Featured Exhibitor: Laurie Alpert

Artist Laurie Alpert creates various prints and artists' books. Formally trained as a painter, Alpert was later introduced to book arts and printmaking.

"Taking Off," 2020

“I make Artists’ Books because, for quite some time, my prints had included music and a variety of different types of text,” Alpert said. “Each piece was sequential but confined to the rectangle, and it made perfect sense to me to transform the work into book form.”

While experimenting with a variety of Artists’ Book structures, Alpert became more interested in sculptural forms and the different ways in which books could be bound or unbound.

"Sitting and Waiting"

“The work asks the question as to whether each ‘page’ can exist on its own as a strong and resolved image or whether it needs the sequential context in which to exist,” Alpert explained.

The images in Alpert’s books begin with photographs that she’s taken, maybe of her studio floor, twigs in the snow, a bar of soap, or other seemingly mundane things. She then manipulates and turns them into Polyester Plate Lithograph prints and/or transform them into unique sculptural books.

“The origin of the work is inconsequential - it is the alteration that gives the image its new life,” Alpert said. “It’s very much about the process with me. I never really have a preconception of what somethings going to be.”

One project that spun itself into something much larger was the collection of prints made during COVID lockdown which would be turned into the book, 378 Days, 378 Pages.

“March 13, 2020, was a very important day for me. Not having any idea how long we would be homebound due to the virus, I decided to begin making a concertina book by adding a page a day," Alpert said. "Each page has a 'dash' - which is part of a print I had previously made but decided to cut up and transform into small rectangular shapes. On March 30, 2021, when I received my 2nd COVID vaccine, 378 Days, 378 Pages was complete."

Alpert plans on showcasing some of these works at the Northampton Book Fair.

“I like introducing people to something that they normally wouldn’t see and normally wouldn’t see at book fairs,” Alpert said.

“People are really interested in the work,” Alpert continued. “That’s one of the reasons I like to participate in book fairs—to be able to talk to lots of people about the work.”

A former professor of Fine Arts at Curry College, Alpert values artistic communities and access to art. While teaching studio arts, Alpert introduced her students to bookmaking and printmaking techniques that were a part of her process. She considers herself very fortunate to have been able to share her knowledge and make these connections.

“With COVID, we’ve just not been in places where we can talk to each other about our work,” Alpert said. “Having a community of artists is so important to me.”

In addition to being a part of the Bromfield Gallery in Boston, she is also a member of Full Tilt Print Studio, a professional printmaking cooperative.

You can visit Laurie Alpert's website to view more of her work, and you will be able to chat in-person and view her artists' books the first weekend of December at the Northampton Book Fair in the Northampton Community Arts Trust.

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