Introducing Mary Tasillo

The new Director of Book Arts at Wells College
July 29, 2023

We are excited to welcome Mary Tasillo as our new Director of Book Arts Center. After obtaining her MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking in 2006 at The University of Arts, she went on to explore and teach the many sub-topics that make up the subject of “Book Arts”. Some of her recent projects include working at The Soapbox: Community Print Shop & Zine Library, as well as at the Common Press at the University of Pennsylvania.

Recently, we sat down with Mary and asked her what drew her to Wells. “The beautiful location” she began, “and also this incredible collection of letterpress machinery… and papermaking equipment at the book arts center. It’s really an incredible treasure of a collection that would be unique for even a much larger institution to have.” 

Wells prides itself on bridging the interdisciplinary gap, connecting students and teachers of all respective concentrations in a way that has a multiplicative effect on learning. For Mary, this value is equally important: “I’m excited to explore how the book can get integrated into different parts of the curriculum. One of the things that I think is exciting about the book arts is that it’s a container for information—it’s not just about arts and writing, but it can help people think through ideas in a different way and tap into different parts of their brain… I want students to understand that the book arts center is a resource for them whether they’re an art student, whether they’re a writing student, or whether they’re a biology student—[Anyone] who wants to think about they’re area of study in a different way.”

Christine Elfman, Assistant Professor of Studio Art and Book Arts, was on the hiring committee for both Mary Tasillo and Rebecca Gilbert, incoming Victor Hammer Fellow, and voiced her excitement about them joining the Wells family:

I am delighted to welcome Mary Tasillo as the Director of the Wells Book Arts Center and Rebecca Gilbert as the Victor Hammer Fellow in Book Arts!  I have long admired the deep commitment to materiality and process that the Center has maintained, and am eager to build upon that history in collaboration with our new Visual Arts program colleagues Mary and Rebecca to develop innovative and existing programs.  Together, we can bring inspiring book artists to Wells to work with students on creative projects.  Mary and Rebecca both have many years of experience working with and teaching the bookbinding, letterpress, and papermaking processes that the Book Arts Center is known for, and can develop these new projects with administrative, conceptual, and technical wisdom and vision.  I am truly honored to be working with these amazing artist educators, and look forward to our collaborations within the marvelous Morgan Hall. 

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