I came to book arts through painting. I wanted to make a painting in book form, that would "read" like a book where each page was complete, only to reveal itself as part of a painting at the end. I found that, because of the familiar book form, there was an immediate contact with the observer. The book became neutral ground and allowed communication.

Gradually I have become more involved with other aspects of making books. Printmaking, text, and combining text with image, all the problems of making it all come together and make it whole. – Frances Watson


Frances Watson grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Southern California with a BFA. After moving to Houston, she continued her painting at the Museum of Art. Later, she moved to Boston where she was included in many exhibits and active in the art community. Gradually her interests went to print making and artists books. When she moved back to California she became one of the founding members of the San Diego Book Arts. Her books have appeared in exhibits both on the East and West coast exhibits, and have been included in many private and university collections.



Art Center School, Los Angeles, CA
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Museum School, Museum of Art, Houston,TX


Art instructor, Attleboro Museum, Attleboro, MA
Art Instructor, Spring Valley School, Houston, TX
Founder of the San Diego Book Arts. President 1996 and 1997


2009 Bright Hill Press. Fran Watson Artist Books. Treadwell, NY
  beyond WORDS/book fest 2009. Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences. NJ
2008-09  Shelter, sponsered by Boston Book Arts, traveling exhibit
2008 Space Place Life, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY
  Paper in Particular, Columbia University, Columbia , MO
2007 Sense and Sensuality, 23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, OR
  6th Biennial Artists Books Exhibition, Athenaeum Library of Music and Art. La Jolla, CA
  Bright Hill Press Juried Book Arts Exhbit.Treadwell, NY
2006 SDBA First National Juried Exhibition. UCSD. San Diego, CA
  Japanese Friendship Garden Artist Book Exhibit. Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
  PCBA Bookworks '06. San Francisco Public Library. San Francisco, CA
2005 The Elements. Hunterdon Museum of Art. Clinton, NJ

5th Biennial Book Arts Show. Cambridge Artists Cooperative. Cambridge MA

2004 The Living Room Project. Wichita Museum of Art. Wichita, KS
  Santa Fe/San Diego Exchange show. Community College Gallery. Santa Fe, NM
2003 PCBA Biennial Members Exhibit. San Francisco Public Library. San Francisco, CA
  Telephone Show. FiberArts Gallery, La Jolla, CA
  Beyond Reading. Elipse Arts Center, Arlington VA
  San Diego Book Arts. Durango Arts Center, Durango, CO
2002 Japanese Friendship Garden Book Exhibit. Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
  River Show. Mission Valley Library, San Diego, CA
  6th Annual Artist Book Exhibit. San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
2001 PCBA Members Exhibit. San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA
  4th Biennial Book Arts Show, Cambridge Artists Cooperative, Cambridge, MA
2000 Beyond Words. Fiber Arts Gallery, La Jolla, CA
  Biennial Artists Books Juried Exhibition. Athenaeum Library of Music and Art. La Jolla, CA
1999 Books, Maps and Journals. Sebastopal Center for the Arts. Sebastopol, CA
  PCBA Members Exhibit. San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA
  San Diego Book Arts Exhibit. San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
1998 Story Telling. Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minniapolis, MN
  FACET Artist Book National II. Taos, NM
1997 Beautiful Beasts. Center for Book Arts, New York, NY
1996 Artist Books Juried Exhibition. Athenaeum Library, La Jolla, CA
  Paper in Particular. Columbia College, Columbia, MO
1995 2nd National Open Juried Exhibit. Long Beach, CA
1994 ARC National Artist Made Books, ARC. Chicago, IL
  1st National Open Juried Exhibit. Long Beach, CA
1992 Arizona Aqueous VI. Center for the Arts, Tubac, AZ (Work selected by the Arizona Council for the Arts for a traveling exhibition.)
  Artist Books. Marion Art Center, Marion, MA
1986 East Meets West, Copley Society, Boston, MA
  Artists Books Invitational, Clark Gallery, Lincoln, MA
1983 Works on Paper, Kingston Gallery, Boston, MA


Lamson Library, Plymouth State University, Plymough, NH
Trinity College, Watkinson Library, Endear Ornithology College, Hartford, CT
Bradley University, Cullom Davis Library. Special Collections, Peoria, IL
Dartmouth College, Stone Art Library, Hanover, NH
Ringling School of Art and Design, Kimbrough Library, Sarasota, FL
University of Indiana, Fine Arts Library, Bloomington, IN
Cerritos Public Library, Cerritos, CA
UCLA Young Research Library, Los Angeles, CA
UC Santa Barbara, Davidson Library Special Collections, Santa Barbara, CA
Cal Poly, Special Collections, San Luis Obispo, CA
Scripps College, Ella Strong Denison Library. Claremont, CA
UC San Diego, Mandeville Special Collections. La Jolla, CA
University of San Diego, Special Collections. San Diego, CA


Bound and Lettered. Volume 8, 2010
Artist Book News. Fall 2008
500 Handmade Books. Lark Books. 2008


Vamp and Tramp, Birmingham, AL
Graficas Gallery, Nantucket, MA