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Heather Watkins | Artist's Book Release

Fri, 04/26/2024

Artist's Book Release

Wednesday, May 8, 2024
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
1881 NW Vaughn Street
Portland, Oregon 97209

Please join us for a book release event featuring Heather Watkins’ limited edition artist’s book, Waiting Room.
Please RSVP to

Prompted by an invitation from the Sun Valley Museum of Art, Watkins revisits her embroidered textile series, Waiting Room (Recordings), a body of work made in waiting rooms of one kind or another.

The book features an essay written by author Sarah Sentilles which draws upon conversations she and Watkins have had over many years, exploring illness and repair, loss and recovery, grief, secret forms of communication that arise between women, and the vital and radical act of making art. 

“Heather Watkins’s decision to make both sides of her textile work visible became a structural device for my written response to her art. The terms recto and verso come from printing and refer to the sides of a sheet of paper. Recto is the front; verso is the back. In a bound book laid flat, the recto is on the right; the verso is on the left. Though the language suggests a clear distinction, each can become the other by turning the page. They are inseparable. They—like all of us—need each other.” 

—Sarah Sentilles

High-resolution images appear throughout the book, revealing both sides of Watkins' stitched works—recto and verso—in an alternating rhythm, a dynamic dialogue activated by the turning of the page. We see the rectos in full and the versos close up, a shift in scale that foregrounds what is usually hidden. The turning of the pages of the book echoes the turning of the embroidery hoop, as notions of a “right” and a “wrong” side become irrelevant. It is all worthy of attention, what we see, and what lies just out of our view.

This project was generously supported by the Sun Valley Museum of Art and is presented in conjunction with the recent exhibition Bodies of Work: Art & Healing, curated by Courtney Gilbert. Book design by Heather Watkins. Binding, foil stamping, letterpress printing, and project consultation by Rory Sparks. Printed by Brown Printing, Portland, Oregon. Photography: Mario Gallucci.

Waiting Room
An artist’s book by Heather Watkins with an essay by Sarah Sentilles, 44 pages.
Deluxe edition of 50 in a clothbound folio with foil stamping ($80).
Standard edition of 200 in a letterpress printed glassine sleeve ($40).