Elizabeth Ashcroft


You can often find her work included in shows at the Studio Gallery and the Arc Gallery here in San Francisco and at the Bright Side Gallery on Kauai, Hawaii. She was recently included in shows at the Healdsburg Center for the Arts and the Yosemite Museum. Nationally, she is represented by Vamp & Tramp, Booksellers, LLC, who have placed her altered books in the Shakespeare Collection in the Library of the University of Denver and the McCabe Library, Swarthmore College Library, Swarthmore, PA.. Annually, she participates in Artspan Open Studios and features her North Beach Drawing series at seasonal festivals including both the North Beach Festival and the Festa Italiana Coloniale.

One of her altered books from the Word Garden series, Oh Henry (II), has been published in 36th Edition Berkeley Fiction Review.

In addition to the altered books, Elizabeth works in a variety of other media such as  painting, drawing and mixed media collage.


The Dissected Library is the title I have bestowed upon my ongoing series of altered books. I find the literal board-paper-thread-glue-ink-word essence of the book offers a unique platform to cut into, build onto and burst out of in both two and three dimensional forms. The process is quite intimate, not unlike the reading of a book, where pages are touched, pierced, cut and sewn; words scanned and considered. There is something deeply satisfying about physically carving into the depth of a book; about taking an existing work of art and giving it a new context; about bringing together found words and images from disparate sources and to orchestrate them intonew creative relationships. The duality of the book as both a visual object and a conduit for ideas is a source of constant inspiration.

I use every facet of the book as a building block to create both wall and freestanding sculptural pieces. In the Open Bookseries, I peruse the pages and choose words and phrases to cutand fold and spill out of the permanently fanned open book leafs – my own form of editing if you will. An opportunity to create a new fluttering narrative of randomly chosen segments of someone else’s story – not a formal narrative but one where one’s eye flicks among the words, finding unique links between the strips, and thus in turn, connecting and reconnecting into subsequent narrative tiers. In addition to the essence of the word play, their physical presence creates interesting spatial relationships, patterns and shadows.

In the Word Garden series, I’ve culled words from within the books and brought them out of the book to hover on slender stems like flowers growing in a garden of ideas. Themes are variously inspired by the book titles, words that catch my eye again and again, a phrase that randomly forms as the culled words lay in juxtaposition to each other on the word palette….I like the tension as they float above the surface alongside small patches of color that thread their way among, beside and around the words adding visual melody while their shadows create ever changing patterns below.

The Puzzle Book series are composed of discarded library books donated to me by the Francisco Middle School librarian. Many of these out-dated books had covers of primary colors – I found myself especially drawn to the many shades of red and those with vintage patterns. I proceeded to cut them into pieces and then repurposed them as building blocks to form abstract configurations.


1983 Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA, BFA, Printmaking
Selected Exhibitions
Macro I Micro: Site to Psyche, Avenue 12 Gallery, SF, CA
Squared Alumni 2017, Arc Gallery, SF, CA
City Scape, Studio Gallery, SF, CA
Boundaries & Balance, ACCI Gallery, Berkeley, CA
Snap, Arc Gallery, SF CA Night Light, Studio Gallery, SF, CA
Artspan Juried Auction, SOMArts Cultural Center, SF, CA
New Museum Los Gatos Store, Los Gatos, CA
Tiny, Studio Gallery, SF, CA
Delicious, Studio Gallery, SF, CA
Plus One, Studio Gallery, SF, CA
Look! Book Art, the Healdsburg Center for the Arts
Solidarity-Unity-Acceptance, 111 Minna Gallery, SF, CA
Artspan Juried Auction, SOMArts Cultural Center, SF, CA
Curated State, Exhibition & Real Estate Staging, SF, CA
Four Squared 2015, Arc Gallery, SF, CA
Bound & Unbound III: Altered Book Show, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD
Yosemite Renaissance 31, Yosemite Museum Gallery, Yosemite, CA
Artspan Juried Auction, SOMArts Cultural Center, SF, CA
Absence and Presence, SF Center for the Book, SF, CA
In Other Words, Pop-Up Gallery @ Autobody Fine Arts, Alameda, CA
ABZ etcetera, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA
The Dissected Library, solo show, Market Street Gallery, SF, CA
Smithsonian American Art and Portraiture Gallery Library, Art Book Collection, Washington D.C.
University of Denver Library, Shakespeare Collection, Denver, CO
Swarthmore College Library, McCabe Library, Swarthmore, PA
2012 College of Arts and Sciences Award, 34th Annual Mini Works on Paper Show, Jacksonville, FL
2010 Certificate of Honor, Community Artist & Visionary, SF Board of Supervisors
2009 “Best of the Bay” Award for “Art in the Alley”, Bay Guardian
2005 Fior d’Italia Prize, North Beach Festival
Other Professional
2001-2010 Founder, Organizer & Exhibitor, “Art in the Alley”, SF, CA
2001-2004 Art columnist, The North Beach Journal

Avenue 12 Gallery

1101 Lake Street at 12th Avenue

San Francisco CA 94118