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Julie Marie Ables


Julie Marie Ables grew up in San Francisco with books stuffed in her backpack & pens always in hand. In 2012, Julie earned her BFA in Fine Arts with a concentration in Printmaking, Paper, and Book Arts from Memphis College of Art in Tennessee. Her work has been exhibited internationally in galleries, including shows at North/South Gallery in Oakland, CA, Marshal Arts in Memphis, TN, The Overture Center in Madison, WI, and the SRISA Gallery of Contemporary Art in Florence, Italy. After earning her BFA, Julie relocated back to the San Francisco Bay Area where she apprenticed at several print shops before deciding to return to academia to further her studies in book & letterpress in 2013. She is now in her third and final year at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. During her time at UW Madison, she has worked in book arts, letterpress and ceramics & is currently exploring the relation between the three mediums. In the spring of 2015, Julie earned her MA in Studio Arts and is expected to graduate in the spring of 2016 with her MFA in Book Arts and Letterpress. Currently, Julie is a personal assistant to Jim Escalante, helping facilitate and teach both letterpress and book arts classes at the University. Additionally, she works as a printing assistant at Silver Buckle Press under Tracy Honn. When Julie isn’t spending time at work or in class, you can always find her around the studio somewhere knee deep in paper pulp, bound up in books, and covered in clay.


The pull of tension, the agony of anxiety, the quiet whispers of strangers — all of these form a nomenclature of apprehension that is often the elephant-in-the-room of social norms. By harnessing the never-ending predicament of inward distress, I bring to light the common language of anxiety through the use of form and process. By choosing bookmaking, letterpress, papermaking, and ceramics as mediums, I am able to translate the elements of often-ignored mental health disorders into a common lexicon. Each of the processes I work with demands an incredible amount of time, effort, repetition, and attention that is all at once both overwhelming and exceptionally deliberate. By tapping into my own agitation I seek to create a visual narrative through which one can better understand an array of widespread, common mental illnesses through alluring yet unnerving forms.


Clamshell box, handmade papers, letterpress, screenprint


Light-switch Disintegrated

Hand-set type, porcelain, anger


Disintegrated combines old editions of prayer card from a previous show, False Idols (2015) that have been dipped into porcelain and fired. What remains is the shell of the prayer — a prayer meant to keep troubles at bay — forever fossilized and contained within it’s delicate ceramic shell.

I can't speak to it, it isn’t there anymore.

handmade paper, letterpress, glazed porcelain, regret


Anymore is the erasure of four hand-bound books, each with its’ own record of misgivings. Dipped in porcelain slip and fired, what remains are fragile pages trapped between 

Inv. No. 01410

hand-bound book, handmade paper, tally-marks


All that I have left

handmade paper with watermarks, lithography, letterpress imagery


I Keep Trying to Make Things Right for Once

letterpress, unfired porcelain, handmade paper, hand-bound books, found objects


Originally displayed together as an installation. The books were hand-bound and then dipped in porcelain slip. 

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