Nicole Cotten

Nicole Cotten


When life comes crashing down, as it does, the best advice I’ve been given to deal with the chaos is to take it one small piece at a time. Improve yourself, your situation, your work one percent at a time. I have been using this method in my work for years and didn’t recognize it until the 2020 pandemic ripped apart my comfortable weekly routine. I’ve always been fixated on details and how they fit together like a puzzle to create a whole, how the monotony of stringing one glass bead at a time becomes soothing.

My beaded masks have nothing to do with my education or career. They are something that came from the comfort of routine. They combine two fragile materials, paper and glass, to create the face of resilient and intelligent predators. My love for details parallels my love of bookbinding. The big concepts are secondary to the materials and construction.

My background in painting led me to book arts when I created my own

sketchbook for a drawing class. The satisfaction of creating this functional object and filling it completely ended up driving me to earn an MFA in book arts. I find book arts to be the deepest form of art. Books themselves are deeply rooted in human history and have had many transformations over the centuries. They hold our history and stories. They are filled with love, but cause riots. The potential is unbounded.

Nicole Cotten is a fine artist obsessed with details. Originally a painter, holding a BFA in painting from the University of Colorado Denver, Nicole blended her drawing and painting skills with her new found love of bookbinding and earned her MFA in book arts from the University of Iowa Center for the Book. After graduation she worked for an independent art restoration company for two years before she launched her own company, The Fore Edge, LLC. in May, 2020.

Nicole Cotten was featured in our Female Alchemy show June 5 - September 5, 2021.