The art and craft of bookmaking are my tools for sharing ideas and empowering myself and others. I construct editions of handmade artists books to offer intimate experiences between readers and books. My struggle to understand the complexities of our social world inspires the content of text and images. I also collaborate with artists and writers to publish their work as a way to free the press.

My research and community work revolve around activist print culture and creating opportunities to share skills in book and print making. This involves collaborating with community spaces to hold affordable and accessible classes. It also includes designing and building equipment such as a lightweight letterpress and screen printing press to increase accessibility. 

The Story

Illuminated Press was founded by Laura Rowley in 2015 in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. Laura discovered book arts during her undergraduate studies at Wells College in Aurora, New York. She took a hand bookbinding course with Sarah Bryant and realized a connection between her long time passions of art, craft, books, and writing. After graduating from Wells with an individualized major in book arts, Laura earned an MFA from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. During her final year, she returned to Wells as the Victor Hammer Fellow and complete her thesis project. 

Laura's research and community work revolve around art for social change, specifically Feminist Print Culture. She is interested in how democracy and movements have been supported by printed media. 

Laura is a faculty member Rochester Institute of Technology where she teaches bookbinding. She is also a visiting artist at Hobart and William Smith Colleges for the Fall of 2020 for Crafting Democracy. She teaches workshops at public schools, libraries, community art spaces, and more.


Laura is a founding member of the Open Art Hive in Ithaca, New York where free, inclusive, and recycled art-making takes place. The Art Hives Network connects small and  regenerative  community arts studios together in order to build solidarity across geographic distances and welcomes everyone as an artist.

For any questions or to inquire about a project, please send an email to laurakayrowley@gmail.com.

Check out Laura's CV here.

Book Arts Center at Wells College, Aurora, NY

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