Miriam Schaer


As an artist engaged with the book format, I work with a variety of non-traditional materials: fabric, clothing, found objects. I transfer, draw and stitch my texts. Using the language of clothing is the startin point for the books and objects I create.

Baby (Not) on Board: The Last Prejudice? addresses why so many people are angered by women who choose childlessness. The work is part of an ongoing exploration of our culture’s pejorative views about women without kids. Using red thread to create scarlet letters, I hand-embroidered representative negative comments on baby dresses. The statements taunt and accuse. Gathered from interviews with childless women, online research, and personal experience, the comments are typical of an endless flow of critical statements that seem to be growing bolder, even as non-traditional families are gaining greater acceptance.

Rules of Engagement, is a series of twenty hostess aprons. Each apron has transferred images idealized women, and is hand embroidered with quotes from Sun Tsu’s The Art of War, which I stumbled upon in an airport book store some years ago-aimed at business travelers. I thought, why not place Sun Tsu, and his strategies in a more domestic context.

Recently I have taken the entire series and put them together in a digitally printed book.

The Posioner’s Kiss was an installation, comprised of floating doll dresses, hanging in space, above a blanket of fallen leaves to create a forest of lost childhood. Each dress has quotes from classic fairy tales embroidered around its hem, and is printed with iconic images that reflect each quote. The quotes reflect the darker side of the tales, the anxiety of childhood and the fear of the unknown which color the unromaticized side of childhood. The background murals are made of the eyes of street children, who are the witnesses, unable to speak

Miriam Schaer, a Brooklyn-based multimedia book artist, uses garments to explore feminine, social, and spiritual issues. She is represented in numerous collections, including the Alan Chasanoff Book Arts Collection at the Yale Museum and Arts of the Book Collection at Yale’s Sterling Library; the Mata & Arthur Jaffe Collection: Book as Aesthetic Object at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; Harvard University and the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History & Culture, Duke University, Durham, NC.

Her work has earned a NYFA Artists Fellowship, inclusion in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for the Feminist Art Base at the Brooklyn Museum, and representation at the Cheongju International Craft Biennale in South Korea. In 2007, she was an artist in residence for the Imagining the Book Biennale at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt.

Her series, Baby (Not) On Board: The Last Prejudice?, about society’s prejudice against women without children, was included in MAMA-Motherhood Around the Globe at The International Museum of Women, and was featured on and the Huffington Post. Her interactive project What’s Your Baby? seeks to reframe the question why don’t you have children? in order to honor and respect everyone’s choices.

She is currently the Acting Director and a Lecturer in the Interdisciplinary MFA Program in Book and Paper at Columbia College Chicago.

Miriam Schaer’s Website

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