BookArtsLA Artist Spotlight - Rhiannon Alpers

Rhiannon Alpers is a papermaker, letterpress printer and book artist. She has an MFA in Book and Paper Arts from Columbia College Chicago and a BA in Book Arts from UCSB. Her teaching experience ranges from university courses to workshop courses, to instruction in her own studio in San Francisco.

What’s your connection to BookArtsLA?

Rhiannon was one of the first visiting artists to teach in the new BookArtsLA studio in the fall of 2014. Her course included custom boxes to house books, photos or other beautiful items. On October 8-9, she’s returning to teach The Exquisite Wooden Board Book. Register now to hold your space!

Recent Projects

Her book and box set Remnants received a Special Recognition of Merit in the 2015 MCBA Prize competition. Read more about MCBA prize here 

Remnants brings the world of four historical women naturalists to life, and re-frames their narrative in a more personal context. The specimens included in the box are representative of their fields of study and are also photographically documented within the piece. They offer a tangible and personal connection to the discoveries and observations these women made. Remnants is an exploratory study of the small and delicate curiosities, created to better understand these women’s world by examining the vastness of our own.

The book and box set of Remnants contains a 4″ x 6” book with multi-layer milk-painted and waxed wooden covers, bound with vellum straps and upholsterer tacks. The 6.75″ x 10.75″ x 2” cloth covered clamshell variant box houses the natural specimens under museum glass, and cradles the book on the other half. The artist book was produced in an edition of twenty in 2015.

Rhiannon is continually intrigued by the complex construction, variance of materials, yet similarity of form and structure that pods and chrysalides have, regardless of their maker. By working with natural elements such as wild silkworms, chrysalises, seed pods, ammonites and bones, she has come to understand a great deal more about materiality and the history and processes of entomological discovery with this series.


Her artistic process involves the study of historical figures, specifically women naturalists, in order to create an informed environment for found, curated and constructed curiosities, and as a means to comprehend and establish connections between them. The finished artist books incorporate components of her exploratory process, including handmade paper, macro photography, digital and letterpress printing.

See more of her work on her website /


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