Elsi Vassdal Ellis – Old McDonald Had a Farm


© 2018
edition of 60
dimensions in inches: 5 x 5 x .13

about this piece

During an excursion to Peru and Ecuador, one traveler refused to eat ceviche because it took him two years of chelation therapy to recover from mercury poisoning since he only ate fish as his protein. Back home I returned to my examination of life in the United States from 1920 to 1940, focusing on farming. This book examines the significant changes that have occurred in farming, moving from the small family farm to the industrialization of farming practices, especially to produce larger and more product in shorter time with the decrease in consideration for the quality, health and well-being of the animals in the production chain. Not only have these changes altered the treatment of the animals, humans are also impacted by them with potential health consequences for what we consume in the food chain. If we are what we eat, then we should be concerned about what goes into what we eat. The lyrics to “Old McDonald had a Farm” have been altered and adjusted to work within the structure.

Engraved illustrations drawn from 19th century sources have been colorized for this edition.


paper, ink

About the artist:

Lives in Bellingham, Washington, United States

Elsi Vassdal Ellis taught design production and book arts for 40 years, retiring June 2017. She established EVE Press in 1983 and has produced over 141 editions via offset, letterpress and digital printing, and 127 unique books employing a variety of techniques and materials. Her work is permanently housed in many public collections including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, New York City Public Library, Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Grabhorn Collection in the San Francisco Public Library, and Arts of the Book Collection in the Yale University Library.

About Alicia Bailey


Elsi Vassdal Ellis – Old McDonald Had a Farm