Books become a tangible record of our lives, filled with story, illustrated with our unique imprint, a place in which to dream.
A Residency with
Women Artists of Armenia
Illuminating Women’s Experience
through Contemporary Manuscripts
In November of 2016, I traveled to Gyumri, Armenia and introduced Armenian women artists to the book arts. The project strikes light in a dark corner of Armenia and the books they make blaze new trails for the artists. I have conducted four residencies, each between 3-4 weeks long. I will return in October 2020 to lead three workshops, assisted by the Advanced Artists of this project.
According to scholar Erin Piñon,
“New Illuminations is not only an extension of the chronology of Armenian book arts into the twenty-first century and a return to the collaborative nature of traditional Armenian book production, but as a whole, the project takes a giant step in carving out a space for women to contribute to, and evolve the practice of bookmaking in Armenia today.”
New Illuminations 2018
I will return in October 2020 to conduct three workshops which enable women artists to join the centuries old Armenian lineage of manuscript making, previously made only by men. I travel to Armenia because I am curious about the real lives women artists live there. Not the airbrushed beauty portrayed in magazines, not the highly manicured visage of women seen in popular culture. The women artists I work with have families or live with their parents, and make their work in response to the realities of their daily life.
“As an artist I understood that I can work on the design of books, booklets, journals. It was a hint to expand the horizons of creating art, and as a woman living in Armenia I understood that women like me just raise children… It was very important to communicate with women and girls of different ages. The project brought an essential change to my life. It was the second time I was taking part in an exhibition. It was a new experience.”
A return to Armenia means I continue to explore this work in hopes of seeding these women’s future as artists and teachers, capable of carrying this treasured practice of illuminated manuscripts forward in time, in new hands, with new voices raised in love and outcry for the conditions of their lives.
You can help me do this.
Come stand for and with a community of women who are making beauty in their lives, with eyes on the future, intricately engaged with the legacy of artistic practice in Armenia but aching to make more of their lives there.
Stand closer to New Illuminations by joining a mailing list exclusively for this project. You will receive updates on the project and weekly posts from Gyumri when I am in residence.
Support the collective creative energy of women nudging boundaries in Armenia.
Many thanks for your interest!
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