Elsi Vassdal-Ellis – A Selection of Saints


c. 2019
edition of: 4
dimensions: 12 x 8.5 x 4

for those Seeking Guidance & Comfort during this Chaotic Time in the United States & the White House

While grazing in an antique shop I found a very loved 1887 copy of Pictorial Lives of the Saints. The saints were each presented by their day with the usual biographies. Also included with each saint was a reflection upon the saint’s relevance in the believer’s daily life. As a current affair’s junkie, I decided to follow this approach and create my own book of saints that I believed had relevance for today’s politics. Referencing medieval manuscript proportions and patterns I chose to draw upon my 40 years of accumulated fat quarters, notions, buttons, ribbons, and findings that had been used in medieval binding workshops to create a rich and chaotic looking book. The narrative follows the same format as the 1887 book but with text limited to 13 lines (referencing the American flag). There are 48 saints, one awkwardly added at the last minute onto the back endpage.


fabric, beads, buttons, ribbon, thread, findings, embellishments

About the artist:

Elsi Vassdal Ellis is an alchemist and storyteller. Narratives are distilled from diverse sources to emerge in book form. (current affairs, common experiences, memories, the physicality of the material world, and found objects, with a preference for primary sources). She has produced 148 editions and 127 unique books since 1983 in a well-equipped studio. Her work is permanently housed in over 135 collections including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Yale University Library, and The Wiener Library for the Study of Holocaust and Genocide.


Elsi Vassdal-Ellis – A Selection of Saints