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Beth Thielen ~ California

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Art School of Columbia County: "As an artist, she is known for her one-of- a-kind Artists Books and public art projects. She has worked as artist and educator with at-risk populations to foster personal expression and cooperation. Thielen’s unusual artists books continue to make people stop, think, and admire."

American Dream
By Beth Thielen
[Chatham, New York]: Beth Thielen, 2018. Variant edition of 20.

11.25 x 15"; 3 double pages with pop-ups. Accordion fold. Materials: Black Arches Cover paper; Charbonnel Aqua Wash etching inks; PVA glue; Canapetta binding cloth; acid free binders' board. Includes text by Robert Bly, Kerry James Marshall, and Isabel Allende. Signed and numbered by the artist. Accordion folded sheet attached to two cloth boards. Housed in black Canapetta lined slipcase.

American Dream is inspired by the artist's work as an art teacher in the California prison system as well as a dream she had about seeking justice.

The text of the dream is included in the book: "I have taken girls from a juvenile justice group home to a huge warehouse. High up in a judge's chair sits a supreme court judge. He looks like Scalia. I'm there to represent them but really, I'm asking him for all of us, as girls, as women, for the files that document the harmful events and abuse we have suffered in our lives. I need the documentation for proof against those who deny that any wrongdoing occurred in order to petition for reparations. I'm told by the judge that to acknowledge any wrongdoing will jeopardize the national defense. He says that each box of the girl's stories I have asked to be made public , can fill up to 17 of our nuclear warheads. Unacknowledged wrongs are the fuel for our missile system and the way we build defenses. He says that if we were to take these missiles off line and acknowledge all the wrongs we cause to others, our national defense would be down and we would be vulnerable to attack.

"The judge asks me: 'You wouldn't want to be responsible for that, would you?'"


American Dream book
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String Bean Theory
Lessons on Nature's Economy

By Beth Thielen
[Chatham, New York]: Beth Thielen, 2016. Edition of 5.

11 x 11.5 x 2.25" custom box containing book and four groups of beans. Four 2 x 2: 1.4" holes contain dried beans: Blue Lake Snap; Kentucky Wonder; Scarlet Runner; and Purple Podded. Finger hole for pulling book from container. Paper title label on lid. Handwritten paper title labels in each bean housing. Materials: Prismacolor pencil; papers - Arches Cover, Color Aid, Crane's soft white 28 lb. text, methyl cellulose paste paper; Charbonnel Aqua Wash etching ink; Jade 403 PVA Glue; Acid free Binder's board; Canapetta linen bookcloth; Asahi silk bookcloth.

Book: 6 x 6" closed; origami fold. Bound in green cloth boards. Printed on an HP Envy 7640 with Garamond Premier Pro font. Signed and numbered by the artist. The origami structure can either be read (carefully) by working through the folds or exposed as a growing, twisting, climbing vine (like, not surprisingly, a string bean vine).

Beth Thielen: "Artist books are so often magical in the way they open. My book 'String Bean Theory' has a kinetic aspect. … the spiraling up of the pages like a bean vine up a pole. The box serves as a plot of earth complete with bean seeds that the book grows up out of. Fully open, the book stands almost as tall as the person holding it. Just as my study of my pole beans unfolded a world of thoughts in me, I made the book to grow and unfold for the viewer. To be a presence…a dance partner, a sibyl.

"The edition of 5 is variant with all the drawings original in each. Making 5 books echoes an early American planting rhyme: 'One for the bug, one for the crow, one to rot, and two to grow.' A working artist is a farmer that knows such odds.

"It uses a repeated Japanese fold glued up to form a spiral when opening. The book had to spiral open. The spiral is nature’s way of both defying gravity and through phyllotaxis, allows each leaf its own share of sunlight. It illustrates how cooperative and democratic nature is."

String Bean Theory book
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3 Dreams: Water Dream 1; Earth Dream; Water Dream 2.

By Beth Thielen
Chatham, New York: Beth Thielen, 2012. Edition of 10.

3 flutter books contained in 4.75 x 6" cloth slipcase with paper title label on side. Printed on Cranes 100% cotton paper. Images hand drawn in colored pencil. Bound in Japanese silk binding cloth over acid free binder's board. End papers of Canson Mi-Tientes. Signed and numbered by the artist.

These books are from a series of large drawings for a gallery exhibition. The three books capture three different dreams. Taking advice from Jung, Thielen has written them down for future reference. In the case with the books is a card with the Jung quote and attribution.

"I should advise you to put it all down as beautifully as you can - in some beautifully bound book ... It will seem as if you were making the visions banal - but then you need to do that - then you are freed from the power of them ... Then when these things are in some precious book you can go to the book & turn over the pages & for you are freed from the power of them .."



3 Dreams book
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By Beth Thielen
[Chatham, New York]: Beth Thielen, 2007. Edition of 5.

Dimensions: 13 x 5.5 x 2.5 closed; 28 x 5.5 x 2.5" opened. Papers: Stonehenge Pearl Gray; Crane's Bright white; Arches Cover, black. Coloring, Marks: Daniel Smith Moonstone Acrylic paint; Methyl cellulose paste; Tombrow pencil. Figures: N-scale Train plastic figures, repainted with gouache. Printed on an HP Envy 7640. Text printed on Crane's bright white card stock in Bickley Script LET typeface. Image transfer on pearl gray Stonehenge printmaking paper. Bound in black canapetta linen bookcloth using acid free binder's board and Jade 403 PVA. Signed by the artist.

Text: "Seed of capitalism: Narcissism. The need to dominate. How do we make a just society when there is an underlying contempt for helplessness?"

While this book was made in response to Katrina, the work does now seem prescient.

Beth Thielen: "The image on the left side of the wave shaped pages is my face from many years ago. It's a photocopied double exposure. First, I made a crescent shape of foamy glass cleaner and made a copy of that. Then I fed that sheet back through the copier with my face on the copier glass. For this book I transferred that image onto pearl gray Stonehenge printmaking paper. "
$3,800 (Last 3 copies)

Katrina book
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Beth Thielen Out of Print Title:  

A Book for Malala Yousafzai
By Beth Thielen
Chatham, New York: 2015, Beth Thielen. One-of-a-Kind.

7.9 x 11.25"; 6 pages. Accordion fold with pop outs. Materials: Charbonnel Aqua Wash etching inks; Arches Cover paper; acid free binder's board; Jade 403 PVA glue; Lineco linen hinging tape; Canson Mi-Tientes paper; Fabriano Ingres paper. Typeface: Geneva. Bound in Japanese silk cloth. Illustrated paper title label on front board. In matching slipcase. Signed by the artist.

Beth Thielen: "This book is responding to the courage of this young woman who has fought for education for girls in the Middle East. The text is from a documentary film called 'Slow Fires, On the Preservation of the Human Record' by Terry Sanders in 1987.

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education. She was shot by a Taliban gunman in 2012, but survived the assassination attempt. In 2014 as co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, she became the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.

A Book for Malala Yousafzai book
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By M. Arviso; D. Bowlin; John Ferrari; R. Gerring; Ronnie Goodman; Stacy Hay; S. Keosingthong; K. Khun; M. A. Lugo; Teri Marquis; R. L. Odle; C. Saephan; Frank Scheurich; Edward Schoonover; V. Spencer; D. Talkington; Beth Thielen; Roy Lee Woodhouse.

Jamestown, California: William James Association, 1996. Edition of 30.

11.25 x 8.75"; 44 pages. Collagraph prints. Materials: Graphic Chemical Black 514 ink; Rives HW White 175 gm paper; Mohawk Superfine Text paper; 4- and 2-ply Conservacare Board; Canapetta Linen Book Cloth; 4-ply Linen Thread; Lineco NpH Binding Adhesive; Methyl Cellulose Paste Grade A-4-CP. Text photocopied using Xerox 1065. Bound in black cloth-covered boards with collaborative collograph inset. In matching cloth-covered slipcase.

This collection contains work by 15 inmate artist-writers and 3 instructor artist-writers.

Foreword: "The hand bound book edition of collagraph prints and original writing was hand-printed, written and hand-bound at the Sierra Conservation Center, Jamestown, California, during the dates of December 1995 through July 1996."

Colophon: "Each book contains 18 single-plate collagraph prints and 18 original writings, one from each artist. A collaborative collagraph print is inset on each book cover. Collagraph prints are signed and numbered 1/30 through 30/30 per book."
Legacy book
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Out of the Blue
Poem by Ed Winns
Artwork and verse by participants in Chuckawalla Valley State Prison Printmaking and Creative Writing Workshops
Book Arts instructor Beth Thielen
[Blythe, California]: Arts in Corrections, n.d. Edition of 26.

4.75 x 6.75"; 24 pages. Accordion structure. Relief prints cut from Battleship linoleum. Printed on Tableaux Paper using water-based printing inks. Registration and reduction methods utilized in achieving the color plates. Each print numbered and signed by the artist. Front and back cover designed by Chris Bell. Bound in blue cloth covers with handwritten paper title label inset on front cover. Housed in custom matching blue cloth box designed by Beth Thielen to pop-up the book when opened. Interior of box painted blue.

Inmates of the Chuckawalla Valley State Prison in California participated in Printmaking and Creative Writing Workshops conducted by Arts in Corrections. The writers and printmakers paired to produce verse and images. The resulting book has nine images with accompanying verses.

Colophon: "The project was funded by Artsreach, UCLA Extension, and the Department of Corrections, Office of Community Resources. The workshop instructors were Artsreach Contract Artists: Ms Janet L. Kassner, Printmaking; Mr. Rigobero Garnica, Creative Writing; and, Ms Beth Thielen, Book Arts."
(SOLD/Out of print)

Out of the Blue book
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By Blanche, Batiz, Janice M. Butler, Nick Capaci, Fernando D. Castro, Dana Hill, Kim Kaugman, Patricia Krenwinkel, Andra Mims, Jonde Northcutt, L. Thunder Sanchez, Marilyn Sitch, Melissa Stephenson, Margaret Tanner, Beth Thielen, BJ Thornton, Leslie Van Houten.
Frontera, California: California Department of Corrections, 1995. Edition of 30.

11.25 x 7.675"; 40 pages. Materials: Graphic Chemical Black 514 ink; Rives LW, White 115g. paper; Mohawk Superfine Text paper; 4- and 2-ply Conservacare Board; Canapetta Linen Book Cloth 4-ply Linen thread; Lineco NpH binding adhesive; Methyl Cellulose paste Grade A-4-CP. Collagraph prints tipped in. Prints signed and numbered by each artist. Bound in black cloth with collograph inset. In cloth-covered slipcase.

This collection contains work by 10 inmate artist-writers and 6 instructor artist-writers.

Foreword: "The handbound book edition of collagraph prints and original writing was hand-printed, written and hand-bound at the California Institution for Women (Frontera, CA) during the dates January 17 through March 21, 1995."

Colophon: "Each book contains 16 single-plate collagraph prints and 16 writings, one from each artist. A collaborative collagraph print is inset on each book cover."
Sanctuaries book
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The Serendipitous Search
By University of Redlands Book Arts Students
under the direction of Beth Thielen
Redlands, California: Redlands Book Arts Students, 2002. Edition of 12.

5.75 x 8.75"; 23 pages. 9 double-page color-copied pop-up spreads. Materials: acid free 60 lb. white paper; 3M Conservation and preservation double-sided tape; acid free binder's board; Canapetta and Cialinene Italian book cloth; Jade 403 PBA adhesive; cellulose paste; paste papers. Bound in paper-covered boards with cloth spine. Laid in customer chemise. Custom box/case that pops out the book. Numbered.

Colophon: "This edition of color-copied pop-up pages was created by the University of Redlands Book Arts Students during the spring semester of 2002. Each book and pop-up case represent one in a limited edition of twelve books and pop-up cases. Each book contains nine hand made pages signed by each student and containing a message to be read at a future date. Book and case are made to museum standards using neutral ph materials."
The Serendipitous Search book
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By Ronni Baer, Pauline Hald, Ana Hill, Helen Humphrey, Marge Tanner, Judi Templeton, Sandy Watson, Janice Yakaitis
In collaboration with Nick Capaci, Jonde Northcutt, Beth Thielen
Frontera, California: California Institute for Women, 1989. Edition of 20.

7 x 8.9"; 20 pages. 19 intaglios printed on white Arches Cover paper. Bound in black Arches cover. Laid in a four-sided wraparound case bound in cloth with checkered paper pastedowns. Each print numbered and signed. Colophon handwritten and tipped in.

Colophon: "The limited edition book of intaglios (photo-etchings) was photographed, hand-printed, and hand-bound at the California Institution for Women (Frontera) during the dates of May 3 through June 21, 1989."

Sojourn book
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The Sojourn of the Girl Child
By Beth Thielen
Chatham, New York: Beth Thielen, 2016. One-of-a-Kind.

11.4 x 15.1"; two double-page openings. Accordion structure with pop ups. Text printed on an HP Envy 7640. Palatino Italic typeface. Materials: Daniel Smith etching inks; metallic red and rich gold Hanco Lithography inks; Arches cover paper; Richard de Bas paper; Canapetta Italian binding cloth; Jade 403 PVA glue; acid free binder's board; Lineco linen hinging tape. In cloth-covered slipcase with title on spine. Signed by the artist.

Beth Thielen: "I volunteer to teach art to girls in a group home. It's part of the juvenile justice system here even though most of the girls did nothing wrong. They may have parents who are drug offenders, or in prison, or dead, or have abused them. I heard a horrific tale from one of them about having to jump out of a second story window in order to flee a family member who was going to rape and beat her. "
The Sojourn of the Girl Child book
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The Tower
Book design by Beth Thielen
Prints, writing, and binding by various prisoners at San Quentin State Prison and the California Rehabilitation Centers between the years 2006 and 2007
[Norco, California]: [Beth Thielen], 2006 / 2007. Edition of 30 .

14" x 9" closed structure with four books forming the four middle sides of the tower. Two booklets – "Notes on the Tower Book" by Beth Thielen and Colophon – inside the middle section of the tower. Prints on Arches Text Wove 120 gr in Daniel Smith Domestic Velvet Black AC63. Text in Times New Roman printed on an Epson Stylus CX4600 on Neenah Classic Crest, Solar White 24 lbs acid free papers. Bound in Gray Canapetta Italian Book Cloth over acid free, Lignin free Binder’s Board. Jade 403 PVA, methyl cellulose paste, Black Arches cover, Canson Mi-Teintes Steel gray, Pearl, Barbour’s Irish Linen Thread. Linoleum prints. Numbered on the colophon.

Beth Thielen, Notes on the Tower Book: ”This is the only book edition of its kind. It is a collaboration between the art program at San Quentin and the now disbanded Women’s program at the California Rehabilitation Center, in Norco, California. I’ve been teaching in the California prison system since 1985. When I first started teaching, it was through the California Arts Council Artist in Residency Grants. Selected by a panel of my peers, I received $1600 per month to provide 20 hours per week of instruction at the participating institution. Many young artists in the state of California started their careers with this program. That program no longer exists, and the tolerance for this kind of program is increasingly threatened. . . .

"Trust is the key to working in this world. When Officer Strobelt asks me as I leave the prison: 'Do you have your murder weapon?' I must indeed have my retractable knife with all the snap off blades accounted for. Like the Hippocratic oath, I must first 'do no harm.' The officers and staff of the prison need to know I can be trusted. The inmates also need to trust me to watch my tools. They don’t want to see their cell torn up and their bodies searched because a tool is missing. We make the structure of trust transparent to everyone. When everything is well lit, it’s harder for trouble to develop.

"My primary interest has been to provide art classes to women in prison. By using the 'craft' of book arts, I’ve been able to draw into the program many women who might not otherwise investigate art. Through private funding, I purchase the best materials I can find: Canapetta linen book cloth from Italy, Irish linen threads, archival glues, French printmaking paper. The value of the materials reflects the value I place in my students. I bring the best to encourage the best and they never fail me. It’s amazing how simple and true this formula is. Works from my classes are in collections at the Getty Museum of Art and The Library of Congress, to name a few. The purpose of the work is to give my inmate students the proper 'dress' to attend the ball, to become part of the conversation about incarceration when a more enlightened perception is possible.

"We are living in a time of twisted priorities, of which our overflowing prisons are symptomatic. Teddy Roosevelt was the first to coin the concept of the 'living wage.' That it should be 'standard high enough to make morality possible.' When I look at the images created by my students or read their stories, I see Dorothea Lange’s Dust Bowl refugees. I give this as an example to illustrate that I am responsible as an artist to see the context I exist in. Art is about seeing. As you look at this work, I challenge you to see large.
(Out of Print)

The Tower book
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when in is out
By Beth Thielen
Chatham, New York: 2000, Beth Thielen. Edition of 2 variants.

11.25 x 15"; 6 pages. Accordion structure with pop ups. Materials: Daniel Smith lithography inks; Hanco rich gold lithography ink; Hanco red metallic lithography ink; Arches Cover paper; Jade 403 PVA glue; acid free binder's boards; Lineco linen hinging tape; Unryu Japanese paper. Typeface: Geneva. Bound in black linen cloth. In matching slipcase. Signed by the artist.

Beth Thielen: "This book comes from my work with the Time Slips Alzheimer's Project, directed by Anne Basting. I made 2 variant books in this edition. The first book went to the Time Slips Alzheimer's Project as a purchased maquette for a public Art project they had commissioned me for. The book gave them an understanding of the images I would be creating for them for the lobby of the Empire State Building in the fall of 2001. Because of the events of 9/11, that exhibition could not happen there. The other book of the edition was made to be a part of Marcia Tucker's last curated show at the New Museum called 'The Time of Our Lives' in New York in 2000."

Text quotations are from patients in the Time Slips Alzheimer's Project. "The open, poetic language of improvisational storytelling invites people with memory loss to express themselves and connect with others. TimeSlips brings meaning to long term care."
when in is out book
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Window of Souls
Ventana De Almas

By Susan Atkins-Whitehouse, Terrysue Beeston, Dianne Fellman, Elizabeth Hernandez, Maria E. Hernandez, Sharon Hunter, Pat Krenwinkel, Michele P. Molina, Claudia Nova, Shelia Sabatino, Iris Salcedo, Karen Severson, Orfo Urreo, Tania Vargas, Louise White, Karen Williams California: Williams James Association, 2000. Edition of 25.

8 x 11.25"; 40 pages. Accordion fold extending from back pastedown. Intaglio and solarized images. Materials: graphic chemical Black 514 ink; Somerset Velvet Radient White (250 gm/m2) paper; linen hinging tape; paste paper; acid free 3M conservation and preservation double-coated tape; acid and lignin free binders' board; Cialinen Italian book cloth; Jade #403 PVA adhesive; Methyl celluose paste; 7 ply Irish waxed linen thread; Wausau Exact acid free paper. Bound in trifold cloth covered boards. Housed in cloth-covered pop up case with paper title on spine. Numbered.

Colophon: "This edition of intaglios (photo etchings) and original writing was created at the California Institution for Women during the Spring of 2000.

"Each book contains sixteen (16) hand printed intaglios, signed and numbered ... by each inmate artist. Opposing solarized images (tipped inserts) contain written prose from each inmate artist."

Window of Souls  book
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Page last update: 01.26.2022


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