Professor uses rare expertise to educate and travel


Megan Fabry 

Herman first found her inspiration from a book she received as a child. Photo courtesy of Chelsea Herman.

From a young age, professor Chelsea Herman was always fascinated with books. As a child, she had a book that paired works from the Metropolitan Museum of Art with poetry and songs from around the world. When she was four, she began studying painting at the Santa Cruz Studio School. At age 20, she became so moved with an artists’ book of poetry and painterly etchings that she decided to further pursue the medium.

Herman received her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her master’s degree from San Diego State University. She began teaching at UNO during the fall semester of 2019.

“I am always struck by the way studio art courses open bright little windows into the distinct worlds of others like nothing else can,” Herman said. “This is especially true when working with students in courses that focus on the art of the book.”

As an educator, Herman strives to pass along her expertise to interested young students. She teaches classes about book arts such as bookbinding and papermaking and directs UNO’s Fine Arts Press, which publishes limited edition fine press artists’ books and broadsides (large sheets of paper with print on only one side) primarily by UNO students and faculty.

The UNO Fine Arts Press is currently working on Concurrence Vol. II, a collaboration between students and alumni that involves literary pieces paired with complimentary imagery using various printmaking media.

Herman’s artists’ books, prints and other works-on-paper have been put on display in conferences and book fairs all over the world including Portugal and France.

“Exhibiting work at conferences and book fairs such as the CODEX Book Fair is a wonderful way to connect with book artists, librarians and curators from around the world,” Herman said.

A lover of travel, Herman enjoys going across the country to attend conferences, museum exhibitions and archives, which she says is a wonderful opportunity to learn about work by artists, educators and students from around the country. With such a unique concentration, Herman enjoys making connections with people who love what they do as much as she does.

“There is an opportunity to get to know others specializing in book arts very well, and at the same time, the medium can go in an infinite variety of directions, so it’s really fun having a specific concentration.”