Emily Larned in her studio RCHQ, June 2020

all about the work of

Emily Larned

Emily Larned has been writing, editing, designing, printing, and publishing as a socially engaged artistic practice since 1993, when as a teenager she made her first zine. She is co-founder of Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA, est. 2008), a union for reflective creative practice, which to date has counted nearly 500 members in 37 states and 6 countries. ILSSA explores the immaterial working conditions of impractical laborers through participatory projects, publications, and exhibitions. Through her imprint Alder & Frankia (est. 2016), she publishes new collaborations and reissues from feminist archives.

Working in an overlapping region of graphic design, socially engaged art, craft, book arts, and writing, she practices many diverse handmaking processes, including hand typesetting, embroidering, bookbinding, letterpress printing, risograph printing, knitting, and handcoding with HTML & CSS. The economy, resourcefulness, and repetition of these slow processes directly inform her DIY, feminist approach as an artist and designer. In addition to creating artifacts, she builds systems of distribution and facilitates opportunities for engagement. She prefers to alternate solitary studio practice with group work. As a designer and educator, she approaches design as an optimistic, speculative activity: a collaborative method of interrogating problems, challenging parameters, imagining alternatives, and building desired futures.

Emily's award-winning handmade artist books, zines, & publications (including Muffin Bones zine, Memorytown USA zine, Parfait zine, artist books under her former imprint Red Charming, as well as more recent publications) are collected by over 80 institutions internationally, including the Tate, the Brooklyn Museum, the V&A, & the Smithsonian, & are exhibited around the world. Her work has received accolades from the AIGA (50 Books | 50 Covers), the Type Directors Club (TDC) (The World's Best Typography), and the Connecticut Art Directors Club (CADC) (Gold & Silver awards in Book Design, Spirit of Creativity Award), and the College Book Art Association (University of Utah Purchase Prize). She graduated from Yale School of Art with an MFA in Graphic Design and is currently Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

Emily learned letterpress printing as an apprentice to Robin Price while an undergraduate at Wesleyan University, & she served on the Board of Booklyn Artists Alliance for eight years. She has taught at every education level from after-school program through MFA, & has presented about her work at dozens of institutions. From 2009-2019 she was Chair of Graphic Design at the Shintaro Akatsu School of Design (SASD) at the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, where she established SASD Design Service, a sliding-scale, community-oriented, student-run, award-winning design studio. She has also taught at Colorado College, Wesleyan University, SUNY Purchase College, Visual Studies Workshop, Anhui Polytechnic University (Anhui, Wuhu, China) and Ludong University (Yantai, Ludong, China).

Emily's studio RCHQ is located in the American Fabrics Building in Bridgeport, CT. Subscribe to the (infrequent, promise!) RCHQ New News newsletter and / or follow on Instagram to hear about new publications and projects. You can read her writing about bookmaking on the CBAA's Book Art Theory Blog.

Say hello at [email protected].

Emily Larned at ILSSA Implement exhibition, VSW, 2017