Madeline Helland ’18

Madeline Helland ’80 describes how the courses at Scripps in book arts and conservation, along with internships at Scripps and outside the College, assisted her in obtaining her current position.

In 2018 I graduated from Scripps with a double major in art conservation and studio art. The thesis work I completed for these majors was very heavily focused on bookbinding and the history of books. My final exhibition for studio art was centered on a handmade book. For art conservation, I researched a pair of Hindu manuscripts in the collection to determine a provenance based on their illustration style and binding design. A few key experiences during my time at Scripps inspired me to pursue this interest in book history professionally. During Kitty Maryatt’s final semester at Scripps, I enrolled in her course on book arts and letterpress, where I learned how to print and bind books by hand. The following year I completed an internship in the conservation lab at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, treating books and works on paper.

Throughout my time at Scripps, I also learned about the history of mid-century Pomona Valley artists through internships at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, the Pomona College Museum of Art, and the arts education group ARTstART. The knowledge about these artists, my experiences in art history and conservation, and my connections through these internships led me to my first job after graduation. From 2019-2020 I worked as a gallery assistant at Louis Stern Fine Arts, a West Hollywood gallery that represents historic artists such as Karl Benjamin and Alfredo Ramos Martínez, who both had ties to the Claremont Colleges. In addition to my administrative duties, I was able to assist with the research and digitization of materials from artist estates.

In March 2020, I began a new position as the assistant manager of the International Printing Museum in Carson CA. This was an exciting opportunity that combined my interest in collections management, education, and the history of printing and book arts. Shortly after beginning my new role, the museum was forced to close to the public due to Covid-19. However, this period created a unique opportunity for growth and renovation. Most notably, I have been involved in the expansion of the museum’s Book Arts Institute. The museum aims to expand its facilities to include a classroom space and lab for bookbinding, letterpress, and paper arts by October, when we hold the annual LA Printer’s Fair. Once the Book Arts Institute opens, I am excited to be involved in its first year of events and classes.

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