Jody Williams Wins the 2019 Minnesota Book Artist Award

The artist will be honored with an award and a retrospective exhibition for her new work.

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library announces Jody Williams as the winner of the 2019 Minnesota Book Artist Award for her new book entitled For Now. Sponsored by Lerner Publishing Group, this annual award is presented as part of the Minnesota Book Awards with the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA), and recognizes a Minnesota book artist or book artist collaborative group for excellence of a new artistic work. Winners also show demonstrated proficiency and quality in the book arts through three pieces of supporting previous work, as well as an ongoing commitment and significant contributions to Minnesota’s book arts community.

At once a book, a box, and a puzzle, For Now was born from a desire to create a book about dust and evolved into a meticulously designed exploration of the number four and its many associations. Less than three inches in height, this miniature masterpiece is comprised of four two-sided boxes, each holding a separate vial of dust, and attached to four accordion-folded pages. Williams says that with each of her artist’s books she tries to use a different box structure to challenge herself. In this case, the structure came first and inspired her to focus the four sections of the book on specific places from her own experience that correlate to the four directions and elements: West/Water/Hawaii; North/Earth/Minnesota; East/Air/Ireland; and South/Fire/Florida.

Members of the award committee praised the book as “small in scale, but monumental in terms of creative achievement.” One judge said: “The design is inventive and engaging, and the craftsmanship is impeccable. The poetic nature of the language, the delightful illustrations and the unknown inclusion of powdered substances all contribute to a sense of magic.”

Jody Williams is a book artist, printmaker, teacher, and writer based in Minneapolis. She has published more than 24 limited edition artist’s books under the Flying Paper Press imprint since 1989. Her books feature her own writings, integrated with intaglio, relief, and screenprinting on fine papers, traditional and innovative bindings and structures, and unexpected elements like metals and natural specimens. Williams teaches printmaking and book arts at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and has taught workshops and presented lectures at museums and colleges across the United States and in Europe. Her work is in the collections of the Walker Art Center, Minnesota Historical Society, and the University of Minnesota, which also houses her archives, as well as numerous other museums, universities, and libraries. Honors include Jerome Foundation fellowships, grants and awards from the Minnesota Craft Council, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. In 2008, Williams received the inaugural Minnesota Book Artist Award from The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, and has been awarded Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grants in 2016 and 2013.

A retrospective exhibition celebrating For Now will be on display February 15 – April 21 in the Cowles Literary Commons on the second floor of the Open Book building (1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis). A reception and artist presentation will take place there Tuesday, February 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. Williams will also receive special recognition and an award at the 31st annual Minnesota Book Awards Celebration on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at the InterContinental Hotel in downtown Saint Paul, sponsored by Education Minnesota.

About the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA):
Minnesota Center for Book Arts celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing, and hand bookbinding to experimental artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts through book arts workshops and programming for adults, youth, families, K-12 students, and teachers.

About the Minnesota Book Awards:
Originally created in 1988, the Minnesota Book Awards is a year-long program that fosters our statewide literary arts community. The process begins in the fall with book submissions and continues through winter with two rounds of judging. Winners are announced at the Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony. Woven throughout the season are various events that promote the authors and connect the world of Minnesota books – writers, artists, illustrators, publishers, editors, and more – to readers throughout the state. In recognition of this and its other statewide programs and services, the Library of Congress has recognized The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library as the state’s designated Center for the Book. For more information visit www.thefriends.org/mnba.