handmade paper & artist books by lisa miles


Holle Award for Excellence in Book Arts


I am honored to have been awarded the 2018 Holle Award for Excellence in Book Arts for my book Codex Chup Cabal. This work was completed at the University of Iowa Center for the Book as part of my MFA thesis. The Holle Award for Excellence in Book Arts is a nationally juried award given by The University of Alabama College of Communication & Information Sciences.

One juror commented that, “Lisa Miles’ book Codex Chup Cabal demonstrates a considerable degree of historical and technical research, in harmony with a strong conceptual foundation, and a finesse of craft. Made out of bark paper, the work seeks to bring attention to pre-Columbian Mayan book works dismissed and destroyed by European colonists. Five hundred years later, these indigenous methods of papermaking are still being dismissed through a Euro-centric notion of what constitutes “true paper.” Codex Chup Cabal puts aside these flimsy definitions by highlighting the technical craft of bark paper as equal to any other method, and asks viewers to contemplate aspects of shared human experience universal to all cultures. Miles’ dedication to studying a wide range of cross-cultural paper making techniques through her studies at the University of Iowa, and time spent both in Mexico and Indonesia, demonstrate a strong commitment to the field of book arts.”

The jurors comments are humbling, and also validating. I feel they understand the work and my intentions as a maker. Thanks to the University of Alabama, the jurors, the Caxton Club who supported my thesis work, and all of my colleagues at the UI Center for the Book.

Lisa MilesComment