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Book arts instructor wins award

Brittney Knox

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This past July, The Minnesota Center for Book Arts announced Sarah Bryant, UA book arts instructor and alumna, as the recipient of the MCA Prize for her book titled “Biography.” This prize is the first honor to recognize book arts across the field.

“I submitted my work for the award and then found out a while later that I had been chosen as a finalist,” Bryant said. “They then flew the finalists to Minneapolis, which is where I learned I won, and I was very excited.”

Information taken from The Minnesota Center for Book Arts webpage said, “Our jury of three distinguished leaders in the field of book arts reviewed 147 submissions from over 150 artists, representing 22 nations around the world and all seven continents of the Earth.”

The work of the five finalists went on display at the Book Art Biennial 2011, and the winner was announced at The MCBA Prize Gala.

Bryant said they choose one book for the top prize and give out one award every two years.

“’Biography’ examines the chemical elements in the human body and the role they play in other things in the world, such as the use in medicines, tools and other things,” she said.

She said the inspiration for the book grew out of her interest in the periodic table, the matter that is illustrated on that table and using it to connect to other human beings.

The book is a combination of text and simple images from the periodic table to illustrate Bryant’s message in the book.

UA’s Book Arts program is one of few across the country, and Bryant said her education here has helped her a great deal in what she does today.

The Book Arts program began at UA in 1985 and emphasizes the art and craft of making books by hand.

Having come to UA in 2005, Bryant began seeking her MFA in book arts and graduated from the University in 2008. She has now returned to the University as a sabbatical replacement instructor, teaching bookbinding for the fall.

“UA’s Book Arts program gave me the chance to practice book binding and letter press printing,” she said. “I bought my own printing press through opportunities at UA.”

The jurors included three people who are distinguished in the book arts field, including professors and a librarian who are from Arizona, Oregon and Chicago, respectively.

In their juror’s statement, they wrote, “Judging the 2011 MCBA Prize competition was extraordinarily hard. Almost 150 books were submitted for consideration, and the sheer number of outstanding works from all over the world made our job very difficult. Each of us were impressed and proud that the book arts field has matured to the point that so much work was exceptional.”



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Book arts instructor wins award