November 24, 2009

Welcome to the November 2009 Newsletter!

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

Exciting chapter news--The Marking Time exhibition is soon to be in Seattle! We're going to hold a chapter meeting in January!--leads off the newsletter. Info on The Assignment show at 23 Sandy Gallery, an article from Sophia Bogle on her experiences at the American Academy of Bookbinding, and more tidbits of member news follow.

A mighty thank you to everyone who has contributed to the articles and events in this newsletter.

Northwest Chapter Meeting January 10

The GBW Northwest Chapter is going to hold a meeting on Sunday Jan. 10, 2010, 1:00pm at 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland. We earnestly invite all of you to come! This is a chance for members of this newish and far-flung chapter to share ideas, do some planning, and get to know each other a little better.

Since some members will be in town for the College Book Art Association conference, we've set up the meeting for the day after that wraps up. Hopefully it will also be convenient for others who can make it to Portland just for the day or weekend.

Some topics our chapter chair, Paula Jull, has placed on the agenda: An exchange exhibit, possibly with the Northeast Chapter. A possible workshop in the spring with Don Etherington. The chance to elect, reelect, or expand our roster of officers. Anything else could be on the table, so please let Paula know if there's a topic you want to make sure gets covered.

23 Sandy Gallery is located on Portland's east side and is owned by GBW member Laura Russell. On display between Dec. 4 and Jan. 10 will be the juried book arts show, The Assignment. We'd also like to encourage members to bring books or other work to the meeting, so we all have a chance to see what others are up to. The chapter will arrange and pay for food and refreshments. We'll send out an e-mail as we get closer to the event to provide further information.

Hope to see you there!

Marking Time Exhibition in Seattle

The current GBW national exhibit Marking Time opened in Minneapolis this May, and will be touring the country for nearly two years. For those of us who have been impatiently waiting for it to arrive at our doorstep, good news: it has just finished its stay at the San Francisco Public Library, and will open at the Suzzallo/Allen Library of the University of Washington on December 7. This wide-ranging trove of talent and inspiration will be in Seattle through February 19—thence to Salt Lake City and parts beyond.

The Book Arts Guild has provided essential support in bringing the exhibition to Seattle, including co-sponsoring special events on January 21 and February 11. Many thanks to the guild and their members in their 30th anniversary year. The University of Washington and its curator of book arts and rare books, Sandra Kroupa, have also earned our gratitude for their roles in bringing Marking Time to this venue. The exhibit itself, of course, is the product of long hours and dedication by Exhibitions Chair Karen Hanmer, jurors Jeffrey Altepeter, Melissa Jay Craig and Peter Verheyen, as well as the generous support of many other members of the Guild of Book Workers.

Sandra has provided detailed information on the special events, as well as visiting hours and locations of the exhibit, which I’ve printed in the following post. If you’re not familiar with the University of Washington campus, the library website provides a map and other information. The books will be displayed in three separate locations within the Suzzallo/Allen Library. Between December 7 and Jan. 6, only two parts of the exhibition will be open. Between Jan. 6 and Feb. 19, all three parts of the exhibition will be on display. Please note that the Special Collections Lobby exhibition space has shorter hours than the Suzzallo/Allen Library as a whole, and is not open on Saturdays. You’ll therefore want to pay close attention to the hours Sandra has listed for the first part of the exhibition.

Visiting the Marking Time Exhibition

Sandra Kroupa
Book Arts and Rare Books Curator
Special Collections, University of Washington

Marking Time, an exhibit from the Guild of Book Workers, will be on display in Suzzallo/Allen Library December 2009 through February 2010. The exhibition is being co-sponsored by The Special Collections Division of the University Libraries and The Book Arts Guild. The exhibit will be shown in three venues and only two venues will be on display in December. Having the exhibit spread throughout the main Library means that many more visitors will “discover” the exhibit in their regular use of the Libraries.

Special Events

There will be several events for the exhibition co-sponsored by the Special Collections Division and The Book Arts Guild:

On January 21, Thursday, 2010 the Book Arts Guild will hold its 31st annual meeting in the Maps/Special Collections classroom in the basement of the Suzzallo/Allen Library. The brief business meeting will be followed by a gallery talk by the BAG members whose work is represented in the GBW's Marking Time exhibition: Don Glaister, Bonnie Thompson Norman and Jessica Spring. The annual meeting will begin at 7:00. The gallery talks will take place both in the Special Collections Lobby and in Suzzallo Room 102. The gallery talks will begin with a discussion about the Guild of Book Workers by these artists in the classroom and then the audience will walk to the different exhibit sites throughout the building.

On February 11, Thursday 2010 Karen Hanmer will talk to the Book Arts Guild in their regular meeting place in the Maps/Special Collections classroom in the basement of the Suzzallo/Allen Library. A brief business meeting will be followed by a talk by Hanmer who is the curator of the Marking Time exhibition. Her talk will cover elements of the exhibition as well as information about the GBW.

On February 13-14, Saturday & Sunday, 2010 Karen Hanmer will give a workshop in flag books for the Book Arts Guild. Details will be available on each of these events at the Book Arts Guild website

Exhibit Hours

Starting December 7, 2009, the first part of the exhibition will be shown in the Special Collections Lobby Exhibition space in the basement of the South Wing of the Allen Library. This part of the exhibition will be on view at that site until the end of the exhibition on February 19, 2010.

The hours for this first part of the exhibit are as follows:

December 7-18, 2009
7:30 am – 6 pm Monday-Thursday; 7:30 am – 5 pm Friday; CLOSED Saturday; Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm.

December 19, 2009 – January 3, 2010
9 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday; CLOSED Saturday & Sunday, December 25, 2009, January 1, 2010; December 24 9am -3 pm.

January 4, 2010 – February 19, 2010
7:30 am – 6 pm Monday-Thursday; 7:30 am – 5 pm Friday; CLOSED Saturday; Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm.

[NOTE: These are NOT the hours of Special Collections. These are the hours when the LOBBY EXHIBIT AREA is open.] See

The second part of the exhibition can be seen on the First Floor Balcony of the Allen Library, North Wing. To reach this location, proceed on the same floor as Suzzallo 102, walk straight ahead. When you reach the transition area between the Suzzallo and Allen Library you will come to the large, open Allen Main Lobby and to your left will be the second part of the exhibit. The Lobby also has the spectacular installation of Raven Brings Light to This House of Stories, a collaborative artwork by Carl T. Chew, Mare Blocker, J.T. Stewart, and Ron Hilbert. The artwork, installed in 1994, features 40 ravens and crows suspended from the ceiling, and the title, displayed in large letters on the wall, in both the Lushootseed language and English. In Pacific Northwest Native American lore, Raven is the being who went east to bring the light to the west. In this work, the light is the knowledge housed within the Libraries collections. Each bird carries a sample type style or other symbol from cultures around the world.

For more information see: This second part of the exhibition is available all the hours the Suzzallo/Allen Library is open:

December 7 – December 18, 2009
7:30 am – 10 pm Monday – Thursday, 7:30 am – 6 pm Friday, 12 pm – 5 pm Saturday, 1 pm – 10 pm Sunday

December 19, 2009 – January 3, 2010
9 am – 5 pm Monday – Thursday, Thursday December 24 9 am – 3 pm, Friday December 25 and January 1 CLOSED, Saturday and Sunday CLOSED

January 6, 2010 – February 19, 2010
7:30 am – 10 pm Monday-Thursday; 7:30 am – 6 pm Friday; 12 pm – 5 pm Saturday; Sunday 1 pm – 10 pm.

The third part of the exhibition will go on display beginning January 6, 2010. This part can be seen in the Suzzallo Library, Room 102 that is at the West Front of the historic Suzzallo Library, on the left as you enter the building. This part of the exhibition is available all the hours the Suzzallo/Allen Library is open:

January 6, 2010 – February 19, 2010
7:30 am – 10 pm Monday-Thursday; 7:30 am – 6 pm Friday; 12 pm – 5 pm Saturday; Sunday 1 pm – 10 pm.

Marking Time is the work of curator Karen Hanmer, the GBW exhibitions chair, who, along with jurors Jeffrey Altepeter, Melissa Jay Craig, and Peter Verheyen, created this exhibition and its attendant catalog. The installation of the exhibition at the University of Washington Libraries is the work of Sandra Kroupa, Book Arts and Rare Book Curator and Kathryn Leonard, the Head of the Libraries’ Conservation Unit and her staff Judith Johnson and Moriah Neils.

Work of the Northwest Chapter in Marking Time

Susan Collard
Portland, Oregon

One of the challenges in putting together a themed show is choosing a theme which invites a wide variety of work and responses, but also encourages the viewer to discover common threads within the group selected. The Marking Time exhibition succeeds admirably on this score. Looking at the eight works in the show made by Northwest Chapter members, one sees both the variety and connections that make this kind of exhibition so inspiring. (Each description is followed by a photo of the work.)

Donald Glaister’s book A Few Questions uses transparency and the archival materials of “encapsulation” to create a multilayered experience for the reader. Painting, drawing and text are integrated into a dance of approaching and receding words and images. His original text tackles big questions, exploring “the nature of matter, existence, and time,” taking us on a journey that promises to be at once introspective and playful.

Karen Hanmer’s Celestial Navigation is another personal exploration of a vast subject, in this case astronomy and the night sky. This book, along with its companion piece Star Poems, emerged from a long process of reading, gathering quotes and illustrations, writing and reflecting, and making numerous models. (Karen has shared some photos to give a glimpse into her process.) The mesmerizing shapes and folds created by the book’s triangular pages seem especially apt for astronomy, a science in which space and time are inextricably tangled.

Space and time are both carefully mapped in Andrew Huot’s Walks with Rosie, with its succinctly analytical diagrams of two weeks of daily dog walks. Like Donald, Andrew uses transparency to great effect. The superimposed maps reveal both the repetition and variety of daily experience, allowing the viewer to glimpse “the echoes of yesterday and an allusion to tomorrow.”

Cathy Adelman’s French-style binding of the poet Wendell Berry’s Sabbaths 2002 also suggests a sort of tally or record of repeated rituals in our lives. One of the most abstract works in the show, it is to my mind also one of the most elegant, with subtle differences in the onlays breathing life into the design.

My own entry, A Short Course in Recollection, was an attempt to interpret the theme of Marking Time in the most blockheadly literal manner. In devising a book that could function as a machine, with stainless steel balls that roll down ramps and trip toggle switches, I was aiming at something like a child’s toy or crude mechanical clock. I added illustrations, text and objects that evoke a nostalgic view of childhood, tempered with a little antiquated heavy industry. (Since I always like process shots, I’ll share some of mine also.)

Jessica Spring’s Parts Unknown takes us back as far as the 1890’s, and invites us to participate in a history inherited from strangers. Its images are printed from glass negatives which Jessica found in the attic of her Victorian-era house in Tacoma. The radial accordion format creates an intimate and expansive display space for the photographs, so the book is like an entire museum gallery unto itself.

Shu-Ju Wang’s work also delves into the lives, memories and artifacts of others, though with a radically different process informing the book. Shu-Ju received a 2008 Regional Arts and Culture Council grant to work with four seniors suffering from memory loss. She met with each one over a period of months, working together on a series of paintings or Gocco prints, from which Shu-Ju then created an editioned book. Esther is her collaboration with Esther Cohen. Inspired by Esther’s love of mah jongg, the palm leaf bound book ties Gocco prints of family photos and documents into a bright, poignant chain of mementos.

Loss is the heart and soul of Bonnie Thompson Norman’s broadside I Was in a Hurry. Combining a poem by Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail with a drawing by Jill Alden Littlewood, the broadside was printed for a series called Mutanabbi Street Starts Here. The poem begins, “Yesterday I lost a country,” and everything on the page is drawn and composed to give stark expression to its flat, understated expression of grief. The poem is printed with a ragged left margin—in part a vestige of the right-justified Arabic original, but here given such dynamic, meandering shape that the text itself seems to be left behind.

The Assignment

Laura Russell
Portland, Oregon

23 Sandy Gallery and the College Book Art Association (CBAA) are pleased to present The Assignment, a national, juried book arts exhibition being held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the CBAA in Portland, Oregon. To illuminate the meeting’s focus on book arts teaching practice and pedagogy, this exhibition features artist book works that were generated directly from course assignments or from self-assignments generated by the artist.

The roster of artists includes: Anna Bunting, Julie Chen, Kerri Cushman, John DeVylder, Poppy Dully, Margot Ecke, Angela Earley, Bridget Elmer, Casey Gardner, Donna Globus, Leilei Guo, Fred Hagstrom, Mary Hark, Katie Harper, Charles Hobson, Paola Horevicz, Margarita Kloss and Sarah Plotkin, Karen Kunc, Roberta Lavadour, Elisabeth Long, Kent Manske, Kitty Maryatt, Madeleine Miller, Jessica Peterson, Lisa Beth Robinson, Jamie Runnells, Jana Sim, Sarah Smith, Tricia Treacy, Elsi Vassdal Ellis, Julie VanDerVellen, and Janine Wong.

The Assignment was juried by Macy Chadwick and Clifton Meador. The College Book Art Association ( is a non-profit organization fundamentally committed to the teaching of book arts at the college and university level.

A full online catalog of this exhibition will be posted at:

Exhibition dates: December 3, 2009 – January 9, 2110
Location: 23 Sandy Gallery, 623 NE 23rd Avenue, Portland, OR 97232
Gallery Hours: Thursday-Saturday, Noon-6:00 p.m. and by appointment

My Experience at the American Academy of Bookbinding

Sophia Siobhan Wolohan Bogle
Ashland, Oregon

~A Diploma in Book Conservation~
(The lesson on clamshell boxes will resume in the next newsletter.)

I just returned from San Francisco where I attended the Guild of Book Workers’ Standards conference. While I was there I presented the work required of me for the Diploma in Book Conservation from the American Academy of Bookbinding (AAB). The work was presented to a jury of three of the top conservators in the field: Betsy Palmer-Eldridge (She just received the lifetime achievement award from the GBW), Frank Mowry, from the Folger Shakespeare Library and Bill Minter, from Johns Hopkins University. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to have my work looked at by such a prestigious panel and to get feedback from them. The experience was worth every penny I spent on the classes at the AAB and more.

I started at the AAB in 2007 when I spent one month in Telluride taking two classes, Treatment of Text-blocks and Sewing then a Forwarding class. Both of these were taught by Don Etherington. Don is an absolute treasure trove of tips and tricks and no one should miss an opportunity to gather as many of them as possible.

I have to say though that a whole month away from home was a bit much. The classes were fabulous and I learned a lot but I think two weeks at once works out much better. For one thing you would have time to process the class, practice the techniques and get feedback with your homework before taking on the next thing. I was given the homework assignment to complete a new binding done on double raised cords in goatskin. The pages were washed and re-sewn as well. Here is a photo of before and then after.

My second year, 2008, I took Gold Finishing, again with Don. Unfortunately, Don had a bad reaction to the altitude and this would prove to be the last time he would teach in Telluride. Thank goodness this was a two week class. Everyone got to work on what they wanted to practice and I got what I needed which was lots of practice with gold leaf.

My third year, 2009, I took the Book Restoration class in Telluride with Brenda Parsons. She had worked with Don for 20 years and was the first graduate from the Book Conservation Program. I have to admit that I thought that with about 20 years of previous bookbinding and restoration experience that I could test out of this class. I am very glad that I did not test out. I learned a lot of techniques to compliment my previous studies and am now a much better Book Conservator for it. Brenda is an excellent teacher and is especially good at looking over what you have done and pointing out where it could be better (in a nice way). This was only a one week class and it seemed we barely got started before it was time to leave. I really liked having the weekend in between classes to catch up, explore Telluride and do more work for class.

The only class I did not take was the Box Making class since you are allowed to test out of it. I had learned how to make boxes a long time ago from David Weinstein. He taught me how to measure properly and what to look for and if you have that, you can make any box! (Hopefully I am passing some of that along in my clamshell lesson.)
The AAB has also added a new class to the program that is on basic binding structures and I didn’t take that class either although I am pretty sure I could have tested out of that one as well.

After finishing all my classes and my homework I started the work that would be presented to the jury for graduation. The list of requirements can seem a bit daunting at first and one would be wise to start working on it well before the graduation date. I told Judy from AAB that I wanted to graduate while I was at class this last spring and she said I would have to get everything done before September 1st so that Don could look over all my work before the Jury. He had to make sure that I was ready so that I wouldn’t show up to the jury and not graduate. Then I had one month to fix any mistakes before Standards in San Francisco. Really I should have had the work in earlier because one month isn’t a long enough time to send it back to Don for final inspection.

Here is the list of required projects for the jury.
One research Paper with an appropriate subject, 10 pages or so double spaced
One Page repaired with Japanese tissue
One Page repaired with Heat Set tissue
One Leather Re-back, One Book Cloth Restoration
One Japanese Tissue Hinge Repair on a leather book
One Book in Boards that has been re-sewn and the sewing and end-bands are left exposed
The Set Book: The Set Book is one volume from a set of books that they have purchased at the school. You must create a new full leather binding for the book and then make a half leather clamshell box for it.
(Photos below show leather re-back, before and after; the set book, its clamshell box and interior.)

Well, I passed and the jury said many wonderful things about my work and it is sad to think that I don’t have to go to Telluride anymore. Of course I could always try for that Fine Binding Diploma…

If anyone would like more information about the AAB I am happy to communicate through e-mail. Just write me at

Member News

Other upcoming book arts shows at 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland, owned by GBW Northwest Chapter Laura Russell:

March 4-27, 2010
Virginia Flynn presents a new show of her very popular paper cuts and Karen Hanmer of Chicago will be showing artist books. Preview Virginia's work here. Preview Karen's work here.

April 1 - May 1, 2010
Painter and book artist Linda Welch returns to 23 Sandy with more handmade books, paintings and sculptural collages. See her work here.

Karen Hanmer's book The Model Architect: The Panic of '09 (pictured below) was one of six winners of the Building by the Book competition sponsored by Philadelphia Athenaeum and Philadelphia Center for the Book. For more about the book, see Karen's website.

Close of November 2009 Newsletter

I thought I'd close with part of a long, remarkable quote I ran across recently in the book Vitebsk: The Life of Art by Aleksandra Shatskikh. The writer is the Russian suprematist El Lissitzky, and the year is 1920:

"the signs in books produce in us movement of a new order different from the voice and this movement must be strengthened and put in the foreground. the contrast of air pressure in different locations produces wind storms thus the contrast of turning pages should move us. construct the book like the body moving through space and time like a moving relief in which each page is a form-bearing surface and with each turn a new intersection and a new phase of a single structure."

Ah, that imperative "construct the book like the body moving through space and time," it's the stuff of revolution.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.