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!