Helen Douglas

Helen Douglas has made Bookworks since 1972 and joined the imprint Weproductions in 1974, producing both collaborative and solo publications: www.weproductions.com. Her books, primarily visual with embodied texts, engage with book structures, photography and printing to develop visual narrative and new ways of reading. Widely distributed and exhibited in Europe and the US her Bookworks have contributed to the developing genre of Book Art. They have won numerous awards: Wild Wood was awarded the Nexus Press Atlanta Book Prize in 2001, Illiers Combray the Birgit Skold Memorial Trust Award ‘04, and received a prize at the 1st Seoul International Bookarts Competition, ‘05. Unravelling the Ripple was published by Pocketbooks in a series offering “a compendium of art forms and ideas, a contemporary generalist vision of Scottish culture.” She lives and works in Yarrow Valley, Scottish Borders

I choose to live and work in the countryside. There I feel a cellular ease with my surroundings. From inside to outside textures inter-weave and it is in this sensethat I construct visual narrative in book. To be out in the landscape, camera in hand focusses my eye and mind as a form of understanding: I see. Something catches my eye and references a thought, or pattern of thoughts. An inner archive is riffled, a picture, a phrase, a dream is unearthed and this in turn infuses my images as I continue to work. Teasing these images to the page, as printed surface and sequence is what I bring to book as a form of visual reading, to make sense of something. Not for all time, but for that particular time and experience


  • 1969/70
    • Carlisle College of Art and Design.
  • 1970/73
    • University of East Anglia BA (Hons) History of Art & Architecture.
  • 1977/78
    • Scottish College of Textiles Post-graduate Diploma in Textile Design.
  • 1989/97
    • University of Edinburgh (part-time) Doctor of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts.


  • 1973
    • Exhibitions Officer, The Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh.
  • 1974
    • Tutor, Edinburgh Arts ‘74, The Demarco Gallery.
  • 1978-97
    • Lecturer in Art & Design History, Scottish College of Textiles, Galashiels.
  • 1984
    • Established Archive of Historical Textiles, SCOT.
  • 1995-97
    • Researcher in Textile History (SHEFC funded). Border Textile Archive: Feasibility Study. Member of working party.
  • 1988
    • Part-time Lecturer in Art History, Edinburgh University.
  • 1998
    • Directed Arts Workshops, Wildwood, Borders Forest Trust
  • 2002
    • Book Art, Summer Course, Gainsborough House, Sudbury.
  • 1997-06
    • Part-time Lecturer MA Book Arts, Camberwell College of Art, London

Self – Employment

  • 1972/74
    • Began making Bookworks.
  • 1974/78
    • Joined Weproductions: first phase of collaboration with Telfer Stokes.
  • 1978/83
    • Designed and printed Textiles.
  • 1983
    • Birth of son, Laurie Stokes.
  • 1985/87
    • Made Bookworks: second phase of collaboration.
  • 1989/94
    • Research in Historical Textiles.
  • 1992/94
    • Made Bookworks: third phase of collaboration.
  • 1997/06
    • Bookworks – solo authorship

Book Publications

  • 1974
    • Willow Herb
  • 1974
    • Threads

Book Publications (Weproductions): Collaborations

  • 1975
    • Loophole in collaboration with Telfer Stokes.
  • 1975
    • Chinese Whispers in collaboration with Telfer Stokes
  • 1977
    • Clinkscale in collaboration with Telfer Stokes
  • 1978
    • Stells in collaboration with Telfer Stokes
  • 1985
    • Spin Off in collaboration with Telfer Stokes
  • 1986
    • Mim in collaboration with Telfer Stokes
  • 1987
    • Real Fiction in collaboration with Telfer Stokes
  • 1992
    • Yarrow Cooks in collaboration with Telfer Stokes
  • 1994
    • Water on the Border in collaboration with Telfer Stokes

Book Publications (Weproductions): Solo

  • 1997
    • Between the Two
  • 1999
    • Field Book One part of twenty Volumes of Vulnerability (Gefn Press)
    • Wild Wood
  • 2001
    • Unravelling the Ripple (pocketbooks, Edinburgh).
    • Last day in Kas (Nexus Press, Atlanta, USA)
  • 2003
    • Pivot
  • 2004
    • Illiers Combray Collaboration with sound artist Zoe Irvine
  • 2005
    • Loch
  • 2006
    • Swan song with damselflies

Awards & Residencies

  • 1975
    • Scottish Arts Council, Publishing Award for Chinese Whispers.
  • 1977
    • Arts Council of GB, Publishing Award for Clinkscale.
  • 1987
    • Book Publishing Residency for Real Fiction, Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY. Unable to take this up.
  • 1993
    • The Hope Scott Trust, Award for Water on the Border.
    • The Great Britain China Centre, Award to work in China on Water on the Border
  • 2000
    • The Nexus Press Atlanta Book Prize. Award for Wild Wood.
  • 2001
    • Book Publishing Residency, Nexus Press, Atlanta, USA.
  • 2002/3
    • Scottish Arts Council, Cross-Artform Collaborations: with Zoe Irvine.
  • 2004
    • Birgit Skiold Memorial Trust Award for Illiers Combray, presented LAB 04.
  • 2005
    • The 1st Seoul International Bookarts competion, prize: Illiers Combray

Lectures, Contributions, Recordings

  • 1985
    • “Weproductions”, Guest Lecturer with Telfer Stokes at Artists’ Book Conference, 1985, Boston USA.
  • 1990
    • “Book as a new Genre”, with Telfer Stokes, Edinburgh University.
  • 1991
    • “Donald Brothers: A feel for Rugged Texture”, SCOT.
  • 1992
    • “Weproductions”, with Telfer Stokes, Glasgow College of Art.
  • 1993
    • “Texture, colour and pattern within the home in the early 20th century”, for Studying the Scottish Home, National Museums of Scotland.
  • 1994
    • “Book in the Making”, Scottish College of Textiles.
    • “Bookwork: From Yarrow to Hangzhou”, various venues.
  • 1995
    • “Why the Book”, Artists’ Book symposium, Tate Gallery, London.
    • “Book: Weproductions”, demonstration at Artists’ Book Fair, Royal Festival Hall.
    • “Bookmaking: A focus on Three Aspects”. Glasgow School of Art.
  • 1996
    • “Scotch Tweed and The Archive of Historical Textiles at SCOT”, Border Television.
    • “The Design of Scotch Tweed”, Joan Auld Memorial Training, Scottish Records Office.
    • “Women and Artists’ Books”, Guest contributor, Open Seminar, Artists’ Book Fair, The Barbican Centre.
  • 1997
    • “The Feel for Rugged Texture”, essay in Techniques for the Study of Design Objects, ed Schoeser, M. Middlesex University Press, 2002.
    • “A History of Scotch Tweed”, contribution in “Out of this Land – chasing the Golden Fleece”, BBC Scotland.
    • “Physical Narrative in Book”, Women & Texts Conference, University of Leeds.
    • “Treading the Maize by Susan King”, Guest contributor, open seminar, Artists’ Book Fair, The Barbican centre.
    • “My Work in Book 1972-’97 & Between the Two (1997)”, recorded presentation with seminar discussion chaired by Mel Gooding.
    • Research into the “Art of the Book 1960-1997”, Camberwell College of Art.
  • 1997/99
    • “Interviewee“ Artists’ Lives: The National Life Story Collection at the British Library”, Tate Gallery Archive in conjunction with the British Library & National Sound Archive.
  • 1999
    • “Weproductions: Narrative & Book”, lecture, Dean Clough, Halifax.
    • “Wild Wood”, in “The Spark”, Arts program, Border Television.
    • “Narrative & Book”, essay on Chinese Whispers and Between the Two in Experimental Narrative & Artists’ Books, JAB 12, New
  • 2000
    • “Weproductions: An Approach to Publishing, Strategy and Process” in Repetivity, Platforms and approaches to Publishing, Research Group for Artist’s Publications.
    • “Making Book Art”, in Nuts & Bolts series, Edinburgh International Book Festival, August 2000.
  • 2001
    • “Weproductions: Thinking Book”, Nexus Press, Atlanta, May 2001.
    • “The Artist as Publisher”, Open Book: Art Publishing in Scotland, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Nov 2001.
  • 2002
    • “My work in Book: 1971-2002”, Gainsborough House, Sudbury.
  • 2005
    • “My Work in Book”, Folly Arts Lecture, Herefordshire College of Art & Design.
    • “A sense of Place: Book 1994-2004” Lecture at Arcadia Id Est, symposium, UWE, Bristol, May 2005. website and touring exhibition.

Selected Exhibitions of Textiles

  • 1981
    • Rolsska Konstlodjd Museum, Gothemburg.
  • 1982
    • Mac Roberts Centre, Stirling University. Collins Gallery, Glasgow.

Selected Book Exhibitions

  • 1975
    • Artists Bookworks, British Council, London, touring exhibition to Germany.
    • Exhibition of Chinese Whispers at Garage Gallery, London.
  • 1976
    • Artists’ books, Arts Council of GB, London.
    • Catalogue essay. The Printed Work, San Jose, CA.
  • 1977
    • Bookworks, MOMA, NY.
  • 1978
    • Artwords & Artworks, LAICA, LA, CA.
    • Art in Print, Chicago, Ill.
    • From Bookworks to Mailworks, Amsterdam, Holland.
  • 1979
    • Artists Books, Touring show in Italy.
  • 1981
    • Artist Books from Other Books & So, Amsterdam, Holland.
    • Words and Images, Philadelphia, PA.
    • Metronom, Barcelona, Spain.
  • 1982
    • International Artists Book Show, Chicago, Ill.
    • Collaborations, Centre for Book Arts, NY.
  • 1984
    • Offset, Rhode Island, Touring Book show.
    • What are you waiting for, Seattle.
  • 1985
    • New Trends in Europe, Smithsonian Museum, Washington, DC.
  • 1986
    • Paradise & Purgatory, Metropolitan museum & Library, NY.
  • 1987
    • Weproduction Publications, Nigel Greenwood Gallery, London.
    • Poesia Viva, Lisbon, Portugal.
  • 1988
    • Showcase “Unpainted Landscape”, Scottish Gallery of Modern Art. Edin. 1988 Open, Fruitmarket gallery, Edinburgh.
  • 1990
    • Livres d’Artistes, Articule, Montreal, Quebec.
    • Turn the Page, Cabrini College, Radnor, Pennsylvania.
  • 1992
    • Book, Atlanta, GA.
    • De Bonnard a Baselitz, Estampes et livres d’artistes, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.
    • Work & Turn, Bookworks from UK, National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik.
  • 1993
    • Work & Turn, touring to Tohaco gas, Tokyo. Also Malmo Kunstat, Sweden, National MOCA, Oslo, Vataan Kunpunti, Helsinki.
    • Artist Books, Manchester Metropolitan University Library.
    • Offset: Artists’ Books & Prints, Granary Books, NY.
  • 1994
    • Offset; touring to The Minnesota Center For Book Arts, and Pyramid Atlantic, Washington, DC.
    • Looking at Words: Reading Pictures, Artists’ Publications from the UK. Hardware Gallery, London.
    • Water on the Border, Halliwell Museum, Selkirk, touring to Edinburgh College of Art, and (1995) Crawford Art centre, St Andrews.
  • 1995
    • Wexford Artist book Exhibition, touring to National Library, London.
    • Artists’ Books, Tate Gallery, London.
  • 1996
    • The Garden, touring exhibition organised by Hardware Gallery.
  • 1997
    • Livre d’Artistes l’invention d’un Genre, 1960-1980, Gallerie Mansart, Bibliotheque National de France, Paris. May ‘97. Reading Room: Catalyst Arts, Belfast.
    • Artists Books, Sequence and Narrative, curated by Norma Rosso, The Winchester Art Gallery, Sept ‘97. Southern Arts Touring exhibition ‘98.
    • My Work in Book 1992-1997 & Between the Two (1997), seven showcase displays for The Art of the Book 1960-1997, Camberwell College of Art, Oct ‘97.
    • Sampling the Visible, curated by Jeffrey Soar, University College, London, Oct ‘97.
  • 1998
    • Artist/Author Contemporary Artists’ Books, curated by Cornelia Lauf and Clive Phillpot, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Greenboro, Feb ‘98. Touring to MOCA, Chicago ‘98, museum van Hededaagse Kunst, Ghent, Belgium,’00.
    • Sale & Return: Exhibition of artworks that may be seen or heard in a bookshop, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, March ‘98.
    • The 72nd Annual International Competition: Photography, (semi-finalist with Between the Two), The Print Center, Philadelphia.
  • 1999
    • James Joyce’s Typewriter and other stories: Books at the London Institute, May 1999.
    • Experimental Narrative and Artists’ Books, Foster Hall Gallery, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Sept 1999.
    • Books by Artists, University of West of England, Sept 1999.
    • A Book Is Not A Book Is Not A Book, Joan Flasch Artist’s Book Collection, The School of Art Chicago, Betty Rymer Gallery, Chicago.
    • 0.1. Primer, Artist’s Books, Visual Research Centre at DCA, Dundee. Curated by Alec Finlay.
    • Biennale 1999, Centre de Livre D’Artiste, Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche, France. Curated by Didier Mathieu.
  • 2000
    • Volumes (of vulnerability), Stand Point Gallery, touring to Dean Clough Gallery, Muzeum Ksiazki Artystycznej, Lodz Poland, San Francisco Center for the Book, USA,
    • Lopdell House Gallery, Auckland, NZ, Buchgalerie Mergemeier, Germany, Hull Time Based Arts, University of Vermont, USA, Lousiana State University, USA.
    • Repetivity. Platforms and approaches for publishing, selected by Simon Cutts and Colin Sackett, Plymouth Arts Centre.
    • 06. Weproductions. Centre for Artist Books, VRC, Dundee Contemporary Arts, April 2000.
    • Inside Cover: Twenty Artists Books for the Millenium, The London Print Workshop, Dean Clough Galleries, Edinburgh City Library. Dublin, Limoges, San Francisco.
    • Sum of Parts, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh.
    • Artist’s Books, Johan Deumens at Phoebus, Rotterdam.
  • 2001
    • Unravelling the Ripple, exhibition of book, An Tuireann Art Centre, Portree, Isle of Skye, Dec.
    • In-Print, the evolution of Printmaking, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull.
    • Catalogue essay “Reading the Future: Contemporary Artists Books”, S. Bodman.
    • The Strength of collections, exhibition from The University of the Arts, Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, Philadelphia, USA.
    • Artists’ Books during the “Art & Soul” festival, The Golden Hind Bookshop, Deal, Kent.
  • 2002
    • Weproductions, Librarie Mollat, Bordeaux.
    • Weproductions, ERBAN, Nantes.
    • Art of theBook, Edinburgh Book Festival, Edinburgh.
    • The Stokes Family, (A Stokes Centenary), Castle Monte Fiore, Italy
  • 2003
    • [re] Readings: Artists’ Books Now, Gallery Lux, San Francisco.
    • Weproductions: Reading Room XV11: contemporary Artists’ Books at Dean Clough Galleries, Hallifax. April June.
    • Outside of a Dog: Paperbacks & Other books by artists curated by Clive Phillpot. Baltic Contemporary Art Centre, Newcastle.
  • 2003-04
    • Et toi tu l’appelles coquelicot parce que c’est plus vite fane. Exhibition of books curated by Pays Paysage in collaboration with Galerie Stredoevropska & Institute Francais in Prague at Biblioteque Nationale, Prague.
  • 2004
    • Seoul International Book Arts Fair, Guest exhibitor, June 2004.
  • 2005
    • Arcadia id Est: Artists’ books, nature and the landscape, organized by Sarah Bodman, UWE Bristol. Launched at Trace Gallery, Dorset. Touring UK, Australia, USA, Netherlands, Cyprus, until 2007.
    • Artists’ books: Country Life, The Winchester Gallery, April/May 2005.
    • 30 Years of Innovation: A Survey Exhibition History at The Center for Book Arts 1974-2004, curated by Jae Rossman. April- June 2005
    • Vinyl Bookroom, project for installation, organized by Coracle.Cork.
    • By leaves we live: small presses and artists’ books at Scottish poetry Library, Edinburgh,September 2005.
    • Weproductions. Featured Publisher, Bookshop, Arnolfini Gallery, September 2005.
    • Kiosk – Modes of Multiplication, orgainized by Christoph Keller, Revolver. presented at Kunst Werke, Berlin, Istanbul Bienniale, Sept, ICA, London, December, 2005.
  • 2006
    • Eye on Europe: Prints, Books & Multiples 1960 to Now, MOMA, New York, October – Nov 2006.
    • Changing Horizons: artists & publishers, curated by Johan Deumens, De Vishal, Harlem, April-May 2006.
    • Contemporary artists’ books: Royal Birmingham Society of Arts, curated by Sarah Bodman, April-May 2006

Selected Bibliography

  • 1974/5
    • Phillpot, C. “Feedback”, Studio International, reviews of Threads, Loophole, Chinese Whispers.
  • 1976
    • Phillpot, C.“Visual Language, Visual Literacy”, in Precisely 3,4,5, Visual Literature Criticism, ed Richard Kostelantz, N.York.
  • 1985
    • Stokes, T. Douglas, H. “Spin Off”, transcript of talk given by Douglas & Stokes at the Artist Book Conference, Boston, Mass, (ed) Jean Caslin, Photographic Resource Centre, Boston, U.S.A.
    • Phillpot, C.“Some Contemporary Artists and their Books”, Artist’s Books, A Critical Anthology & Source Book, (ed) Joan Lyons. VSW Press ‘85. ISBN 0-89822-041-6.
    • Castleberry, M. “Spin Off”, Art & Artist Supplement, July/Aug 1985.
  • 1988
    • Stokes, T. Douglas, H. “Weproductions’ Manifesto”, British Contemporary Artist Books, Artists’ Newsletter, Oct ‘88.
    • Princenthal, N. “Real Fiction”, Artists Book Beat, The Print Collectors’ Newsletter, Oct ‘88.
  • 1992
    • Courtney, C. Private Views & Other Containers, Artists’ Books reviewed by Cathy Courtney, Estamp ‘92. ISBN 1-871831-09-1. Includes reviews of Mim and Real Fiction, first published in Art Monthly.
  • 1993
    • Courtney, C. Introductory essay in Facing the Page, British Artists’ Books, a survey 1983-1993, Estamp ‘93. ISBN 1-871831-113.
    • Going with the Flow, The Southern Reporter.
    • Young Couple Splash Out, The Selkirk Weekender.
  • 1994
    • Douglas, H. “Why and How I make Books 1971-1994”, Mapping Knowledge: Visions of Bookness, Essex University/ The Minories. Reprinted in The Journal of Artist Books, JAB 3, Newhaven, Spring ‘95.
  • 1995
    • Courtney, C. “Cover me in Cowhide”, Artists’ books on show at the Tate Gallery, Independent on Sunday, 13/8/95.
    • Drucker, J. The Century of Artist Books, Granary Books, N.Y. ISBN 1 887123 01 6.
  • 1996
    • Courtney, C.“Round Up”, review of W on the B, Art Monthly, Feb 1996
  • 1997
    • Moeglin-Delcroix, A. Esthetique du Livre d’Artiste, Jean-Michel Place, Bibliotheque National de France ‘97, ISBN 2-85893-291-3 & 2-71777-2014-6.
    • Lauf, C. Phillpot, C. Artist/Author, Contemporary Artists Books, DAP Inc & The American Federation of Arts, ‘97, ISBN 1-885-5444-07-9 & 1-881616-94-0.
  • 1998
    • Phillpot, C. “Here, There & Between”, Art Monthly, May 1998. Review of Between the Two.
    • Courtney, C.. Douglas, H. “Between the Two”, Interview with Cathy Courtney, Art Monthly, May 1998.
    • Sullivan, G. “Between the Two” , JAB 9, Newhaven, Spring ‘98.
  • 1999
    • Princenthal, N. review of Between the Two, “Artist’s Book Beat”, Art on Paper, March/April ‘99.
    • Drucker, J. “Experimental Narrative and Artists’ Books”, JAB 12, Fall ‘99.
    • Hubert, R. Hubert, J. The Cutting Edge of Reading: Artists’ Books, Granary Books, 1999. ISBN 1-887123-21-0.
    • Courtney, C.. “Border Country”, r/v of Wild Wood, Art Monthly Dec 99
    • Finlay, A. “The Book in Hand: Contemporary artist publishing in Scotland”, Modern Painters, Dec 1999.
    • Courtney, C. Speaking of Book Art, Interviews with British and American Book Artists.Anderson-Lovelace, 1999.
  • 2000
    • Re Volumes (of Vulnerability): Timeout, Jan 26, 2000: Speaking Volumes Art Monthly, March 2000: “Promiscuously Handled”, MAKE, May 2000 Artscene May 2000.
    • Wild Wood, Umbrella, Spring 2000.
    • Princenthal, N. review of Wild Wood, “Artist’s Book Beat”, Art on Paper, Spring 2000.
    • “The Atlanta Book Prize”, JAB 13, Spring 2000.
    • Phillpot, C “Weproductions”,
    • Evans, T. “On Two Weproductions”,
    • 06. Weproductions, Centre for Artist Books, Visual Research Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts, April 2000.
    • Ward, J. “Wild Wood/Helen Douglas”, Inside Cover, exhibition catalogue Making Space Publishing & the Arts & Humanities Board, UWE, 2000.
  • 2002
    • Wellman,K. reviews of Last Day in Kas & Unravelling the Ripple, The Art Book, Vol 9 Issue 4, Sept 2002
    • Douglas, H. “The Artist as Publisher” in Open Book, Publishing Art in Scotland, Forum pamphlet series. Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh. ISBN 0947912231.
  • 2003
    • Phillpot, C. Outside of a dog: Paperbacks & other books by artists, Baltic Contemporary Art Centre, Gateshead.
  • 2004
    • Douglas, H. “Book Thoughts 1972-2004”, catalogue essay Seoul International Book Arts Fair, Bookpress, Korea.
  • 2005
    • “A sense of Place: Book 1994-2004” Lecture at Arcadia Id Est, symposium, UWE, Bristol, May 2005. UWE website.

Books in Public Collections

And/Or Archives, Seattle, USA
All Union State Library, Moscow, Russia
Atlanta College of Art, GA, USA
Art Institute of Chicago, Ill, USA
Borders Regional Library, Selkirk
Books & So Archive, Amsterdam, Holland
Brighton University, Brighton
British Council Artists’ Book Collection, London
Bibliotheque National, Paris, France
Bodlean, Oxford
British Library, London
Cambridge University
Carlisle college of Art, Carlisle
Chelsea School of Art, London
Camberwell College of Art, London
Cabrini College, Radnor, PA, USA
DCA, Artist Book Archive, Dundee
Documenta Archive, Kassel, Germany
Getty Center, Artists’ Book Collection, Los Angeles, USA
Groningen Museum, Groningen, Holland
Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow
Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass, USA
MOMA, Artist’ Book Collection, New York, USA
MMP Archiv, Mainz, Germany
Museum of Fine Arts, Library, Boston, Mass, USA
Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester
MCBA, Minneapolis, Minn, USA
Nova Scotia College of Art, Halifax, Canada
National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
National Library of Wales
New Museum Library, New York, USA
New York Public Library, New York, USA
Paul Flesch Library, Bamff centre, Canada
Rhode Island School of Art, RI, USA
Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
Sackner Collection, Miami, USA
Sohm Archiv, Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany
Tate Gallery, Artists’ Book Collection, London
Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Ill, USA
University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA, USA
University of East Anglia, Norwich
University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA
University of Northumbria, Newcastle
V & A Museum, London
Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY, USA
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA
Wolverhampton University
Zona Archive, Florence, Italy
Zhejiang Academy of Fine Art, Hangzhou, China


Helen Douglas

e-mail: helen@weproductions.com
to see more of Helen Douglas’ work, visit: