Virginia Center for the Book, Emily Larned

Friday, October 11, 2019

Emily Larned has been publishing as an artistic practice since 1993, when she made her first zine as a teenager. Working in an overlapping region of graphic design, socially engaged art, speculative design, craft, book arts, and writing, she practices many diverse handmaking processes, including typesetting, embroidering, bookbinding, letterpress printing, risograph printing, knitting, and handcoding with HTML & CSS. The economy, resourcefulness, and repetition of these slow processes directly inform her DIY, feminist approach as an artist and designer. Emily likes working directly with materials to learn, and lets the inherent feedback loop of making and testing determine the form. In addition to creating artifacts, she builds systems of distribution and facilitates opportunities for engagement. Her work explores morale, or how we feel about what we do, and she prefers to alternate solitary studio practice with group work. She teaches graphic design, and she views design as an optimistic, speculative activity: a collaborative method of interrogating problems, challenging parameters, imagining alternatives, and building desired futures. Emily is co-founder of Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA, est. 2008), a union for reflective creative practice, which to date has counted nearly 400 members in 37 states and 6 countries. ILSSA examines the immaterial working conditions of artists and makers through participatory projects, publications, and exhibitions. With her imprint Alder & Frankia (est. 2016), she publishes collaborations and reissues of archival material. Emily's award-winning artist books, zines, & publications (including Muffin Bones zine, Memorytown USA zine, Parfait zine, & artist books under her former imprint Red Charming) are collected by over 70 institutions internationally, including the Tate, the Brooklyn Museum, the V&A, & the Smithsonian, & are exhibited around the world. Her work has been awarded honors by the AIGA (50 Books | 50 Covers), the Type Directors Club (TDC) (The World's Best Typography), and the Connecticut Art Directors Club (CADC) (Gold & Silver awards in Book Design, Spirit of Creativity Award). She graduated from Yale School of Art with an MFA in Graphic Design.Emily learned letterpress printing from Robin Price while an undergraduate at Wesleyan University, & she served on the Board of Booklyn Artists Alliance for eight years. She has curated several exhibitions of independent publishing, taught at every education level from after-school program through MFA, & has presented about her work at dozens of institutions. Emily is currently Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.