Rebecca Gilbert in Morgan 11/08/2023

Introducing Rebecca Gilbert

Rebecca is the new Victor Hammer Fellow in Book Arts.
July 28, 2023

Rebecca Gilbert is joining the Wells College family this fall as the Victor Hammer Fellow in Book Arts. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking and Book Arts in 2002 at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Since then, she has participated in numerous group exhibits and hosted many solo exhibits of her own art. Her work has been recognized by various art authorities and museums including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, and the Winterthur Museum.

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Rebecca Gilbert. During our interview, she gave her perspective on what the most integral skills involved with the practice of book arts are. She started with the importance of planning and went on to share that it is invaluable to have the ability to take a step back from her intentions and “let my drawings and process tell me what they want to do.” She added with a smile that “it’s hard to take our own advice sometimes, even if we know it’s good.”

The Victor Hammer Fellowship in the Book Arts is a unique employment program offered by Wells, and has quite a storied past. In case you didn’t know, the Victor Hammer Fellowship in the Book Arts was named in honor of Victor Hammer, an Austrian printmaker who fled from Europe during the early days of World War Two. The place he fled to? Wells College. Fittingly, Rebecca stated that something that drew her to Wells was the multitude of antique bookmaking tools, several of which are from the era of Victor Hammer.

The Victor Hammer Fellowship serves to give up-and-coming book artists an opportunity to establish themselves in the field. The artists in question bring their own knowledge of the discipline into the classrooms and studio spaces of Wells, imbuing a new dynamic into their courses and further increasing the interest in book arts held by the Wells community. Each artist works at Wells for a two year period, during which they teach two courses a semester. This year marks the twelfth occasion that Wells has accepted new candidates for the position.

Dan Rosenberg, Associate Professor & English Department Chair, was on the hiring committee for both Rebecca Gilbert, and Mary Tasillo, the incoming Director of Book Arts, and shared: 


I’m overjoyed by the hiring of Book Arts Center Director Mary Tasillo and Victor Hammer Fellow Rebecca Gilbert, and I am forever grateful to all those who maintained the Book Arts Center without a Director over the past few years, especially Leah Mackin and Rob LoMascolo. As this next chapter for our beloved Center begins, I know that Mary and Rebecca enter these roles with the support of the entire College behind them. The Book Arts Center is uniquely equipped to be an interdisciplinary hub for the kind of creative, active, engaged learning Wells aspires to impart. Past Directors and Fellows worked with everyone from poets to painters to political scientists to make books, broadsides, cards, pamphlets, protest posters, and more, and I know that both Mary and Rebecca have the collaborative and perhaps mildly quixotic spirit required to undertake bold new projects. I can’t wait to join them as they shepherd this beloved institution into what I’m sure will be a vibrant, dynamic, and exciting future.

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