A Wider Purpose: Maker Talk with Members of the Guild of Book Workers, New England Chapter
Wednesday, February 3, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
The Guild of Book Workers New England Chapter 40th Anniversary Exhibition features works by 30 artists, some of which were completed as early as 2004, and one of which remains in progress. Exhibitor and GBW Board Member Jennifer Pellecchia will give a “gallery talk”, and discuss some of the challenges and advantages of moving the exhibition online. Katrina Carye, Colin Urbina, and Stephanie Wolff, will speak about the works they submitted, and the ways that current events have shaped their creative lives.
Workshop: A Wardrobe of Paper Cases with Karen Hanmer
Saturday, February 27, 9:30am – 12:30pm
In this one session online workshop we will quickly construct a text block using a very speedy sewing technique. This will free up the remainder of our time together to concentrate on folding a variety of paper cases to dress this text block ”mannequin”. As each case is presented, suggestions will be given on appropriate sewing techniques and endsheet constructions for that particular structure. All structures are low or no adhesive. All can be constructed in a sparsely-equipped home studio with minimal specialized equipment. This workshop is appropriate for intermediate binders, beginners who are ready for a fast-paced workout, and anyone who wants to add more paper cases to their repertoire.
Karen Hanmer’s artist-made books are physical manifestations of personal essays intertwining history, culture, politics, science and technology. She utilizes both traditional and contemporary book structures, and the work is often playful in content or format. Hanmer is winner of the Jury Prize for Binding in the 2009 Helen Warren DeGolyer American Bookbinding Competition. One of only ten graduates of the American Academy of Bookbinding’s Fine Binding program, Hanmer has studied with many notable fine binders. She exhibits widely, and her work is included in collections ranging from Tate Britain and the Library of Congress to UCLA and Graceland. Solo exhibition venues include Florida Atlantic University, University of the West of England Bristol, and the Center for Book Arts (NYC).
We are pleased to announce the launch of the New England Chapter 40th Anniversary Exhibition! Members from across the nation created a range of bindings from traditional fine bindings to creative design bindings. There are innovative artist books and sculptural pieces. We hope you enjoy this exhibit as it showcases the brilliant and creative community that makes up the New England Chapter.
We will be launching a series of interviews about our past Chapter Chairs. Announcements will follow when they become available. We are also creating programming around our exhibit, so stay tuned!
The tour will be led by Burns Library conservator and exhibit curator Barbara Adams Hebard and Burns Librarian Christian Dupont. Louise Imogen Guiney (1861-1920), one of only two women represented in stained-glass portraits of American authors in Bapst Library at Boston College, may have faded from the canon, yet she continues to offer a unique window into the multifaceted literary establishment of late 19th-century Boston.
This is a very special Show and Tell, sponsored by the New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers, featuring bindings of the Encyclopedia of Inspiration! We were so delighted to be joined by Janine Vangool of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and the Publisher of Uppercase Magazine, and Todd Pattison and Sharon Pattison. Janine spoke about how the Uppercase Encyclopedia of Inspiration was developed and Todd spoke about the history of the binding project, and detailed how he facilitates distributing the Encyclopedia in sheets to each group of binders.
Ten talented binders shared the books they made for the project. They are:
Please join the Guild of Book Workers, New England Chapter, as we revisit our karaoke-style show and tell format, this time with a special theme!
Janine Vangool, will join us from Calgary, Canada, to talk about publishing Uppercase, a magazine for the creative and curious, and the Encyclopedia of Inspiration, a series of books celebrating creativity, craft, and design. Since the first volume of the Encyclopedia was published in 2016, Janine has generously provided copies in sheets to book artists, who use them to create one-of-a-kind bindings inspired by the contents. This project has been facilitated by Todd Pattison, Conservator for the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and an active member of the Guild of Book Workers. He’ll be on hand to speak more about the project, and will introduce us to some of the makers who have participated.
To RSVP, please fill out the following form. Zoom info will be sent closer to the event.
This event will be free and open to the public. Please note that we will be recording this session and uploading it to Vimeo for all Guild members to view. This video will be available only to Guild members and will be password protected. You many turn off your camera if you do not wish to be recorded.
Click on each book to see all the bindings that were made for it!
The Chapter continues to invite talented book workers to share their knowledge with our members. The following list shows the workshops that took place from 2010 – 2019, sourced from old Guild newsletters.
– Karen Hanmer gave a workshop on “All Shook Up: Interplay of text and image in the flag book format”
– Julia Miller taught a workshop on “Scaleboard Bindings” at North Bennet Street School who also co-hosted this event
– Richard Horton offered two different workshops: “American Springback Working Composite Model” and “Photo Album Structures & Strategies”
– during a 3-day weekend excursion to Northern Maine, participants took a workshop with Nancy Leavitt titled “Pen, Paper and Paint” and with Katie MacGregor on “A Hand Papermaker’s Perspective”; participants learned calligraphy techniques from Nancy and formed sheets of paper with a custom watermark with Katie
– a workshop with London-based bookbinder, Ben Elbel was conducted through a video/chat platform, participants took the workshop at North Bennet Street School and created his unique structure known as the Onion Skin Binding
– the Northeast Document Conservation Center hosted a workshop with Jill Timm on “The Amazing Dremel”
– “Basic Metalworking for Bookbinders” workshop
– Jim Croft taught a “Long-Stitch Binding” workshop at NBSS
– Third Year Studios hosted two workshop for Guild members: Coleen Curry taught a workshop on “Staple Binding in Stone Veneer” and Jeff Altepeter taught his “Making Finishing Tools” workshop
– in a co-sponsored workshop with Dartmouth College, Abigail Bainbridge taught a workshop on “Bookbinding According to Diderot”
– “Italian Tacketed Stationery Bindings” with Katherine Beaty was taught at Third Year Studios
– London-based fine binder, Nicky Oliver taught a workshop on her “Decorative Leather Dyeing Techniques”
– Washington Street Art Center hosted a workshop with Madeleine Durham on her “Paste Paper” technique
– Daniel E. Kelm hosted members in his studio at Wide Awake Garage for a workshop on “The Book Restructured: Wire Edge Binding”
In most recent years, the Chapter has seen a steady membership and lasting commitment to sharing knowledge and experience. The following list shows the lectures that took place from 2010 – 2019, sourced from old Guild newsletters.
– to help celebrate the North Bennet Street School’s 125th Anniversary, NEGBW co-sponsored a variety of lectures to be held at the school
– Julia Miller gave a presentation on “Scaleboard Bindings” about NBSS
– Gretchen and Garrett Dixon from The Marbler’s Apprentice gave a presentation on “Historic Paper Marbling” in a co-sponsored event with NBSS
– Aimee Lee gave a presentation on “Korean Papermaking” at NBSS
– during a weekend excursion to Northern Maine, members heard lectures from Walter Tisdale, book artist, on “Exploring the Creative Process” and a lecture with Gray Parrot, Bookbinder, titled “43 Years in the Trade: My Career as a Decorative Bookbinder”, where members got to handle many of Parrot’s work
– Stuart Bennet gave a lecture from his publication “Trade Bookbinding in the British Isles 1660 – 1800” at NBSS
– at the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University, Bill Hanscom, Rare Book Conservator at Widener Library, gave a talk on “Traditional Ethiopian Bookbinding”
– during the Beyond Words exhibit at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, members were treated to a gallery talk
– members visited Rabelais Books for a talk from proprietor, Don Lindgren
– during a visit to the Providence Public Library, members were given a presentation on the Nicholson Whaling Log Book Collection
– Katherine Beaty, Rare Book Conservator at Widener Library, discussed “Tackets, Overboards, Lacings and Buckles: a lecture on early Italian stationery bindings of Harvard’s Baker Library” at the Widener Library in Harvard University
– guest lecturer, Nicky Oliver, a private practice binder from London, spoke on “The Serendipity of Bookbinding: A Bookbinder’s Journey into the World of Leather Dyeing” at NBSS
– at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Conservator Todd Pattison, gave a lecture on “Adhered Boards Construction: The transitional ‘missing link’ between laced on boards and case binding”
– John DeMerritt spoke at NBSS on “Building a Living Craft”, where he spoke on his decades of experience as an edition binder
– during a visit to Boston, private practice conservator and tool maker, Jeff Peachey spoke about his recent project “Conservation of Dante’s 1477 La Commedia” at the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University
The New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers will host its 2020 Annual Meeting online this year. We hope to maintain the same sense of community and member input that we strive for at every annual meeting.
Please join us for a presentation by Sarah Pike who will be speaking about the various services she offers at FreeFall Laser. We’ve also invited three different makers to speak about how they’ve used laser-cutting in recent projects: Amy Borezo, Andrea Dezsö and Aspen Golann. Please see below for more information on the presenters.
NEGBW Annual Meeting
Wednesday, August 26
7:00 – 8:30pm (EST)
Following the discussion, Chapter Chair Erin Fletcher will give updates on Chapter Business.
RSVP: Please register here if you plan to attend. Zoom info will be sent prior to the meeting. The meeting is open to both members and non-members.
Sarah Pike is a printmaker and owner of FreeFall Laser, a laser-cutting studio specializing in collaborating with artists and artisans to create custom work that combines technical expertise with artistic exploration. She received her MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Prior to opening FreeFall Laser, Sarah taught studio arts at the Community College of Vermont and printmaking at Bennington College, where she was the Technical Instructor of Printmaking.
Amy Borezo is an artist working in the book form. She owns and operates Shelter Bookworks, an edition binding studio located in Western Massachusetts. Amy has used laser cutting to assist in decorative techniques for fine press edition binding. This includes laser engraving a plexiglas plate to emboss leather, as well as cutting complex shapes out of book board. Amy has also used laser cutting to create imagery in her own artist’s books.
Andrea Dezsö is a visual artist who works across a broad range of media including drawing, painting, artist’s books, embroidery, cut paper, animation, sculpture, site-specific installation and public art. Dezsö’s permanent public art has been installed in three New York City subway stations, at the United States Embassy in Bucharest, Romania and at CUNY BMCC Fiterman Hall in Lower Manhattan. Community Garden, Dezsö’s mosaic in the New York City subway was recognized as Best American Public Art in 2007 by Americans for the Arts. Dezsö worked with FreeFall Laser to produce seven large scale laser-cut tunnel books for her upcoming exhibition From the Murky Banks of Chattahoochee, a site-specific installation at the Columbus Museum in Columbus, Georgia.
Aspen Golann is an artist and a 17th & 18th century-style furniture maker from Boston, MA. Of her collaboration with Free Fall Laser, she writes: “I pursued glass enameling because I was looking for a way to integrate my paintings into my furniture practice. Sarah Pike was able to faithfully translate my drawings into vector files and cut my hand drawn lines into clear sticky plastic. From there I was able to apply the cut plastic to shaped glass and remove pieces and apply glass enamels one section at a time. That process is what gives my airbrushed patterns their sharp lines and contrast. From there I pour silvering chemicals by hand to capture the enameled sections within a functional mirror.”
The following workshops were scheduled between 2000 – 2009 and show the Chapter’s continued determination to schedule diverse programming for its members.
– calligrapher Peter Halliday taught a workshop on the use of gold leaf
– Babette Gehnrich taught a “Paper Repair” workshop at the American Antiquarian Society
– Priscilla Spitzmueller, Chief Conservator for Special Collections of the Harvard University Libraries, taught a workshop on “Girdle Bindings”, where participants constructed a model of a small, wooden-boarded book sewn on double-raised cords and cover in soft deerskin, with clasps and an overcomer with an extending skirt terminating in a decorative knot for attachment to the girdle
– in a 2-day workshop at the Northeast Document Conservation Center, Deborah Evetts taught “Gold Tooling”
– book artist, Paul Johnson, gave a workshop at North Bennet Street School on “The Book as Picture: The Permanently Open Page”
– during a visit from Christopher Clarkson, he taught a workshop on “Endbands, End of Spine-Bands & Headbands”
– back by popular demand, Elizabeth Morse taught another workshop on “Pressure Sensitive Tape Removal” at Dartmouth College
– Peter Verheyen taught a workshop on “Springback Ledger Binding”
– in a co-sponsored workshop with the New York Chapter, Renate Mesmer, Head of the Conservation Department at Centro del bel Libro, taught a workshop at NBSS on “Wooden Board Conservation Binding”
– members made a field trip to Montgomery, New York for a parchment workshop with Jesse Meyer at Pergamena
2004 – 2005
– Donia Conn taught a workshop at Dartmouth College on “Molded Paper Spine Conservation Binding”
– in addition to giving a lecture, Martin Frost also gave a workshop at the Boston Athenaeum on “The Curious Art of Hidden Fore-Edge Painting”
– Terry Boon gave a workshop on “Paper Conservation for Bookbinders and Book Conservators” at NEDCC
– Shanna Leino gave a workshop on “Bone Toolmaking” at NBSS
In 1992, the New England Chapter celebrated it’s 10th Anniversary with a member’s exhibit. The year denotes ten years since the chapter’s first exhibit and not when the chapter formed, which was 1980. This exhibit certainly continues in the chapter’s mission to celebrate and support a diverse group of book workers in all levels of skill.
The membership and community continued to grow from a handful of members in 1980 to one-hundred in 1992. Today we have nearly two-hundred steady members.
This post is a continuation of our A Look Back series, which is part of our celebration of 40 years as a chapter. I asked two exhibitors to speak about their work and their place in the bookbinding community at the time.
My interest in bookbinding began with a fascination for design binding, the unique artistic bindings reflective of the contents of the book. I took a major detour into conservation because it is a lot easier to make a living repairing books than in creating artistic bindings. But throughout my career, I continued to create artistic bindings and book art. It has been fascinating to revisit the bindings I entered into the NEGBW 10th Anniversary exhibition.
They are among the first artistic bindings that I was willing to display publicly. I am struck by how different they are from the bindings I now create, but also how similar.
Around the Day in Eighty Worlds is one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors, Julio Cortazar. The title is a pun on the Jules Verne novel Around the World in Eighty Days. I exhibited this binding a second time in A Dedication to Craft: North Bennet Street School @ 125 at the Concord Art Museum in Concord, MA, in 2009-2010. While the exhibition was being installed, the curator called me and hemmed and hawed for a while before blurting out that I had the title wrong on the spine. He was expecting Jules Verne and not Julio Cortazar.
Done in a traditional laced in structure with double core silk endbands and a top edge decorated with graphite, it was bound in full black goatskin with circular collages of paper, photographs, and wood veneer. This is my first artistic binding incorporating materials other than leather and gold. Looking at the binding again, I fear that the central panel on the upper cover has faded a little. I don’t remember the background looking so white. The gold titling looks better than I remember, but it uses a typeface that I now dislike and haven’t used since. Maybe it was the only typeface I had at the time.
The enclosure is a silk clamshell box with an interior box displaying the binding, with tin lithographic globes on brass rods suspended around the binding. The design concept of both book and box is a simple one: worlds upon worlds, hence the circles and globes, each a world in itself. Around the Day in Eighty Worlds features collaged images, but images never feature in my later work. Over the last twenty years, my designs have become increasingly geometric, almost abstract, with strong colors, sharp edges, geometric shapes and straight lines. There is little to orient the viewer, little that is pictorial or recognizable. Sam Ellenport once told me that my bindings feature negative space, as though what isn’t there is as important as what is. Over time I find myself less and less able to explain my bindings or even to suggest the correspondences between the text and images that inform what appears on the binding.
I haven’t looked at this binding in years, and I’m not too disappointed.
My second binding in the exhibition, Hell, has a textblock of hell money, which is burned at some Asian funerals to ensure that the deceased has money to spend in the afterlife. Someone suggested to me that it is insulting to use hell money in this way, but I am under the impression that burning hell money at a funeral is more a cultural custom than a religious act. No sacrilege intended. Hell money comes in many variations of design, color and size, making it ideal as a book art material.
Hell was one of my first miniatures. Since then I’ve done dozens, but I can’t say I like miniatures. I’m attracted to the challenge of constructing a book that functions correctly in a small format. Binding a miniature is much more aggravating than a larger book, and because of the small size, every error looms large. Each time I finish a miniature I swear to myself that I’ll never do another, but somehow, over time, I come across an interesting textblock, or I have an inspiration. Suddenly I find myself struggling with another miniature binding.
In the catalog, Hell was photographed with the textblock open so a viewer can’t see the binding. Apparently, the photographer thought that the contents were more interesting than the binding. This was the first time one of my bindings was screwed up in a catalog, but not unfortunately the last. I’ve had books reproduced upside down or flipped, both victims of an artistic decision to not include titling. Hell is now in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum.
Looking back at my bindings from thirty years ago is both pleasurable and agonizing. I’ve never been satisfied with any binding, but with the passage of time both look better than I remember.
I first became aware of the New England Chapter of the Guild when a friend and colleague of mine, an NBSS grad who worked with me at Bill Minter’s in Chicago made the day trip to Ann Arbor to see 1989 NE Chapter exhibit. Robin had told numerous stories of her time at NBSS and working in Pioneer Valley with among others David Bourbeau and William Streeter, also introducing me to the work of Carol Blinn. A couple years later, I moved to New Haven to work at Yale and found that the “Hamptons” to the north were heaven on earth for a binder. Having apprenticed and studied in Germany/Switzerland 1984-97 I was steeped in the German tradition and found so much to love in New England. The New England Chapter quickly became a wonderful “home” and resource.
In addition to the regular events in the Pioneer Valley, often at 1 Cottage Street, the Chapter’s exhibits were a wonderful opportunity to share my work more widely. Even though I was the Guild’s Exhibitions Chair at the time, I was still a relatively new exhibitor and only in my 4th post-apprentice year, working primarily as a conservator. These exhibitions provided a “safe” venue to share my work, and draw inspiration from binders I looked up to. Often, I used these exhibits to explore new techniques as it was with this Danish millimeter binding.
As I didn’t have a stamping press in those days, nor access to one, I used my then pride, a laser printer, to print the label, and then recessed it into the board with a border on top the way we often did at Bill Minter’s when I worked there. Was a simple way to make a label stand out more. My sense of typography has evolved since then and there are things I would do differently, but that’s as it should be. We work with what we have… The text block from the Sea Pen Press and Papermill was one of the first fine press/artists I had purchased after getting to know the artists Suzanne Ferris and Neal Bonham at GBW Standards in Portland, also my first.
At this time, I had also begun my shift towards binding fine press, letterpress printed text blocks, rather than rebinding mass market trade books. If I was going to invest in quality materials, my ongoing professional and creative development, the least I could do was put my efforts into beautiful text blocks. So much the better if created by artists and colleagues I admired, something that was very easy in New England. The friendships and other connections I was able to make during my time in New England strengthened my still new foundation as a binder, and provided a sense of community that I would miss after leaving the area.