Born in 1952 in Palo Alto, CA, Donald Farnsworth received a BFA from the SF Art Institute in 1974 and an MA from UC Berkeley in 1977. Farnsworth is known internationally as an artist, master printmaker, an authority on the history and manufacture of handmade paper, and more recently as an innovator in digital technology and weaving techniques. He designed and led the building of a handmade paper mill for Nyumba Ya Sanaa, a nonprofit in Tanzania and has taught art at universities for many years. In 1981 he founded Magnolia Editions, a fine art publishing company and collaborative studio in Oakland, CA. His work is in collections including: The Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts, San Francisco, CA; The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; The Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, IL; The National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.; The David & Lucile Packard Foundation; the City of Berkeley; and The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.
As director of Magnolia Editions, Farnsworth has developed techniques which have revived and expanded the possibilities of processes including photogravure and tapestry, innovations which have led to Magnolia publications by artists including Alex Katz, Ed Moses, and Ralph Goings. Since 2005 Farnsworth has worked with Chuck Close to produce works in various experimental media, the most well-known of which are Close's tapestry editions translated from dageurreotype photographs.
- Origin: Specimens, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV, 2011; Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, CA, 2007.
- The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama. Brukenthal Museum, Sibiu, Romania, 2010; Nobel Museum, Stockholm, Sweden, 2010; Hillside Terrace, Daikanyama, Tokyo, Japan, 2008; Frost Art Museum, Miami, Florida, 2009-10; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, 2007-8.
- Envisioning Change; Melting Ice - Hot Topic. Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois, 2008; BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium, 2007-8; Nobel Peace Center, Oslo, Norway, 2007.
- Thangka: Tapestries by Donald & Era Farnsworth, Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, 2008
- Magnolia Tapestry Project, Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, Fort Collins, Colorado, 2008
- A Guide to Japanese Papermaking, 1997
- Momigami, 1997
- MA, University of California, Berkeley, 1977
- BFA, San Francisco Art Institute, 1974
- Chemistry/printmaking, Laney College, 1973
- The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1972