I worked as a book illustrator in a publishing department of Digital Equipment Corporation, an international computer company, beginning in high school during summers between academic years in college.
In college I studied etching, painting, and art history at RISD, Smith College, and Syracuse University. After graduating with a BFA in Printmaking, I worked full-time in DEC’s Educational Publishing Department. There I extended my education in hand-pulled prints into commercial 4-color offset litho. Later I completed the circle by learning to make handmade books.
REQUEST, UPPER BIG BRANCH
Laraine Armenti, artist; Jacob Strautmann, author
I made limited edition artist’s books for the Boston University Poetry Project, an annual MFA degree candidate event. Artists are paired by chance with a current or former poet from the BU writing department. The artist interprets one or several poems in collaboration with the author.
Jacob Strautmann wrote ‘Request, Upper Big Branch’ in response to the April 5, 2010 coal mining disaster in West Virginia. Twenty-nine men died in a coal dust explosion. Massey Energy Corporation was found guilty of flagrant violations of Mine Safety and Health Administration regulations with tacit approval by government inspectors.
The poem uses italics to quote a government document that stipulated ‘Removal of the mantrips shall only take place under the direct supervision of an Authorized Representative of the Mine Safety and Health Administration.’ A ‘mantrip’ is a small vehicle, also referred to as a Jitney Personnel Carrier, used to transport people into and out of the mine. The Ellis Portal is the opening in the ground used to access the mine.
I made four unique hardcover books with portfolio sleeves, typeset in Adobe Garamond Pro, text printed with Epson Stylus Photo 1400 printer on Arches Aquarelle 90 lb hot press paper, sumi ink paintings, with end papers and end caps hand painted in methyl cellulose acrylic paint.
9″ x 6″, 24 pages, Copyright 2012
THE MEDITATIONS OF RABBIT AND PIERROT
Laraine Armenti, author, illustrator & designer
The Meditations of Rabbit and Pierrot is a picture book of original gouache paintings. The book is a wordless narrative of two characters, a toy rabbit and a silk costumed doll. Each start out in isolated reveries until the two meet — Rabbit, a happy-go-lucky bon-vivant, and Pierrot, a naive and questioning clown.
Paperback, 6″ x 8″, 24 pages, Copyright 2010
$18 plus shipping, handling, and applicable tax
Produced in part while in residence at The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
WATER IS RISING IN THE CLASSROOM:
TRUE TERROR DREAMS OF TEACHERS
Laraine Armenti, illustrator & designer; Elliot Lilien, author
Water is Rising in the Classroom: True Terror Dreams of Teachers is a collection of nightmares of actual teachers. Teachers in classrooms K-12 were interviewed in seventeen schools in three states to gather the nightmares for the book. The stress brought on by teaching is evident in the dreams. Teachers are afraid they will lose control, be humiliated, have no preparation, or be put in charge of students who could not be handled by anyone. Teachers in all schools surveyed admitted to having the dreams, there being no apparent difference in the nature of the dreams experienced by men and women, teachers in wealthy versus less wealthy schools, or public versus independent schools. The book is interesting and humorous, and reveals the pressures teachers experience.
Paperback, 7″ x 8″, 98 pages, 37 black and white illustrations, Copyright 2004
$11 plus shipping, handling and applicable tax
BEES GO BUZZING AND OTHER ANIMAL SONGS
Laraine Armenti, illustrator & designer
Jim Armenti, song writer & musician
A book and cassette of eight animal songs with lyrics illustrated in black sumi ink: Cats, Chickens, Worms, Bees Go Buzzing, Cows, Duck, Skunk, and the Elephant.
Cassette and Illustrated Book,
7″ x 5.5″, 20 pages, Copyright 1992
From Eniac to Univac: An Appraisal of the Eckert-Mauchly Computers
By Nancy Stern
Illustrated by Laraine Armenti
This book is a case study in the history of electronic digital computers focusing on two men who made significant technical contributions to the field and on the institutional, technological, scientific, and economic problems they faced along the way. Contains the complete “First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC” by John von Neumann.
Society of Technical Communication Award of Excellence, 1982
Hard cover, 9.5″ x 7.5″, 296 pages
Digital Equipment Corporation, Digital Press, Copyright 1981
CONCORD: ITS BLACK HISTORY: 1636 — 1860
Illustrated by Laraine Armenti and Carolyn King
Prepared by Barbara K. Elliot and Janet W. Jones
A history book aimed at teaching children about free African Americans who lived, worked, and died in Concord, Massachusetts from 1636 to 1860.
Soft cover illustrated book, 8.75″ x 6″
132 pages, Copyright 1976
The Robbins House
Concord’s African American history project has since developed into The Robbins House, a museum with educational programs, located in Concord opposite The Old Manse and the North Bridge.