July 21, 2008

Welcome to the July 2008 Newsletter!

A quarterly compendium of news, knowhow and whatnot. All members of the Guild of Book Workers are welcome and encouraged to post comments.

It's high summer, and this edition of the newsletter is suitably lean and laid-back. Of primary importance: the chance to register for a fall workshop taught by Barbara Mauriello and brought to you by the GBW Northwest chapter.

Sophia Bogle continues guiding us through her process for measuring for clamshell boxes (the first installment was in the March newsletter). Elizabeth Uhlig describes her experience taking a class at the Rare Book School. And there's some member news, and. . . well, that's about it. Then it's back to the beach, or back yard, or studio, or wherever you're happily holing up these days. I didn't get any entries for the bookless book exchange, which was a disappointment, since I think it's a great idea. If there's interest, we could try it again at a later date. In this and all matters I appreciate your feedback!

Again, special thanks to those who have brought their time and perspective to this edition of the newsletter.

Susan Collard

Barbara Mauriello Workshops

Shu-Ju Wang
Workshop Coordinator

CANCELLATION NOTICE August 18: The following workshops were cancelled because we didn't have enough people registered.

The Guild of Book Workers and 23 Sandy Gallery are working together to bring book artist Barbara Mauriello to Portland this fall to teach two wonderful workshops:

The Box as Stage-Set for GBW &
How to Make a Photo Album for 23 Sandy Gallery

Due to the rising airfare cost, we ask that you register as early as possible. Please register by August 15, 2008.


Oct 4 & 5, 2008, 9am to 4pm
Portland Waldorf School, 2300 SE Harrison, Milwaukie OR

In the Indian tradition of itinerant story-telling, a brilliantly-painted wooden box called a “kavadh” is an important prop: it holds the tiny wooden protagonists of the tales. We’ll make our own version of a story-telling box, complete with sliding door, stepped roof, finials and feet. A wild mix of patterned papers will replace the painted surface of my original model: bring with you as many bits and pieces of decorative papers as you can get your hands on. The first box will be built of pre-cut boards. A small edition of boxes will then be cut by each participant, to their desired size, and that edition will be partially constructed during our remaining time. Our box is exotic, but it does teach the basics of boxmaking, starting with how to cut out and cover a 4-walled tray.

Tuition: $195
Materials fee: $15, includes balsa wood,decorative papers and boards, pre-cut and shipped, for one box.

Please register by August 15, 2008.

To register, or if you have questions, email Shu-Ju Wang at shuju@fivebats.com.


Sept 27 & 28, 2008, 10am to 5pm
23 Sandy Gallery, 623 NE 23rd Avenue, Portland

There are 3 basic approaches to album-making, defined by the page format: an extended accordion, a stack of single sheets, or a set of folded sections. Our goal is explore them all and make 4 or 5 books over the weekend. By keeping our models small, we will make prototypes of as many structures as time allows. There will be much discussion on both the advantages and limitations of a given style. Variables as diverse as the number of photos to be bound, the size and flexibility of a sheet of paper, and the availability of bookbinding equipment in the home studio will lead participants towards specific models. Our goal is not to produce a single, large album, but rather to understand and to play with the principles of album-making. Please bring 5-10 photos no larger than 4 inches in either direction on Saturday.

Tuition: $210
Materials fee: $30
Please register by August 15, 2008.

For more information and to register, see http://www.23sandy.com/Mauriello/Mauriello.html

Barbara Mauriello is a bookbinder and artist who has a studio in Hoboken, NJ. She is on the faculty of the International Center of Photography and the Center For Book Arts in NY, and is a frequent teacher at Penland School of Crafts and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. In 2000, Barbara published her book Making Memory Boxes (Rockport Publishers, Gloucester, MA). She is also a featured artist in The Penland Book of Handmade Books (Lark Books, 2004).

GBW National News

If you're planning to submit work for the Marking Time exhibition, you need to fill out an Intent to Enter form by July 30. The form and additional information are available online.

And, of course, this year's Standards of Excellence will be held in Toronto, October 16-18.

Measuring for the Trays of a Clamshell Box Based on your Materials

Sophia Siobhan Wolohan Bogle
Ashland, Oregon

Getting Started: So, at this point you have measured your book as per my previous instructions. All of those measurements are necessary for creating the small tray. You always make the small tray first. In fact, you could make the small tray and cover it and then measure for the bigger tray, but I will give you the way I do it which is to measure and cut out both and then assemble them. This way has more room for error of course, but if you pay attention it should come out fine and is faster in the long run.

I should mention here that I am doing all my cutting on a board shear. I have yet to cut out a box without one. So if you don’t have a board shear just be sure to do what you have to do to be accurate, like taping down your flat straightedge and cutting off your mark entirely instead of halfway into it.

Wrapper: Before we start on the first tray there is another aspect of measuring to consider. One way to protect the book (or fill up space) is to create a paper wrapper like the one in the picture. This is useful if you have a book that is falling apart and you don’t want to lose any pieces or if it is not a book, but a sheaf of loose pages. If it is necessary to make a wrapper, be sure to account for the extra thicknesses in your measurements of the original book. In other words, make the wrapper and then do your measuring.

To Line or not to Line? Another way to protect your book is to create a soft liner in the trays. The book really does need to be supported fully in the box with no wiggle room. If it is allowed movement, then damage will occur. You can take some of the guess work out of measuring by using felt or something squishy to line the trays with (obviously something archival is preferred). This does make it easier but you still have to be accurate. It is possible to be accurate enough in your measurement that you do not need the squishy material. I have only used it a few times for an effect and one time I used it when I poorly measured a book and didn’t want to re-make the tray. Fortunately the tray was bigger. Had it been smaller I would have had to start over. I used unbleached wool batting that I got from a fabric store as the liner. To apply it, I glued the surface it would be attached to and didn’t attach the wool felt until the glue was getting tacky. Double sided tape would work too. The point of this is that you don’t want the glue to find its way through the felt. You can add the measurement of the Liner in with the other materials but because of the squish you will want to cut the measurement in half. Find something that is half as thick as the felt like 2 chipboard glued together and use that to stand in for the liner.

Parts to Small Tray: There are two trays to be made for a clamshell box. The most important one is the smaller one because that is where your book will rest. There are four or five parts to the bottom tray. Four of them are obvious; the bottom and the three sides. The fifth is the spine support piece. This piece will not be attached to the bottom tray and is instead attached to the spine of the case. It must be taken into account here though because when the box is closed this piece slides into place as a forth side to the small tray. This piece is optional and many clamshells are made without it, but it provides another measure of protection for the book and I prefer the way it looks. (see picture)

Gather Materials: You will need to gather together small pieces or strips (about 1/2 -1 inch by about 2-3 inches) of both your covering material and the board you will be using to make the box. Also the squishy liner if you so choose.


Covering Cloth

Liner (Optional)

Next you will need some pieces of chipboard or something similar. It makes it easier if all these pieces are the same size, but they don’t have to be. We are going to use the chipboard to stand in for the book-cloth and liner as well as some space. If the chipboard is just about the same thickness as two of your book-cloth strips it makes it easier to measure because you can substitute the chip for the cloth. Because the chipboard is stiff it is easier to hold it up to make a mark on your board.

The Theory: What we are doing is running a tally of all the materials involved in each dimension of the tray. So for the height of the tray we have the # (measurement of the actual book height) + we have the two boards that will be on either side of it + the four thicknesses of book-cloth. If you wanted to you could substitute something for the four pieces of bookcloth. It just has to be at least as thick as the four pieces plus it could be slightly thicker for a bit of space.

Turn-Ins: It is also good to remember that the turn-ins add extra thicknesses. This doesn’t matter for books much because where the turn-ins are is usually where the book has a dip or curve. Books, after all, are not usually perfectly square. But keep it in mind and make adjustments as necessary.

The Visual: Imagine a straight line cutting a cross section of each direction of the tray when it is assembled. Then you just add up all the materials involved. (See Cheat Sheet)

Note on Materials: I prefer to use Canapetta, an Italian linen paper-backed book-cloth to cover the trays. It has a tooth to it and is fairly forgiving in general of glue marks unlike silk. Also I find it will stretch a bit to help get it around awkward corners. I have even covered raised bands with it.

Advice: Try making one tray completely with the materials you want to use and see how the book fits. Every time you change materials there is room for error so find something you like and stick with it. (within reason of course)

Sequence of Cuts: Have the Cheat Sheet nearby. Have all your pieces of materials and measurements. Begin with board that is square to two edges at least. The grain should line up with the grain of the book as it will sit in the tray except the Head and Tail Side pieces which just follow along with fore-edge piece so they are all the same.

You will be cutting out five pieces of board with several cuts:
  • Start with the Height measurement. Follow the Cheat Sheet. Just line up all the pieces along with the measurement and set your gauge to make a square cut. Make sure you have enough length of this first piece to also cut at least one Thickness measurement as well but preferably four Thickness measurements.

  • Take that piece that is now accurate on three sides and cut the Width of it. This will be your Small Tray Base.

  • Next cut four Thicknesses all the same from the “leftover” board you just cut to the right height. This gives you the Fore-edge Side which is the same height as the Small Tray Base. It also gives you the beginning of the Spine Support Piece, as well as the beginning of the two other Side pieces.

  • To get the right height for the Head and Tail Side pieces you have to take the width of the Small Tray Base and subtract one regular board thickness from it. Use the board itself instead of trying to get ruler measurements. Make the cut for both Head and Tail Side pieces.

  • This only leaves the Spine Support Piece. Mark this as such and set it aside until the box is covered. Then figure out how much to trim off so that it will fit in the space left when it is covered in paper or whatever you will be lining the box with.

Large Tray: There are only a couple of differences for cutting out the Large Tray. You already have pieces cut that you can use as measurements and you will not need to cut the fourth thickness as there is only one Spine Support Piece. Otherwise, just follow the Cheat Sheet and the Sequence of Cuts.

Cheat Sheet:

Small Tray Measurements:

(# = measurement of book)

(chip = chipboard - Remember that the chipboard should be about two thicknesses of your cloth.)

Height: # + 2 boards + 2 chip (or whatever you made that equals four book-cloth plus some space)

Width: # + 2 boards + 2 chip (same as above)

Thickness: # + 1 chip (The chip here is for whatever liner you will use plus space because the book-cloth will be under the book as well as covering the top of the surrounding boards so they cancel each other out.) I usually just use a thin paper like Dove Gray. If you were going to use felt of something else thick you would use something thicker than one chipboard to represent that added thickness.

When you are done you will have the following pieces:

  1. Small Tray Base
  2. Fore-edge Side
  3. Head Side
  4. Tail Side
  5. Spine Support Piece

Large Tray Measurements:

BEFORE assembling the small tray!

Use the small tray boards to measure for the large tray right on the board shear or other cutting surface.

Height: Add 2 boards and 3 chip + 1 cloth

Width: Add 1 board and 2 chip

Thickness: Add 1 board and 1 ½ chip (or rather 1 chip and 1 cloth)

If the small tray is already assembled then use these measurements:

Take the small tray’s measurements and add the following additions to them.

Height: 2 board and 3 chip

Width: 1 board and 2 chip

Thickness: 1 ½ chip

If anyone actually tries to make trays based on these instructions please let me know if they are clear and where they need improvement. This is the first time I have tried to write it all out and it is hard to follow my own directions when I already know what to do. Feedback will be helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

Sophia Siobhan Wolohan Bogle
Red Branch Book Restoration

"I Cannot Live Without Books": A Class at the Rare Book School

Elizabeth Uhlig
Eugene, Oregon

A Report on the Rare Book School - “Introduction to the History of Bookbinding” taught by Jan Storm van Leeuwen

“I cannot live without books.” This quote by Thomas Jefferson to John Adams in 1815 is on a book bag I bought at Monticello just after I finished a week (June 9-13) at the Rare Book School in Charlottesville, Virginia. I took a class “Introduction to the History of Bookbinding” and thought about nothing but old and rare books and their bindings for an entire week.

It was an amazing experience - challenging, intense, fun, and totally worthwhile. My day job is as archivist at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, but what I’m most interested in outside of work is the history and culture of the book, historical bookbinding, and making of books. I especially enjoy making historical book structures, so this course was something I have long hoped to take and I certainly was not disappointed.

The Rare Book School was founded in 1983 at Columbia University by Terry Belanger and was moved to the University of Virginia in 1992. The RBS offers week-long, non-credit courses on various topics related to books and bibliography, mostly during the summer in Charlottesville, but also during the fall, winter and spring in New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.
For me, the application process was a two-stage process – last fall I applied first for a tuition scholarship, and then in the winter I applied for admission to the “Introduction to the History of Bookbinding” course. The other students in the course were mainly catalogers, curators of rare books and special collections, or conservators; I believe I was the only bookbinder in the class. And while the course did not include hands-on bookbinding instruction, it provided me with a wealth of information and inspiration that I can use when making my own books.

The RBS Week

Upon arrival at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, you are quickly drawn into the RBS experience and culture which provides many opportunities for networking and meeting fellow book enthusiasts and professionals as well as a high level of instruction. The RBS Week started on Sunday afternoon with a guided walking tour of the UVa campus followed by registration and wine reception, Sunday night supper, and an orientation lecture by RBS director Terry Belanger.
The typical RBS day runs from Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and includes breakfast and two coffee breaks at the RBS offices, and a lunch break. There are four sessions every day for a total of 6 hours of instruction.

There are optional evening lectures and social activities so you are frequently kept busy until late in the evening. Monday was Lecture Night and we heard a lecture by Steve Beare, an independent scholar who shared his research, much of which was conducted on the internet, into the lives and careers of two 19th century engravers.

Tuesday evening was Movie Night. We first saw a documentary “Book Wars: Life & Death on the Streets of New York, 2000” about the world of NYC street booksellers. Then we saw “The Lindisfarne Gospels: A Masterpiece of Anglo-Saxon Book Painting.” Earlier in the day, we had a lunch-time tour of Special Collections.

Wednesday night was Study Night when the RBS library was open and we were able to peruse lots of old and rare books in the RBS teaching collection as well as books in their reference library.

Thursday night was Bookseller Night when several Charlottesville used and rare bookshops stayed open especially for us. Charlottesville is only a town of 40,000 but has more rare and used bookshops than any other city in Virginia.

On Friday our class had lunch with our instructor and in late afternoon there was a closing reception and a chance to buy RBS t-shirts, mugs, bags, and other souvenirs.

The Course: Introduction to the History of Bookbinding

The class I chose to attend, “Introduction to the History of Bookbinding,” was not a hands-on, practical binding course, but rather a historical and art historical look at the principal techniques and materials used in Western bookbinding. The teacher was Jan Storm van Leeuwen who is the retired keeper of the binding collection at the Dutch Royal Library in The Hague.
In the introduction to the course and historical bookbinding, Jan Storm van Leeuwan explained that we would focus on two functions of bookbinding: the binding structure which both protects the text block and also makes a book out of separate leaves of paper, and the decoration on the covers, spine, and fore-edges that have turned binding into a work of decorative art. Every day the course was a combination of lecture using images of books in a PowerPoint presentation followed by viewing dozens and dozens of books from the RBS teaching collection and from the university library’s collection of rare books.


Our Monday class session began with an overview of bookbinding terms and processes – this introduction was quite complex and necessary, not only for a bookbinder, but also for all the others in the class who were librarians and curators with backgrounds in cataloging, conservation, and librarianship. There is a lack of fixed terminology in English, which can complicate things. Jan covered the different parts of a book, decorative techniques (onlay, inlay, mosaic, blind and gold tooling), covering material (calf, goat, sheep, or pig leather, parchment/vellum, textiles, and paper), sewing and binding techniques, and much more. We looked at four models: a 4th century Nag Hammadi/Coptic book, a 9-11th century Carolingian/Romanesque book, a 14th century gothic book, and a French 16th century binding. And he also showed us numerous books from the RBS collection and we viewed a DVD on binding by the Plantin Museum in Antwerp, Belgium.


Our Tuesday class began with an introduction to various leather samples. Then Jan began a chronological survey of Western bookbinding beginning with books produced in the 2nd century in the Roman Empire. We moved through the Middle Ages looking at Coptic books, Carolingian and Romanesque books, bindings in velvet, untooled leather bindings, and 15th century German girdle bindings. Jan talked about the St. Cuthbert Gospel and I showed some photos I had taken at the St. Cuthbert’s Gospel of St. John workshop I had taken last year, November 9-11, in Boston. Jim Bloxum and Kristine Rose, two conservators from the Cambridge University Library, taught a 3-day workshop making a model of this 7th century, Anglo-Saxon book, the oldest surviving book in Europe in its original binding.

We looked at books from Middle Ages from the different European countries, mainly Germany, England, France, the Netherlands, and pre-Renaissance Italy and Spain – all with differing techniques and decorations, but also showing much influence from one part of Europe to the other. Jan talked about the structures and materials, and spent quite a lot of time on the decorative covers using blind and gold tooling, the variations of which help to date the bindings and determine how and where the bindings were created. Tuesday’s chronological overview concluded with a discussion of Renaissance binding in Italy and France. And the afternoon ended with a look at decorated paper – marbled paper, printed paper, and paste paper used both for covers and end sheets.


Wednesday morning continued with the chronological overview with a look at pre-Renaissance Italy, specifically the books of Jean Grolier collected for his library. We looked at Renaissance books in Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and England. Jan discussed not only structure, materials, and decorative techniques, but also the social and economic aspects of bookbinding, publishing, and selling of books. Moving through the centuries, we came to 17th century America and 17th century bindings in France and the Netherlands. Wednesday afternoon ended with an in-depth look at 19th century and early 20th century publisher’s bindings when books began to be made by machines. We looked at both luxurious bindings and also at simple publisher bindings throughout Europe and the United States.


On Thursday we continued the chronological survey by turning back to the 18th century France, England (including Canada and Scotland), the United States, and the Netherlands. We spent the afternoon at the University of Virginia Special Collections and looked at original bindings from their collection. We viewed Islamic bindings as well as books from throughout Europe from the 16th to 19th centuries.


On Friday we finished up the chronological survey with a look at 19th and 20th century French, Dutch, Belgian, British, and American bindings.

Our final exercise was an attempt to date seventeen books which we had looked at on Monday morning – hopefully our dating was more accurate after a week of learning about the various structures and decorative techniques.

We were provided with a detailed syllabus which included a guide to the description of book bindings (something which was very useful to the catalogers, but which unfortunately we didn’t have time to cover in class); a timeline of year, historical/cultural events, artistic style, binding landmarks (styles, significant books, collectors, etc.), and the names of binders, if known; and a reading/reference list of important books and websites on the history of bookbinding.

This is a brief summary of an amazing week at the Rare Book School. If you’d like more information, check out the RBS website at: http://www.rarebookschool.org/

I have posted some photos that I took of the four models as well as some of the publisher’s bindings we were shown. There are also a few photographs taken at the St. Cuthbert workshop. http://picasaweb.google.com/emuhlig

And, please email me if you have questions or want more information: emuhlig@gmail.com

July 19, 2008

Member News and Gallery

Sue Allen has a solo exhibition of her screenprints and book arts, Wild + Tame, at the Multnomah Arts Center in Portland from June 10 through July 22. Pictured below is Suite Sixteen, a limited-edition boxed set of screenprints of stone lanterns in Portland's Japanese Garden. Her series Around Mount Hood: 12 Months - 12 Directions is also featured in the show.

Also in Portland, Shu-Ju Wang showed a collection of her artist's books at 23 Sandy Gallery in June. Susan Collard will be showing her work there September 5-22 (and is very excited about her first solo show).

500 Handmade Books, finally out from Lark Books, features the work of quite a few Northwest Chapter members: Cathy Adelman, Susan Collard, Karen Hanmer, Margery Hellmann, Paula Jull, Joanne Kluba, Roberta Lavadour, Bonnie Thompson Norman, and Shu-Ju Wang. Our chapter chair Paula Jull, who helped me out by checking the book's index for members, points out that that's 14.5% of our sixty-two members. (If by chance we've missed anyone, please let me know.) Having counted sixteen featured books between the nine of us, I will add that members of GBW NW are responsible for 3.2% of the 500 books pictured. You can always count on this newsletter for hard-hitting statistical analysis!

If you haven't seen the book, it's a dizzyingly broad look at what people are doing in book arts these days. Like other books in the Lark Books series (500 Teapots, 500 Brooches, 500 Wood Boxes. . . ) it's fat, pretty, and (at $24.95) attractively priced.

Well, and that's that for the summer newsletter. Please don't be shy about leaving comments, and I'll see you with the next edition in. . . well, probably November, just after the Standards conference. Have a great summer!

March 19, 2008

Welcome to the March Newsletter!

A quarterly compendium of news, knowhow and whatnot. All members of the Guild of Book Workers are welcome and encouraged to post comments.

The March 2008 Edition of GBW Northwest has been a real collaboration, and a joy to put together as a result. (Except for Blogger's formatting issues, which I have been struggling with. Placing photos in text is like working in quicksand, so please excuse my abandonment of exacting standards.) My principal tasks this issue have been encouragement and assembly. I hardly had to write a thing! This makes me feel really good about the newsletter's secret community-building agenda.

Well, take a look. The newsletter opens with official GBW business--our workshop coordinator Shu-Ju Wang has set up a fall workshop, and the GBW Exhibitions Chair Karen Hanmer has more information on the upcoming Marking Time show. There's also a call to action I hope you'll all respond to. Roberta Lavadour has a very 21st-Century idea for a Bookless Book Exchange, an online library of books which anyone can print out and assemble. It's a challenge to individuals to create something simple and clever they are willing to share. I'm curious to see what people come up with. . . do participate, and check out the results in the June newsletter.

Roberta has submitted detailed instructions for her twined binding to Bonefolder, and hopefully they will be available in an upcoming issue. For us, she's written the story of how she developed the binding with the deadline of her presentation at the Dallas Standards conference looming over her--a classic tale of ingenuity and persistence in the face of panic. Sophia Bogle, who wants to make sure the patient art of book restoration finds its place in the newsletter, has shared a set of instructions on measuring books for clamshell boxes. And Sabina Nies has contributed a piece on The Biannual Bookbinding Competition in St Remy les Chevreuse, France, encouraging entries in the 2009 event with inside info on her experiences as entrant and visitor to the 2007 competition. Finally, there's news and photos of what some other members have been up to.

Many thanks to all of you who have contributed!

Susan Collard

March 18, 2008

Save the Date--Barbara Mauriello Workshop

Shu-Ju Wang
Workshop Co-Chair, GBW NW Chapter

Join us in Portland for a workshop sponsored by GBW on October 4 & 5, 2008.
Barbara Mauriello will teach the 2 day workshop "The Box As Stage- Set", inspired by the Indian tradition of itinerant story-telling. We will make our own version of the story-telling box, Kavadh, complete with sliding door, stepped roof, finials and feet!

Bookless Book Exchange

Roberta Lavadour
Pendleton, Oregon

The problem with most book exchanges is the assembly work. All that printing, cutting, sewing, pasting, over and over again....blech! Here's an exchange that is all the fun with none of the muss and fuss.

1. Choose a simple book structure that can be created from one (or two) printed sheets of paper. Your book design can employ pop-ups, items tipped in and other conventions, but remember that you may need to provide additional instructions for assembly. Accordions, flexagons, boustrophedons, the slit octavos and folded french door books are good choices, but there's no limit to your own paper engineering genius.

2. When designing the printed pages, remember that most printers will not print to the edge of the sheet, so for bleed images, design the page at 7.5 x 10 or so and provide instructions to trim the page before assembling.

3. Post your image files as 72 dpi jpegs or pdf files on your website. (Send Susan the link so she can post them all in the newsletter.) Or, email the files to Susan Collard at smcollard@gmail.com and she'll get them posted online for you. Please also provide a small image of one of the finished books fully assembled. Deadline is June 1, 2008.

4. Provide simple assembly instructions if necessary. It is assumed that most GBW members know how to fold the basic structures.

5. Watch the GBW Northwest blog for the Bookless Book Exchange books, then download and assemble all your favorites. For a sample project, check out Roberta Lavadour's Gyromancy project at:http://missioncreekpress.com/index_files/gyromancy.htm

Guild of Book Workers 2009-11 Exhibition Update

Karen Hanmer
GBW Exhibitions Chair

An online Intent to Enter form for the 2009-11 Guild of Book Workers traveling exhibition Marking Time will be available June 1- July 30,2008. Digital images may be submitted online for jury January 1 through March 1, 2009. You must file an Intent to Enter to submit work for the exhibition.

There is a $2000 limit on insurance value for work included in Marking Time. There is also a size limit on the work. Books may not be largerthan 22 inches square and 12 inches deep, including protective enclosure. Flat or 2-D work may not be larger then 24 inches square,including frame and protective enclosure. Submitted works must have been created since 2006, and may not have been previously shown in a Guild exhibition (Chapter exhibitions excepted). All entrants must be members in good standing of the Guild of Book Workers for the entire run of the exhibition.

The show will open at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis on May 15, 2009 and travel through March 2011, with venues including a mix of book arts centers and public and university libraries.

Watch the Guild newsletter for updates.

Designing the Twined Binding or, How Sheer Terror Can Drive the Creative Process

Roberta Lavadour
Pendleton, Oregon

Two things have pushed me forward in my quest to make books: 1. Getting myself into situations that were way over my head then having to work my way out of them, and 2. Keeping a vivid sense of the worst-case-scenario close at hand and running like Hell to stay ahead of it.

So when Jim Reid-Cunningham asked if I would make a presentation to the Guild of Book Workers at the 2007 Standards of Excellence Conference, I thought, “Now THERE’S a venue where a flop could effectively end my career...Let’s do it!”

Now, while “book artists” are often regarded as the lower end of the food chain when it comes to traditional fine binders, being given a mandate to be innovative in a field marked by thirty years of rampant innovation is a tall order, and many book artists have risen to the challenge. We can thank PBI, Standards and other presentation venues for encouraging them to jump into the deep end.

I knew that I wanted to create an exposed-spine binding that allowed for a rich, all-over design on the spine – something that amp-ed up existing bindings by sheer volume and density of thread. I experimented with a wide range of options, beginning with a basic stitch that would basically provide a substrate for doing thick embroidery work over the top. As you know, ideas are one thing and the basic laws of physics are another. Each design proved to be either physically impossible or, possible, but rattier looking than a third grade string art project with no structural integrity. I began to panic.

I needed to ditch the embroidery and find inspiration closer to home.

Living in Pendleton, we’re surrounded by amazing fine craft. The rich traditions of both the cowboy and Native American cultures are alive and well in the saddles, silver work, blankets and beadwork that are created here. I find the basket twining and rawhide braiding especially compelling.. My brother-in-law Joey Lavadour, a member of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and of Walla Walla descent, is a master weaver and amazing teacher. Tim George, who works with the legendary Hamley & Co. is a master rawhide braider. Both were endlessly generous in providing encouragement as I tried to adapt each craft to two bookbinding structures, as described in my proposal, “..inspired by the Cowboy and Indian heritage of Eastern Oregon”.

The design process always brings to mind an assignment my friend Mare Blocker uses with her drawing students – “Draw your brain as a carnival ride”. Just about the time I think I’ve got a fabulous idea, riding high on the glee of my own cleverness, the bottom drops out and I realize that I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. I guess it’s that thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie in me that compels me to take the ride over and over again. After so many gut-wrenching cycles over the years, you finally come to trust that you will come out the other side, even though the fear and anxiety are always just as intense.

The basket twining inspired binding seemed like it would be the easiest. 14th century account books that employed weaving over long stitches seemed to be a natural departure point, but I also felt compelled to employ linen cord in some way, as it’s most similar to the hemp cords that Joey weaves his baskets over.

After several miserable attempts at weaving perpendicular to the spine, I finally figured out how to make it work going the other direction. I’m sure I’m not alone in having had my mind wander while executing a packed sewing, imagining how that lovely and orderly linen thread over 12 ply linen cord design would look if replicated to fill the spine and left exposed in the finished book. Throw a little color variation in there and it would be hot.

The twining worked just fine. The challenge then, of course, was what the heck to do with seventy-five cord ends that needed to be attached to a cover board.

One night we were watching a Sundance Channel piece on mountain bikes that were made from bamboo. The engineer connected the parts by dousing strands of frayed-out hemp cord with epoxy, forming it around the joints then sanding it to a smooth, beautiful surface. Ah ha! I thought. I would fray out the cords, epoxy them to cover boards and sand them to a gorgeous sheen.

After being sufficiently frightened by the State of California warning on the epoxy label, I conducted a few experiments. The finished surfaces turned out looking much more like dull, grey chipboard rather than the luxurious wood-like sheen I’d envisioned. Never mind the fact that I’d be up in front of 100 conservation-minded experts extolling the virtues of bookbinding with epoxy.

So I nixed that idea and set aside the fluffy sample to concentrate on the “cowboy” binding. On a whim a few years ago I had picked up Bruce Grant’s Encyclopedia of Rawhide and Leather Braiding and had been playing around with teaching myself some basic braids. I'd incorporated some flat braids, covered rings and turk's head knots in a design binding of The Oxbow Incident and liked the textures a lot. I'd started practicing covering some tool handles in the studio with braided leather and was captivated by the technique, which allows the weaving to appear to emerge from the butt of the handle as if by magic. In my head, this concept could be adapted to a binding.

Knowing that I didn’t want to demonstrate leather or vellum in front of GBW members who were true experts with those materials, I tried to find a suitable substitute. Pergamenata Parchment seemed like a good idea, but, it wasn’t strong enough unless lined with Tyvek and cracked when folded against the grain. The translucency and strong pull was also a problem when covering boards.

I had hauled some pieces of Tim Barrett’s papercase paper back from a book arts gathering years before and started experimenting with those. The paper was perfect. The book structure, however, was problematic. I was working with models where two boards were covered separately with strips extending from the spine edge that were then to be interlaced and woven back over the spine sewing and covers. I was able to create just one miniature model that held promise, but when I tried to weave the strips on a larger scale, the materials seemed to stage a rebellion against my best laid plans. At this point it was just 8 weeks before Standards and I was faced with two dead-end projects.

Then, just as in the old Reese's commercials where her peanut butter gets in his chocolate and vice versa, the two ideas intersected, and weaving over the extended paper supports instead of linen cord seemed to hold promise.

The first model I made actually looked pretty good. Now I had to get busy creating more samples to show off different variations on that model. Weaving is time consuming, and I worked day and night. I finished a fifth book on the flight to Dallas and another two, one full-size and one miniature, in my Standards dorm room.

The good news is, the presentation seemed to go fairly well. I don’t think it totally rocked the world of the Guild members, but most attendees seemed reasonably engaged and intrigued.

The culmination of my week was when one of the respected Guild big wigs confided in me that, “..sometimes the ‘book arts’ things can be a bit flakey, but your wasn’t flakey at all”. What more can you ask for, really?

Now, being able to make a book for yourself is one thing. Trying to explain its construction to others is something else altogether. Communicating the steps of a fairly complex and unfamiliar binding was, and continues to be, a challenge. After sending a set of instructions with images to Peter Verheyen for possible inclusion in The Bonefolder, I woke up with a start one morning, realizing that there was a much easier way to streamline the addition of the gatherings. Those instructions were updated just yesterday, and I’m sure that more refinements will develop in the future.

My next goal is to create at least 50 twined bindings and get them placed in teaching collections across the country. In the same way some people knit, this stitch has become something that I can practically do without looking, and I find it very relaxing. I’ve been experimenting with some of Bridget O’Malley’s heavy papers, heavy vellum (the real stuff from Jesse Meyer) and recycled materials like shipping straps, all with good success.

The culmination of this project would be to see others take on this binding, creating their own designs and variations. That would make the scary parts of the roller coaster ride all worthwhile.

How to Measure a Book for a Clamshell Box

Sophia Siobhan Wolohan Bogle
Ashland, Oregon

Measuring a book properly is what really makes the difference between a professional job and a box that doesn’t fit the book. I was taught this method by David Weinstein who is an honors graduate of the London College of Printing and a master book restorer. I first wrote the instructions down so that a client could get a box made without having to send me the book. I let the client know ahead of time that I would only guarantee a perfect fit if I had the book, but that this method, done properly, should work satisfactorily.

To Begin:
Get a stiff metal ruler that starts with zero at the edge of one end. There can’t be a gap on the ruler before the measuring starts because you need to measure the books standing up on a table from the bottom up. I will be measuring in inches, but if you prefer metric the conversion should be simple. My board shear is in inches so I have to stick with that.

Height: Stand the book up on a flat surface with the front cover facing you and the spine perpendicular to the surface of the table. Set the ruler up behind it with the zero on the table. (This goes for every measurement.) Physically get down so your eye is level with the top of the book. Slide the ruler slowly from the fore-edge to the spine so that you determine the very highest point of the book. Usually it is at the joint or near the spine. Write down the measurement to the nearest 16th of an inch that is fully visible over the top of the book. Do not round down to a number below the edge of the book.

Width: Stand the book up on its fore-edge now with the tail of the book towards you and the head of the book away from you. Use weights to prop it in place. Place the ruler behind it so that you are looking down the spine towards the head of the book. Get that measurement. Do the same towards the tail end of the book and compare measurements. Be sure to check there isn’t some anomaly in the middle by sliding the ruler slowly from one side to the other looking all along the spine with the book parallel to you. Be sure to write down the biggest number.
If there are any obvious discrepancies on the spine that make a taller point somewhere in the middle of the spine (like raised bands) then use the ruler along the side of the spine and get a triangle that has a 90 degree angle to find the highest point setting the triangle on each raised band and looking at that measurement.

Thickness: Place the book flat on the table and put a small weight (about 2 pounds) in the center of the cover. The point is to mimic the compression of the box. So a big weight or a small weight will skew the measurement. Get your eye level down to the top of the book. Use the same ruler method and look all around the book for the highest point. It is usually at the spine area.

It is better to have more space than not enough space, therefore add a measurement just for space to these measurements to be sure it will be big enough, just an additional 1/16th or 3/32nds. If someone else has done the measurements and you do not have the book in your possession then add another 1/16th space to each measurement.

To Finish:
Double check all of the measurements after you have completed one round of measuring!
What we want is for the book to fit exactly so that it doesn’t move around when you shake the box. If the book does shake in the box for any reason you can easily add some acid-free felt or paper to fit beneath the book as an extra liner. It is impossible to make the box bigger or the book smaller once it is done.

Next time I will address figuring out the measurements for the trays based on materials used.

Sophia Siobhan Wolohan Bogle
Red Branch Book Restoration

The Biannual Bookbinding Competition in St Remy les Chevreuse, France

Sabina Nies
Ashland, OR

The 10th biannual bookbinding competition announces the new book for theyear 2009: "The Marriage of Figaro" by Beaumarchais.

Competitors will receive one copy of the 1000 numbered limited edition of 176 pages well printed on Arches Vellum with exquisite illustration. The 120 Euros fee includes registration, postage, the exhibition catalog, and returning the book.

A glimpse of the 2007 exhibition

The exhibition takes place in St. Remy les Chevreuse, close to Versailles in France. The village supports this event generously and what a mindboggling wonderful exhibition it was last year! Last year's competition's book was "The Tales of Mother Goose". To see about 600 copies of the same book bound by 600 international bookbinders all in one place is just an unforgettable impression. From classic leather to wild artist books, everything was there. Professional fine bindings as well as students' work and sculptured bindings..there was no limitation.

Sabina's entry in the 2007 competition

Participating in this competition and seeing the exhibition is an exciting experience. There is only one drawback: the books are written in French and so is most of the competition's web-site:www.ville-st-remy-chevreuse.fr/reliure/accueil but a few of the organizers speak English. Inquiries to: biennales@aol.com

Member News and Gallery

From Jessica Spring of Springtide Press, Tacoma, tidings of great doings March 2:

"In Tacoma (where nearly the whole town knows the definition of "Wayzgoose," a gathering of printers) the 4th Annual Small Press Month Wayzgoose was a smash. Literally. Printers, papermakers and book artists travelled from Olympia, Seattle and surrounding Washington to provide hands on demonstrations of their crafts free to attendees. Sponsored by King's Bookstore, this year's event included steamroller printing. Five artists carved 3 x 4 foot wood or linoleum prints, with the inking and printing taking place in the street outside the store."

Here's Jessica with wood engraver Carl Montford inking up a portrait of Gutenberg and his press. . .

Sweet pea of King's Bookstore, who runs the event with Jessica, gets to drive the, um, press. . .

And voila!

Thanks to Russ Wiecking for the action photos.

But wait, there's more Gutenberg in the news!

Michael and Minnie Chrisman, of Bookbinders Workshop in Salt Lake City, have embarked on a remarkable task--binding over a hundred facsimile copies of the Gutenberg Bible, using historically correct methods and materials. You can read about the project in an article from The Salt Lake Tribune (the photo, by Paul Fraughton, accompanies the article). Should you be inspired to learn more, Bookbinders Workshop is holding free three-day workshops in wooden board binding each quarter of 2008. Perhaps it's time to start planning that trip to Salt Lake City--a great place to visit, I might add. More info on the classes is posted at the Bookbinding Forum.

In case you thought Jessica Spring had her hands full with Wayzgoose, she has also written a couple of excellent articles to launch Flurry, a new on-line journal sponsored by Boxcar Press. (There's also an essay by Walter Hamady that c(/sh)ould be required reading for anyone who makes books and wants some reminders why.) Jessica writes us, "Boxcar Press just premiered a revamped website (http://www.boxcarpress.com/) that includes some great features for book artists and printers. Written in a blog format, "Flurry: A Journal for the Printer" investigates options for eco-friendly printing and also includes a profile of Walter Hamady of The Perishable Press. Printers might also like to check out the video section which includes how-tos for makeready, roller alignment and other essential skills." (Plus there are sexy photos of presses! --ed.)

Quite a few of us have books in the upcoming Secrets & Lies show at 23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, March 20-April 26. Check out the on-line catalog!

Another Portland show, Fresh Impressions, is closing March 20 at Oregon College of Art and Craft. An enticing show of letterpress in contemporary art, it too has a worthy on-line exhibition catalog. Though best in person, of course, like most things in life.

Shu-Ju Wang of Portland sent me photos of two Pillow Books--they're gocco-printed on tulle, and just back from a show in Tennessee, if I'm not mistaken--and asked me to choose one for the gallery. I choose both! The first is Tenuous Connections. . .

And the second is Random Cruelty.

And that's it for the March newsletter. Thanks for reading. The next issue will be out in June, with contributions due early in the month. And don't forget the Bookless Book Exchange!