risograph slowly disappeared from this landscape due to the influx of laser printers and other modern techniques, but has relocated to design studios, art departments, and DIY-house basements.

On view will be Risograph artifacts, objects from the printing process, as well as works from a variety of Risograph presses from around the world. Emphasis is placed on the Riso as an object and pieces that exhibit its idiosyncrasies. Selected works include Riso print guides, color charts, artistic prints, and publications. The Riso Museum is curated by Mica Mead and Colin Sutherland of Woolly Press, an Asheville-based Risograph design and print shop.