August 16, 2012
On the agenda:
Horizon Exhibit: A Northwest venue for the Horizon show has not been confirmed, but Paula is still hoping to help make this happen. Any library or museum hosting the show has to pay approximately $2000 to cover insurance and shipping costs to the next venue. This is a serious obstacle for many institutions, and is one reason the full schedule for the show is yet to be announced. Those in attendance all felt that having the exhibition in the Northwest would be very desirable, especially for members who will not be able to see it in Salt Lake City or other sites. We authorized Paula to spend some of the available funds in the chapter treasury to help offset costs for an appropriate institution to host the show. If this goes forward, we would schedule guild events in connection with the exhibition.
Upcoming Workshop: Elizabeth Uhlig has some excellent ideas about a GBW-sponsored workshop she has volunteered to organize in Eugene. Please stay tuned for more details! Recent workshops organized by Shu-Ju Wang and Marilyn Mohr have all been successful financially, and also well-received by participants.
Upcoming Juried Chapter Show: Laura Russell expressed interest in hosting a GBW NW chapter show at 23 Sandy Gallery in 2013. Unlike last year's show which traveled to Salt Lake City and Pocatello, this would be juried by an established book arts professional based outside the region. Ideally, the show would be tied to another event to help generate interest and publicity.
Student Memberships: Paula reminded us that student memberships to the Guild of Book Workers are available at a discount.
Jarmila Sobota Visit: See the following invitation for a special event in Portland October 16, hosted by chapter members Kim and Rosie Batcheller.
As you all probably know, Jan Sobota was awarded the annual lifetime achievement award from the GBW this year. Most unfortunately, he died just before the award was announced. His wife Jarmila will be traveling to the Standards Conference in Salt Lake City to accept the award on his behalf. Afterwards, she will be staying with Kim and Rosie for a week in Portland. As part of that visit, they are planning a PowerPoint presentation of Sobota books with Jarmila from 4:00 to 5:00 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 16. The Batchellers are amateur bookbinders with a dozen or so bindings by the Sobotas in their collection. We appreciate the chance to share in Jarmila's visit and celebrate the Sobotas' marvelous work. You can view a selection of their books at the J. & J. Sobota website.
The presentation will be held at the Mirabella apartments (3550 SW Bond Ave, in South Waterfront near the base of the tram). It will be open to Mirabella residents, with room for several GBW members also. If you are interested in attending, please contact Susan Collard at email@example.com, who will keep a list. If you go, you will receive a guest pass at the concierge desk in the lobby and be directed to the Willamette Room, where the event will be held.
July 10, 2012
Please bring anything you want to show us, and ideas for possible activities to share.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
See you in a few weeks!
December 31, 2011
British pop-up star Paul Johnson is coming from London to spend nearly a week in Portland, and to teach a weekend workshop March 25 and 26. A lecture is planned the Friday before that will be open to the public. Barb adds, "But first we need the workshop to fly and are hoping some of your members will be interested and tell their comrades...It will be such an honor to bring Paul to town and we want to share his talents with as many as we can."
A full description of the class and on-line registration is available on the OCAC website.
Important: There's an early bird registration option, making the price for the workshop $275 + $15 studio fee before January 15. The price goes up $30 after January 15.
Pictured is Paul Johnson's unique book, Enchanted Garden, which you may well remember from the 2010 Pop Up Now! show at 23 Sandy Gallery.
Shawn Sheehy's Mechanics of Movables workshop, sponsored by the GBW in October, was a great success, and we hope to help bring other book arts luminaries to the region in the future.
The exhibition's first stop was Idaho Sate University, where it was on display in October and November, 2011. Two works in the show were selected for purchase awards by Karen Kearns, Special Collections curator at the Eli Oboler Library at Idaho State. Pictured below is "Be the Change" by Bonnie Thompson Norman, a vertical concertina with a dynamic interpretation of the quote by Gandhi printed on letterpress.
The second purchase award went to Andrew Huot for "Directions," a set of five letterpress guidebooks using ephemeral and shifting landmarks, such as "Turn right at the poodle on a walk," and "Stop at a cold breeze and wait for the green light." Congratulations to the award winners!
Special thanks to our chapter president, Paula Jull, for arranging the exhibition.
August 12, 2011
Time: Oct 22, 23, 2011, 10am-5pm
Location: Oregon College of Art & Craft, NW Barnes Road, Portland, Oregon
Pull a tab. Turn a wheel. Bring new life to your page by animating it with movables! In this 2-day workshop participants will learn the fundamental principles that guide the movables seen in many interactive books published today. Beginning with basic tools and techniques, the workshop will quickly move on to building a series of increasingly complex movable structures based on wheels, pull tabs and other ingenious mechanisms. Participants will leave with a bound collection of 10-15 models. Throughout the workshop, participants will view and discuss the work of commercial paper engineers and discuss conceptual possibilities for movables in their own work.
No experience necessary, though patience is a must!
GBW members: $180 (includes materials)
Non-GBW members: $210 (includes materials)
Register for This Class
Contact Shu-Ju Wang, firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-245-8177.
GBW members have priority registration through September 10; after that, registration is open to all.
Friday Evening Lecture
Oct 21, Friday, at 23 Sandy Gallery, free and open to the public. More information to come.
About the Instructor
Shawn Sheehy combines paper engineering and paper making with an interest in biology and science to produce sculptural pop-up books. Shawn has taught workshops at PBI, Penland and the Centers for Book Arts in Chicago and New York. His commercial pop-up clients include American Greetings, Pee-Wee Herman and Vintage Magazine.
Some sample models from the Mechanics of Movables workshop:
For more information about Shawn, visit his website.
November 8, 2010
Imagine my delight when I heard of a workshop in Portland, OR, taught by Jim Canary, who would lead his class in the making of the paper, dyeing it with natural dyes, and making a Tibetan prayer book using Lokta. I contacted Shu Ju Wang, the organizer of the Book Workers Guild workshop immediately.
Jim Canary, I found out, has a long-standing interest in Tibet and Nepal, stemming from his undergraduate days at Indiana University, where he concentrated on Inner Asian Studies. He also completed graduate studies at Indiana in Major Classical Tibetan and for three years received a Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship in Tibetan. Since 1994, he has been a project member of Paper Road/Tibet, an organization that provides research, technical expertise, and development of hand papermaking operations in Tibet. He is also a board member of the International Tibetan Archives Preservation Project, responsible for coordinating cooperative conservation work in Lhasa, Tibet.
Jim has been Head of the Conservation Department at Indiana University's Lilly Library in Bloomington since 1993. He has lectured widely on Tibetan themes, as well as on various aspects of conservation and the book arts.
The workshop with Jim took place October 23-24, 2010. The night before we were to meet as a class, Jim showed digital pictures of his travels in Tibet and Nepal researching the practice of book art in those countries and the making of the paper itself. This free lecture was an inspiring introduction to this handmade art.
Our workshop was held in the wonderful studio space of William Park, who graciously let us use this large and light warehouse for the two days. We met at 10 am, ready to work and to learn.
First, Jim talked about the plant, Daphne Paparacea. This plant is a relative of our Daphne but grows into a tree in Nepal. The root is the source of the paper. The papermaker strips the outer bark off and exposes the inside fiber. (Photos by Emily Marks except as noted.)
The inner bast fibers are then cooked in water with an alkali substance like soda ash. Jim cooked about one pound up for us to use.
Jim then went on to explain that the Tibetan prayer book usually has a soft cover, often made of silk on front and back. The interior pages have beautiful written chants, often applied as wood block prints. If the calligraphy is written, it is applied by an ink made of burned resinous pine ground with yak-skin glue.
The picture below shows the dried bast fibers, the silk-covered prayer book, an ink bottle, handmade pen, with its wooden container.
While the fiber was continuing to cook, we each built a frame for papermaking out of four heavy wooden pieces that Jim provided. These fit together and were made tighter at the joins with little pieces of wood that swell when wet. Then we cut simple cheesecloth and pinned this to our frames.
Once the fiber was cooked, it was sweet-smelling and slightly gelatinous, reminding me in feel of cooked okra. We divided up the fiber in small amounts and pounded it with wooden mallets. This was a long process because as we beat the fiber, we removed small specks of dark matter to keep our paper as pure as possible.
Once our papers were stacked up against the walls to dry, we worked on the inner and outer papers for our Tibetan style prayer book. Jim had brought some cream-colored paper-backed canvas for our covers which we could dye in natural dyes he provided. We were also encouraged us to dye our papers, and most of us chose to dip the edges into the brown, yellow or blue dyes.
Assembling the book was fun. Jim taught us the construction of the chain-link sewing, using three “stations.” Our books were each different and very pleasing.
September 5, 2010
Time: Oct 23, 24, 10am-5pm
Location: 2637 NE MLK Blvd, Portland, Oregon
This workshop will introduce the participants to the methods of making daphne paper and we will use a variety of natural materials and techniques to dye these papers. We will have the chance to print Tibetan buddhist woodblocks and will learn a rainbow stitched binding structure.
In short, participants will go from papermaking to printmaking and bookbinding over the course of this two-day workshop!
GBW members: $160 + $20 for materials
Non-GBW members: $190 + $20 for materials
Register for This Class
Contact Shu-Ju Wang, email@example.com, 503-245-8177.
GBW members have priority registration through September 30; after that, registration is open to all.
About the Instructor
Jim Canary has studied the languages and cultures of the Himalayan region at Indiana University and travelled many times to Tibet India and Nepal studying and documenting the traditions of buddhist manuscript and book production. He has been the conservator at the Lilly Library, Indiana University for the past 25 years.
About the Workshop Location
William Park, Portland painter and printmaker, has generously offered the use of his very spacious print studio for this workshop. It is close to many lunch options and there's plenty of street parking.
August 11, 2010
Jim Canary is the head of conservation of Indiana University Bloomington's Lilly Library. He completed graduate studies in Tibetan and has traveled extensively in the Himalayas studying papermaking, calligraphy and printing. He has been a project member of the organization Paper Road/Tibet since 1994, and coordinates conservation work in Lhasa as part of the International Tibetan Archives Preservation Project. Those who have attended his workshops give them rave reviews.
First of all, belated thanks to those were able to attend the Northwest Chapter meeting held in Portland in January. Paula Jull, our chapter chair, was in town from Pocatello, Sophia Bogle came up from Ashland, and we had good representation from those of us in the Willamette Valley as well. We all agreed it was great to get together, as this has been one of the challenges of our far-flung chapter.
There was a spirited consensus at the meeting that we would all like to see more guild-sponsored workshops. In 2010 that has really started to happen. Marilyn Mohr did a fabulous job of putting together a workshop with Don Etherington in April. The limp vellum binding workshop was so popular that Don arranged to stay in Eugene an extra day in order to teach two sessions. There are a couple of brief reviews of the workshop following.
Our workshop chairs, Shu-Ju Wang and Katherine Shiver Pomeroy, have arranged with Jim Canary to teach a two-day workshop this fall. Basic info is posted above, with more to follow as details are finalized. I’d like to encourage you all to mark your calendars, and to sign up when registration becomes available!
Of course there is also the Standards of Excellence Seminar in Hand Bookbinding coming up in Tucson, October 14-16. For the past couple of years I’ve announced Standards with a feeling of envy for those who would be attending. Not this year, since I’ll be there myself. I look forward to spending time with other Northwest Chapter members while I’m there. I was a grad student at the University of Arizona in the early 1990’s, so I’m kind of excited at the chance to see what has and hasn’t changed in Tucson in the intervening years. If anyone is interested in out-of-date travel advice, I’d be happy to oblige.
Outside the GBW umbrella, this newsletter includes notices of upcoming book arts events in the region. For one thing, it's the season to celebrate letterpress printing, with big gatherings coming right up in both Portland and Seattle. Patricia Grass, an accomplished and popular teacher who for years has made Forest Grove an "accidental" mecca for book arts, has shared her schedule of fall classes. Janice Healy has a review of an OCAC workshop she took recently with Daniel Kelm.
Laura Russell has given us a sneak preview of book arts shows coming up at 23 Sandy Gallery. I know she is especially excited by the quality of entries received for the Pop Up Now! show, so please don't miss that one. And, while I pause for a moment to reflect on how fortunate I feel to have this extraordinary gallery about a mile and a half from my house (please don't be resentful if you have to travel further), I need to mention a couple of standout shows from earlier in the year. The first was Karen Hanmer's show, Deja Vu: History, Memory, Place in March. The second was Roberta Lavadour's show, Finding Home in May. It's one thing to admire a book in a juried show, but it's even more wonderful to be able to interact with a whole room full of a book artist's work. For me, it's akin to the difference to running across a poem in an anthology and being able to sit down with a book-length collection of a poet's work. One finds connections and resonances among the individual pieces; experiments stand out; one starts to get a real sense of what the artist is up to. And since both Karen and Roberta were able to come to Portland and give gallery talks, that was a marvelous chance to meet them and hear their perspectives. Congratulations and thanks to both these chapter members for sharing their work with us this year.
I should confess to something off the bat: as a book artist who uses mainly non-traditional methods and materials, I was easily the least experienced bookbinder in the room during Don’s workshop. I decided to take the class partly because of his stellar reputation, partly to stretch my skills doing something I don’t have all that much practice in. At the January meeting, when we discussed the possibility of Don teaching a workshop as part of his visit to Eugene in April, the first assumption was that he would be teaching conservation techniques. I’m pretty sure it was Sophia Bogle, who has taken classes with him at the American Academy of Binding, who said, “Oh, he should teach limp vellum binding!” This was greeted with considerable enthusiasm from the group--even from me, though I had only a sketchy idea of what a limp vellum binding was, since it certainly sounded cool.
Limp vellum, it turns out, is a historical binding style (at its most popular in the 16th century) that is not only quick and informal, but also extremely durable. Introducing us to examples of the binding, Don mentioned that after the 1966 flood in Florence, conservators were surprised to find that limp vellum generally survived better, and did a better job of protecting the text block, than heavier leather-over-board covers. The books had a nice feel to them—the vellum a bit springy, especially when the binding is new, as if betraying its animal origins.
The morning and early afternoon of the workshop was focused on preparing the text block for its cover—sewing it onto either leather thongs or vellum slips, rounding the back and adding endbands. Don gave clear demonstrations of everything, pointing out which steps and measurements were especially critical and why. Personally, I did a credible job with the sewing and proved to be a bit of a ninny with the endbands, so can testify to Don’s patience as an instructor.
I’d been curious about vellum as a material, so I enjoyed studying the calfskins together, seeing how they were thin and translucent at the edges, thickest and most intractable along the spine, and how the color and pattern of the follicles changed accordingly. Once we’d cut out our cover sheets, carefully cut slits into the vellum and laced in our text blocks, the strength and resilience of the binding was already apparent. We really got a feel for the vellum as we creased and cut and folded the covers, learning how to make the cool little hidden corner tabs that keep the doubled-over edges in place. To me, this was the most intriguing part of the process, and consequently it felt a bit rushed, though I felt the workshop on the whole was well-paced. The hair’s-breadth precision of earlier steps seemed to relax a bit at this point, as Don seemed disinclined to fuss over small aesthetic issues with the inside covers. The pragmatic, functional nature of the binding was most apparent during this part of the process. Ideally, I would have liked spending more time discussing the different options in finishing the cover, as well as getting a broader view of how limp vellum bindings varied in different eras and usages. But there was quite a triumphant buzz in the room as five o'clock rolled around and everyone finished up their bindings, or at least (as I did) got them to a point where they could readily be finished at home.
Marilyn Mohr Sizing up some Vellum
The limp vellum workshop seemed a big hit with all the participants, and I was certainly glad to have made it down to Eugene to take part. The workshop’s success was due not only to Don Etherington’s practiced teaching, but also to Marilyn Mohr’s efficient and gracious hosting of the event. Spending a day in the University of Oregon Libraries Conservation Lab was a fun little peek into her domain. Taking part in a workshop has an intrinsic social component, and sharing the experience with other GBW members had the happy side effect of making me feel a little more connected to the group. In this, too, Marilyn totally went out of her way. As a result, my fond memories of the weekend include not only the workshop itself, but conversations from the day before and at dinner afterwards—not to mention Marilyn’s studio, henhouse and flowers. And lucky me, not only did Shu-Ju Wang provide me with transportation and company down and back, but she cooked up eggs from Marilyn’s hens for our breakfast before the workshop.