Published April 13, 2020

“In this time of physical isolation, we don’t have to be socially distanced”

Our Book Center’s Member’s Project Landed Here!
Participation is Open to Anyone and Everyone.
Please engage online and share widely.

The word “quarantine” derives from the French/Italian meaning (generally) “a period of forty days” (more on the origin at the end of the email)

Many of us, those who are not providing essential services in this time of pandemic, are social isolating or distancing in our homes. We can’t run out to the store and get some art supplies, we don’t have the structure of our normal routines and habits, there might be many emotions and responses that arise in response to what is happening in the world around us: a few feet from us, to thousands of miles away.

This project asks you, in this time of pandemic and quarantine, to take up what you are experiencing in this strange new world.

How are you creatively working with your isolation/quarantine?

This is not limited to writing, letterpress, printmaking, bookmaking.
What around you, in your home, or just outside of it, is your method of responding creatively?
Are you out of ink and have a plethora of ketchup to print with?
Are you using elements from the natural world around you?
Is your world reflected on the skin of a dried bean, or a grain of rice?

The spirit of this project is connection / sharing / inspiring / supporting.

Please share questions, thoughts, photos, process, development, works-in-progress with us and the creative community!

How? Social Media!

Tag #QuarantaArtProject

Please join the VA Book Arts Facebook Group at and post and share what you’re working on under the topic “Quaranta Art Project”.

And/or post on Instagram using the hashtags
#QuarantaArtProject  and #vabookcenter  also #virginiacenterforthebook    #virginiabookarts

We will be soliciting items (with permission from the artist/creator) that are actually made (and shareable) from this process.
The goal is 40 works, to eventually be part of a show/display, someday, in the future, when we can safely be together again.

Be well,
Book Arts Coordinating Committee
Virginia Center for the Book

**”The intersection of Italian and French influences contributed to the introduction of the word quarantine in English. Initially, the French word quarantaine (“about forty”) was borrowed in the late 1400s with the meaning “a period of forty days,” a biblical reference, originally referring to the period of time Jesus spent fasting in the desert. It came to have a broader application to a period of forty days that had religious significance, such as penance, or the delay of implementation of a legal agreement. Then, in the early 1600s, the meaning “isolation of a ship to protect the port city from potential disease” began to be used in English, from the Italian word quarantena, which had been used in this way since the 14th century.” (from Merriam Webster)


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