NEGBW interviews Amy Lapidow


Amy Lapidow is a graduate of the North Bennet Street School and operates The Three Ring Binders in Somerville, Massachusetts.  She co-authored The Book Arts Studio handbook with her friend Stacie Dolin, published in 2013.  I recently caught up with her to ask some questions about teaching and writing.

I’m interested to hear how you adapted your teaching skills in the creation of your book.  How did your in-person teaching experience help you to write this book?  Were there any unexpected challenges or successes?

Having taught was essential to the book. If we had not ever taught, I don’t think we could have done it, or done it within the time frame (3 months). Our teaching experience made it possible to not only choose what projects we would present, but how to present them, how to break up the steps and also to scale down the projects to an appropriate level.

The biggest challenge for me was communicating with the copy editors, and not being forceful enough when I needed to.

Our biggest success was after the first photo session knowing how many “cakes to have in the oven” and being able to pause at the appropriate places so the right photos would be taken.

You co-authored this book with your friend, Stacie Dolin.  How did your friendship influence the book? 

I am so grateful for Stacie. We have complementary skills, so it made the collaboration so much easier. And yes, we are still friends now that it is over.

You studied at the North Bennet Street School, and operate the Three Ring Binders Studio.  You have had many venues to explore your work.  How has the Guild of Book Workers in particular been beneficial to you in your career? 

Yes. When I was just starting out, people were so nice. They did not mind that I was a beginner. It was a good way to meet people who were interested in the same things.

I have taken a number of classes through the Guild as well.

What other projects or ideas are in your future?

I am trying to keep up with the work I have. I am also teaching a new class in the spring on Springbacks. A new class is always a challenge because you are never quite sure how it will go until you do it for real.

Any advice to bookbinders seeking to teach or publish?

Be over prepared, get some volunteers to test out whatever you are doing. You will learn many of your pitfalls when someone else tries to do the thing you are explaining.

-Interview conducted by Olivia Rose Muzzy, September 2013

Shirley Jones & The Red Hen Press Exhibition Lecture and Reception


Shirley Jones is an accomplished writer and artist, born and still residing in Wales. The Mortimer Rare Book Room is helping to celebrate the 30th anniversary of her Red Hen Press this year with an exhibition of her limited edition books and prints, September 12-December 20. On Thursday, September 26, Shirley will give an illustrated talk in the Neilson Library Browsing Room at 4 pm, followed by a reception and viewing of the exhibiton on the third floor of Neilson in the Book Arts Gallery.

Shirley Jones’ writing is often personal, and she also illustrates ancient Welsh sagas and histories which she translates into English. She specializes in aquatints and mezzotints; the exhibition includes a series of mezzotint state proofs demonstrating the process. Shirley has a long-standing friendship with curators and staff in special collections at Smith; we hope you will join us to welcome her once again as she delights us with words and prints.

A retrospective catalog, Shirley Jones and the Red Hen Press, is available in the Mortimer Rare Book Room (and by mail). For more information on Shirley’s work and the catalog: