Laura Wait is a book artist living in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She received a BA, cum laude, in Art History from Barnard College, New York, 1975. After studies in lithography and drawing at Otis Art Institute. Los Angeles, she went to London in 1976 to study printmaking, and received a certificate in printmaking with merit for a one-year course in 1977—specializing in intaglio and bookbinding. She continued her studies in traditional bookbinding with Richard Tullett at Croydon, and received a certificate with distinction for a three year course in 1981.
Laura moved to Denver, Colorado in 1981, and started a bookbinding and conservation business which she ran successfully until 2003, with a sojourn in Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1985–1990. She has been making fine bindings and artists books in conjunction with her business since 1992, and has focused her attention completely on her own artwork since 2003, including taking a hiatus from teaching. In October of 1986, she spent a one month internship with Don Etherington at the HRHRC in Austin, followed by two months with Tony Cains for the Fine Binding and Book Conservation Institute, also held at the HRHRC.
She was awarded a Master/Apprentice Grant for Folk Arts from the Colorado Council on the Arts in 1998, for the training of a bookbinder. She also received a Carolyn Horton grant from the American Institute of Conservation for attending “Chemistry for Conservators” at Johns Hopkins University in July 2000.
She makes unique books and small editions using painting, handwriting, and printmaking techniques, especially monoprinting, collographs, and woodcuts, and is known for her rich painterly surfaces. Her experience as a bookbinder and conservator for 20 years is the basis for her excellent bookbinding technique in the English tradition, including leather fine bindings, and medieval-style modern, wood bindings. Her artists books are found in many private and public collections including the Library of Congress, The Universities of Stanford, Oberlin, Yale, Princeton, Colorado, Utah, Regis, and Claremont College and the Denver Public Library, as well as private collections in the U.S., South Africa and Great Britain.
Her work has been exhibited nationally since 1994, and was included in the recent “4th Triennial in Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College,” and “The Elements” held at the Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton, New Jersey. She had her first one-person show at Regis University Library in 1998, called “Tranformations and Explorations.” She was the judge for “The Intensive Spirit,” a book arts exhibit held at the Steamboat Springs Arts Depot in 2005, and her books and paintings were showcased concurrently in the “Small gallery” also at the Art Depot. She is currently serving on the Visual Arts Committee of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council.
Her publications include gallery artist in “The Penland Book of Handmade Books,” 2004, and the “Art of Making Paste Papers,” Maurer-Matison. 2002. She was featured in the “Guild of Bookworkers Journal,” Vol. XXXVI, No. 2, 2001 (“An Artist’s Eye View of a Book Exhibit”) with a full-length article by herself about her one-person show; and in “The Ampersand,” Vol. 18, No. 2 & 3, 2000 (“Interview: Laura Wait,” by Mary Laird); and in “Tabellae Ansata,” Spring 1999 (“Point Blank: Page Fear” by Laura Wait).
She has taught bookbinding since 1981, and conducts many workshops nationally. These engagements have included invitations to teach at Paper and Book Intensive, The San Antonio Center for Arts and Crafts, and the San Francisco Center for the Book.
Laura has been active in the Guild of Bookworkers since 1996, holding the position of co-chair of the Rocky Mountain Chapter for six years, and acting as local arrangements chairman for the 2003 Standards meeting as well as the “In Flight” traveling exhibition.