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September 11, 2006

Acclaimed Book Artist Claire Van Vliet to Speak at Smith

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Award-winning book artist and Janus Press owner Claire Van Vliet will speak at Smith College at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 5. The event is free and open to the public and will be held in the Neilson Library Browsing Room, followed by a reception in the Book Arts Gallery on the third floor.

The lecture compliments an exhibition of books and broadsides from the Janus Press that is currently on display in the Mortimer Rare Book Room foyer on the third floor. The exhibition will remain on view until Oct. 31.

For decades, Van Vliet has made significant contributions to and innovations in the fields of fine printing, papermaking, bookbinding and printmaking. And, as a teacher, she has had an impact on several generations of aspiring book artists.

In 1966, Van Vliet took over the Janus Press, which is located in Vermont and primarily publishes first-edition poetry. She is known both for her use of traditional techniques, materials and forms, as well as for innovation in illustration with painted paper pulp and non-adhesive and woven book structures.

She also has collaborated with, and mentored, many book artists during the past 50 years. For her work as a teacher and artist Van Vliet received a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation in 1989; it was the foundation’s first recognition of achievement in the book arts.

Born in Ottawa, Canada, Van Vliet has lived in the United States since 1947. She received her bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and master’s degree from Claremont Graduate School. Van Vliet also served printing apprenticeships at a newspaper in Germany and the Pickering Press in New Jersey.

A catalogue, “The Janus Press: Fifty Years,” is for sale in the Mortimer Rare Book Room. For more information, go online to

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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