Elizabeth Colwell

Elizabeth Colwell (1881-1954 ) was an American printmaker, typographer, and writer born in Michigan. She attended the Chicago Art Institute, where one of her professors, B.J.O. Nordfeldt, introduced her to Japanese woodblock printing. As a result, she adapted the reductive style of this tradition into a compact visual language that emphasized color, poetry, and simplicity.

In 1909 she published a book of poetry, Songs and Sonnets, which she designed and illustrated herself. She exhibited widely throughout her career, was a member of the Chicago Society of Artists and the Chicago and New York Societies of Etchers.

She worked professionally in advertising and was known for her skill at hand lettering. She was also frequently recognized as a talented innovator in fields traditionally dominated by male designers. Her iconoclastic personality, as well as her love of poetry, has kept her work fresh to modern eyes more than a hundred years later.