October 8, 2007

Welcome to the Proto-Newsletter!

A quarterly compendium of news, knowhow and whatnot, appearing for the first time in humble embryonic form.

First up in the Proto-Newsletter is a discussion of some of the decisions involved in setting up what I think is the first chapter newsletter to appear in a blog format. You may or may not find this all rather tedious. If you have opinions on who should be reading and commenting on the Northwest Chapter newsletter, I hope you will weigh in.

Beginning with the post News! you are invited on a little tour of the newsletter-to-be, in the hope of enticing you to help it grow and flower in upcoming issues.

Access to the Newsletter

Here’s the plan: the newsletter will be open to all readers on-line at http://gbwnw.blogspot.com/. Whenever a quarterly issue comes out, I’ll send out an e-mail announcement to all NW Chapter members and the other GBW members who would normally receive a copy (members of the executive committee, chairs and newsletter editors of all chapters).

I’ve thought about providing a link to the newsletter from our chapter website, which would make it accessible to prospective members and GBW members from other regions. My guess, though, is that there would be concern about protecting access to the newsletter as a chapter membership privilege. Agreeing not to advertise the link would not be ironclad protection, but also wouldn’t be welcoming outsiders with open arms. I’m curious how GBW members who belong to (and support) multiple chapters feel about this issue, as it seems especially relevant to them.

It would also be possible to make the newsletter accessible only to a closed group of e-mail addresses, but somewhat cumbersome. Every member would have to have a Google account and log on in order to read it. In my mind, the increased ease and utility of an open newletter makes up for the lack of controls over readership. I realize others might see it differently. And I’m sure some of you have more expertise and experience in these things than I do, so I welcome your comments.

Please feel free to leave feedback by posting a comment, or by contacting me at smcollard@gmail.com. (To read or post comments, just click on "COMMENTS" at the bottom of each section to view the pop-up window. You can type or paste your comment in the box. Even if you have a Google account, please select "other" and enter your full name, then press "publish comment." Since comment moderation is in place, your comment will not appear immediately.)

Posting Comments

The protocol and procedure of posting comments in the newsletter is a second issue. I’m personally happy erring on the side of openness as far as readership of the newsletter goes. But I feel a responsibility to guard against public gatecrashing when it comes to comments. I would propose restricting the conversation to NW Chapter members and the same GBW members who will also be receiving announcements of each newsletter (that’s the executive committee, chapter chairs and newsletter editors). It would be pretty easy to make that group either more restrictive (NW Chapter members only) or less restrictive (any GBW member welcome to comment). I’d like to know what you think.

I would serve as comment moderator, with comments being posted only after I’d had a chance to review them. That’s a little work there for me, and a short delay before comments appear, but it seems like the best solution for screening who is posting. Since this is not a group where everyone knows everyone else, I’d expect comments to be signed with first and last names—no zingers from Boopsie or Mr. X.

If there was consensus among members that we should restrict readership of the newsletter to a closed group of e-mail addresses, the need for ongoing comment moderation would presumably be eliminated.

Again, I welcome your input on this issue, either by posting below or by getting in touch with me at smcollard@gmail.com.

Why a blog, anyway?

A confession from your editor: she thinks that sometimes, generally speaking, newsletters can seem a little, um, dry.

The drab four-page neighborhood newsletter that arrives on my doorstep, for instance, is always so earnest and wearying to read, and invariably contains notices about upcoming events that have already happened. Let’s face it: the newsletter never gets listed as anyone’s favorite literary genre.

So when Andrew Huot asked me if I’d consider editing a newsletter for the Northwest Chapter of the guild, I had a sinking vision of what that might entail. On the minus column: I’m a slow writer, I’m not adept at any of the programs that would allow me to put together a complex paper or pdf document with any flair, and the thought of wheedling content out of people fills me with dread. On the other hand, it seemed like a worthy mission. Favorite genre or not, newsletters are one of the ways a sprawling community like this one gets bound together. And when I started thinking how I might go about the task, I realized I had some ideas.

One of the things I figured was, the staid tradition of The Newsletter could maybe use a little cross-pollination from the trendy and conversational genre of The Blog. Maybe people would feel more excited about writing articles, posing questions, or whatnot if they got quick and engaging responses from their readers. I also figured that sites like Blogger (brought to you by the folks at Google), would offer an easy and reliable way to put together and distribute a document without loads of formatting and e-mail hassles.

Hence the grand experiment. And isn’t it just a little bit cool?


Our big right-around-the-corner event is obviously the Standards of Excellence Seminar in Dallas/Fort Worth, October 18-20. The first issue of this newsletter will be coming out mid-November, with the expectation that coverage of Standards will be the main event.

a miniature version of the "Twined Binding" structure Roberta Lavadour will be presenting at the Group Roundup

I, alas, am not going to be at Standards. We need one or more people who will be attending to commit to writing about it for the newsletter. Please let me know if you’d be willing to do so. You are welcome to cover any aspect of the event you wish, in any format you feel comfortable in. What interested you most in the presentations? How did the Group Roundup format seem to be working? Did you have a favorite heartwarming or brain-sparking moment? Are you ready to move to Dallas? Extra points for providing the most charming photos of Northwest Chapter members in attendance.

(And, if any of you go on the Fort Worth tour, I hope you enjoy the
Kimbell Art Museum, one of the most revered works of modern architecture in the country.)

I will thank you in advance for letting the rest of us know how much we missed.

Other News

The Gadzooks! Amazing Books by Northwest Artists exhibit at Maryhill Museum of Art (July 21-November 15) has been a high-profile exhibit showcasing a number of NW Chapter book artists. (It’s not too late for a weekend road trip, if you haven’t yet seen it!) Would someone participating in the show be interested in writing a short piece about the experience, or a review of the show?

And of course, we would love to hear about any other recent or upcoming exhibits, workshops, calls for entry, publications, etc., including. . .

Member News

because surely there is something you would like to share with us!


I am really hoping that there are at least a few members in this chapter who would be interested in contributing to this quarterly newsletter on an ongoing basis. Once the news is shared and the business of the guild conducted, there is room for any number of reviews, profiles, columns, interviews, how-tos, member polls, resource lists, idiosyncratic musings, or what-have-you related to the book arts. Please consider this a safe and informal place to explore your thoughts, share your knowledge, or seek out the expertise and opinions of your colleagues.


Here’s your chance: you have a captive audience of dozens of talented people who are interested in a lot of the same things you are, but who bring to the table different shades of experience, predelictions and expertise. What do you want to talk about? What do you want to ask? This could either be set up with a moderator asking leading questions, or as a sprawling freeform grabbag of posts.

Speaking of sprawling freeform grabbag, I encourage you to send in your favorite spots on-line related to the book arts, especially those pertinent to the Northwest. And if you have set up a website since the 2006 GBW directory, please let me know so I can add it to our links. If you would prefer not to have your website listed, please let me know that also.


Finally, why not celebrate we’re all up to with a gallery of images? I thought it might be fun to inaugurate this feature by sharing work in progress. Just send me a decent jpg file of something you’re currently working on, along with a couple of sentences about what it is and what stage it’s at in the photo.

Here are a few early examples. I hope to have many more to share in the November newsletter.

From Sue Allen:

Around Mount Hood: 12 Months - 12 Directions, showing the sides and seasons of Mount Hood.This little booklet in progress uses my note cards (reproduced on inkjet) of my original screenprints.I have included on the inside of each "card" the pictures, stats and stories of that trip. It is bound in book cloth sewn with 2 needles and glued top/bottom of spine and edges of front and back cover.

From Susan Collard:

I'm in the early idea phase on a book called Aquarium Ballet, with collages drawn from Volume 2 of a 1959 Encyclopedia Britannica. The format's still up in the air and nothing's been glued down.

From Roberta Lavadour:

a tantalizing glimpse of Relative Memory