Tia Blassingame

October 9, 2012

Tia Blassingame

Photo: Kate Warren

Hometown: New Haven, CT
Undergraduate: Princeton
Year of Graduation: 1993
Major: Architecture
Currently Studying: Art and the Book


When Tia began to lose interest in her career in construction project management, she brainstormed things that made her happy and excited. She thought back to the day she learned how to set and use type properly. Two hours into a class at the Center for Book Arts in New York City, she knew she had found her new field. She knew she wanted to make a bigger commitment to the field and searched for MA programs. “I picked the Corcoran,” she says, “because of the academic nature of the program and its close proximity to the Library of Congress and other research opportunities.

When starting at the Corcoran she enjoyed exploring and dabbling in a number of different avenues before choosing her specialization. For her specific interests, she found lithography and etching to be perfect vehicles. One of her favorite classes was on Japanese binding, which resulted in a project where turned prints into a book. In an internship at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, she worked on a project dealing with immigration, which ultimately inspired her thesis—a segregation map of Washington, D.C. Tia looks forward to the many directions where her studies can take her in the future with her newly developed hand skills as well as binding, rebinding, restoration, paper making, letterpress, etching, and lithography.

The National Portrait Gallery is one of Tia’s favorite places in D.C. She finds it intelligent and generous with the room they give the exhibits regardless of the subject matter. “It is always a place that leaves me in awe,” she says, “and best of all it is free!”