Alterations: The Work of the Altered Book Artist Miriam Schaer

  • Laura Rachel Fattal Wm. Paterson University, Wayne, NJ
Keywords: altered book artists, feminism, critical inquiry, critical pedagogy, Jewish cultural production


Book artist Miriam Schaer (b. 1956, Buffalo, New York) sees life experience as fodder for humor and heartbreak. As a mid-career artist, her work enhances an understanding of the human condition, in general, but more particularly that of feminism and childless women. Her altered books are fertile examples of social inquiry. As a book artist, her aesthetic perspectives explore unique aspects of scale, media and construction while responding to misogynic attitudes in contemporary society. Miriam Schaer’s books originate from a profound introspection of the inseparability of the heart, mind and body. Her work has become more complex over time integrating personal and societal issues in unique aesthetic structures. Through an interview format, the author’s questions and artist’s answers are paired with select illustrations of her work embedded between interpretative introductory remarks and a reflective conclusion. Coming from the world of fibers, printmaking, and artists books, Schaer has led the transformation of book arts in limning feminist introspection, cultural and ethnic sensitivities and allegiances and the use of new materials to best reveal personal and public contradictions seen, felt and heard in the world around her.