A conversation with

Studio Resident,

Alexa Joan Wajed

Our current Main Gallery and Studio Gallery exhibitors take a self-reflective approach to their exhibitions. Blueming Onion, by our Studio Gallery Exhibitor Alexa Joan Wajed, is a collection of screenprints, journals and earrings reminiscent of a blooming onion. 

Alexa Joan Wajed

How did you get involved with Book Arts?

My husband and I became familiar with Book Arts at its inception, when we ran an art gallery on Elmwood Avenue. We started to become more involved with Book Arts when Gail Nicholson became the executive director. In 2016 Edreys, my husband, had an art exhibit there and we have been connected through the arts since then.

What inspired you to merge your visual and culinary work together in this exhibition?

I have always struggled to pick one vocation, because that is what I was raised on – only concentrate on one thing in order to be really successful – is what I was told.

Well guess what…. We literally ‘Eat Off Art’ so I wanted to figured out a way to bring my loves together for this exhibit.
The layers in my image remind me of a blooming onion. The thought of an onion and its layers describes not just me and my family, but everyone around us. We have so much to offer, and you discover that layer by layer.

What do you want audiences to gain from your exhibition?

I want the audiences to see and share what they see in my artwork. I want them to be inspired to find how many layers they have and to let them BLUEM (bloom) into something wonderful. Even if it is just for them.

Did you incorporate any new practices that you learned from Book Arts into your work?

I incorporated screen printing into my art practice and I am in love! I really didn’t think my style of art would lend to screen printing and Rosemary told me I could draw my artwork onto transparencies to create the screen…. I was blown away. Then I got really excited when I started screen printing on leather, which is the material I use for my Fleather Earrings and it is a game changer.
I really wanted to incorporate letter press into my work, but this time I decided to explore one thing at a time and really take it in and enjoy it.

What was your biggest takeaway from your Studio Residency?

My biggest takeaway from the residency was that I need time and space to create. I need something in my daily schedule which is just for me. No deadlines, no expectations, no budgets, no structure – sometime to simply figure out how I want to express myself with no outside noise!
We are constantly taking things in, sometimes without realizing it. Cell phones, TV, billboards, magazines, etc…we take in so much that is it hard to find our own voice.


“The thought of an onion and its layers describes not just me and my family, but everyone around us. We have so much to offer, and you discover that layer by layer.”

This blog post was written by Book Arts Gallery Assistant, Nina Grenga. Nina is currently getting her Master’s at the University at Buffalo in Critical Museum Studies with a concentration in Arts Management.