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Elizabeth Ashcroft 
Altered Books

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Springtime in YorkshireElizabeth Ashcroft
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Elizabeth Ashcroft

Elizabeth Ashcroft is an altered book artist based in San Francisco. She earned a Bachelor of Arts, Printmaking, from Massachusetts College of Art in 1983. Her work is regularly featured in Bay Area exhibitions and in book art related shows across the country. She has been based in iconic North Beach since 1996. In June, 2020, she took on the proprietorship of a beloved gallery space, ‘Live Worms Gallery’, located in the heart of Upper Grant Avenue, where she has expanded the reach of its exhibitions to include both local and Bay Area artists.

She has altered book pieces in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum Library, Washington D.C., the City of Decatur Book Art Collection, Decatur, GA, the McCabe Library at Swarthmore College and in the Shakespeare Collection of the University of Denver Library, Denver, CO.

Material and Process

Altered books are created with published books and book parts that the artist manipulates in some way. I find the books in thrift stores or through donation. My tools are basic, simply a utility knife and an Exacto blade.  I create a palette of cut out words from which to compose a type of found poetry – I also refer to it as cutting-room-floor poetry in a nod to my years in the pre-press/publishing industry. Collage papers and imagery are from the books and other sources – the words as much a visual collage element as the colors and patterns. I aspire to achieve a balance that hovers along the edge where intention and serendipity meet - where I lay out a creative path while remaining open to an evolving destination.

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