Claire Owen

Claire Owen is a painter, book-artist and poet, living and working Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received degrees in illustration and printmaking from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester New York where she grew up. She moved to Philadelphia in 1977 and established her own imprint, Turtle Island Press which produced fine print, limited edition artists books.

In her bookwork, Owen is primarily interested in developing a narrative, using the book in its traditional craft form, including hand printings and hand binding.

In her painting she maintains an interest narrative, by exploring cautionary tales once told to children, now carried forward in the fairy tales of children’s literature. These tales, she believes, have settled into our collective imagination, remaining with us as adults. We nod with recognition at the twist of fear in the child lost in the forest. We can admire the cunning children use to see themselves safely away from the predators jaws. She often use the forest as a setting for her paintings, and as a character itself. From European folk tales to contemporary literature, the forest remains in our imagination a place where the real and fabled intersect.

Claire Owen: Paintings, Poetry, Bookwork


Museums, Public Libraries

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

National Gallery, Washington, DC

The Gutenberg Museum, Mainz, Germany

Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Cairo, Egypt

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC

New York Public Library, Spencer Collection & Special Collections, NY, NY

The Getty Center for History of Arts and Humanities, Santa Monica, CA

Philadelphia Free Library, Philadelphia, PA

Lenhardt Library of the Botanical Gardens of Chicago, Rare Book Collection, Chicago, Ill

University Libraries

Yale University, Sterling Library, Art of the Book Collection, New Haven CT

Princeton University, Firestone Library, Princeton, NJ

Harvard University, The Fine Arts Library and The Houghton Library

Smith College, Mortimer Rare Book Room, Northampton, MA

Columbia University, Loew Library, NY, NY

Trinity College, Watkinson Library, Hartford, CT

Swarthmore College, McCabe Library, Swarthmore, PA

University of Delaware, Morris Library, Wilmington, DE

Temple University, Paley Library, Phil. PA

Stanford University, Green Library,

UCLA Santa Barbara, Davison Library, Cal

UCLA Los Angles, Young Research Library, CA

University of Arizona Library, Tucson, AZ

Wellesley Collage Library, Wellesley MA

University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Commonwealth University, James Branch Cabell Library, Richmond, VA

Rochester Institute of Technology, Cary Collection, Rochester, NY

University of Vermont, Baley/Howe Memorial Library, Burlington, VT

Wesleyan University, Olin Library, Middletown, CT

Texas Tech University, Southwest Collection,

University of Arizona, Tucson AZ


Guest panelist at Getty Center, LA CA, 6/13/2019

  • Public program as part of exhibit, “Book of Beasts, the Bestiary in the Medieval World”
  • As artist in exhibit, invited to discuss how/why I use animals in my work

2009 – 2015: Tyler School of Art, Foundation Department: 2D Foundation course for freshmen, fall and spring semester

1987-2018: Drexel University, adjunct in Media Art Department teaching elective course for Junior and senior design students, “Bookmaking”. Course explores the handmade book as an art and design format including binding structures and word/image/page relationships

1987 – 2011: Philadelphia University, adjunct in Foundation Department teaching courses in Design Foundations One, Two and Three, Drawing One and Two.

1975 – present:  Proprietor, Turtle Island Press private press specializing in limited edition artist books


2010 – 2011- Juror for Samuel Fleisher Challenge Exhibition

1997-2001 President of Board of Nexus Foundation for Today’s Art

1993 Curator with Suzanne Horvitz of “Unique Books” an exhibit of artists books at Nexus Gallery Phil. PA

1991-96 Chairman of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers


2013 Chosen for Artist in Residency at the Scuola Internazionale Di Grafica, in Venice IT

2007 Proposal chosen for “Paring Project” developed by the Philadelphia Center for the Book. I worked with  the Wagner Free Institute in developing the piece ” A Cabinet of Curiosities” which is shown on this site under Unique Bookworks

2002 Independence Foundation Individual Artist Fellowship

2001 Fleisher Art Memorial Challenge Exhibition

1991 Artist in Residence, British American Arts Council, travel grant to UK

1987 Philadelphia-Tainjin Artist Travel Grant, City of Phil Dept. of Art and Culture