Denise Stephenson has been a book artist for more than 20 years, ever since she took a week-long class at Oxbow with the Chicago Institute of Art in Michigan. She thinks of herself as a 3-D artist since she rarely sketches, though she does indulge in abstract painting from time to time, color being nearly as dear to her as paper. Denise has been playing with paper since she was a small child and ate the paper pie she served with her pretend tea. When she moved in with her partner he feared there would be little room for the words he wrote if she used all the paper in the apartment to tear, cut, fold and glue. Luckily, that never became an issue.
Denise took her PhD in American Studies, an interdisciplinary degree traditionally built on Literature and History; her education was comprised primarily of various cultural studies. In many ways, book arts provides a physical embodiment of interdisciplinarity, bringing together language, sculpture, design, drawing, calligraphy, photography…and due to the folding which inevitably takes place when working with paper, she was led to curved folding which may just occupy her over the next 20 years.
Denise loves all the ways paper can be transformed and reconfigured: from flat sheet to curved form or book or vessel. She has never been good at staying inside the box, whether metaphorical or physical, so book arts was the perfect artistic choice because it allows her the space to explore inside and out. She is grateful to San Diego Book Arts for its many artists, workshops, and shows which keep her invested and dreaming of paper and books, even when the work of running the MiraCosta Writing Center keeps her away for long periods.