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.
Although programming occurred less often, the Chapter continued on with its efforts to share knowledge through the following lectures. All this information has been sourced from old Guild Newsletters from 2000 – 2009.
– during the annual meeting at the Rhode Island School of Design, Reader’s Services Librarian, Laurie Whitehall Chong, spoke on the history of artist’s books, showing examples from the collection of over 600 pieces
– at North Bennet Street School, Per Culled, Senior Conservator at the Uppsala University Library in Sweden, gave a presentation on the fire at the Linkoping Library, in addition to a demonstration on “Paper Splitting”
– during a tour at the new Berry Library at Dartmouth College, a panel discussion on Standards was given by Eric Alstrom (Dartmouth College), Mark Andersson (NBSS) and Peter Verheyen (Syracuse University) with James Reid-Cunningham as moderator
– David Lanning, from Hewit’s Tannery, discussed the longevity of leathers made for bookbinding
– Nancy Norton Tomasko, editor of The East Asian Library Journal at Princeton University, gave a talk on “Chinese Papermaking” at RISD
– Christopher Clarkson gave a slide lecture on “The Kennicott Bible: a description of its illumination, box binding, and conservation problems” at the Harvard Law Library
– a lecture on “The Making of an Armenian Manuscript” was given by Sylvie Merian at the Bedford Free Public Library
– in a co-sponsored event with Masscribes, Patricia Lovett lectured on “Medieval Manuscripts to Modern Calligraphy” at the Arlington Center for the Arts
– Katie MacGregor presented on papermaking where she discussed fiber and pigment formulas she had developed for making conservation papers for older books, other aspects of her process and her career in the field
– Dr. John L. Sharpe spoke on “Development of the Early Codex”
– at The Club of Odd Volumes, Sam Ellenport lectured on “The Economics of Desire: The History of the Club Bindery”
– Martin Frost gave a lecture at the Boston Public Library on “The Curious Art of Hidden Fore-Edge Painting”
– Scott Husby, former Rare Books Conservator at Princeton University, spoke on his research into the history of incunables at the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University
– Tom Conroy gave a lecture
– Shanna Leino gave an artist talk at NBSS
The programs created by the New England Chapter during this time period were primarily lectures, but workshops were also an important way to share knowledge and techniques. The following list of workshops during 1990 – 1999 were sourced from old GBW Newsletters.
– Hugo Peller gave two workshops at North Bennet Street School on making a small book and “pop-up” box with onlay decoration
– Monique Lallier also gave a workshop at NBSS
– during a visit to the Easthampton Public Library, Hedi Kyle gave a workshop on “Oriental Binding Structures”
– two workshops were designed around the NEGBW 10th Anniversary exhibit: a 2-day workshop on Decorated papers and marbling on fabric with Nancy Leavitt and a 4-day workshop on Calligraphy with Maude Olsen
– during the annual meeting Joe Newman gave a workshop on Rebacking and Timothy Hasten gave a workshop on Archival Matting
– Daniel Kelm held a co-sponsored seminar with NBSS on “Chemistry for Book Workers”
– the Northeast Document Conservation Center hosted a workshop with Deborah Evetts, book conservator at the Pierpont Morgan Library, on “Gold Tooling”
– the Head of Book Restoration at Centro del Bel Libro, Julia Puissant, gave a workshop on “The Restoration and Conservation of Parchment”
– Barbara Meier-Husby gave a workshop at NEDCC on “Long-Fiber Mending of Book-leaf Materials”
– Betsy Palmer Eldridge taught a workshop of variations on supported and unsupported sewing methods at NEDCC
– Nicholas Pickwoad presented a 1-day seminar on “Writing Condition and Treatment Reports” on two different occasions at NEDCC and the American Antiquarian Society; this seminar focused on a recent study of Judaica Collection at Harvard University
– a workshop on “Tunnel Books” was taught by Carol Barton where students designed and constructed a tunnel or “peephole” book
– Terry Buckley, Senior Lecturer in Bookbinding at the London College of Printing, taught a workshop on “Dyeing and Staining Leather” at the Creative Arts Workshop
– Monique Lallier taught a workshop on “Edge Treatments”
– a workshop on “Pressure Sensitive Tape Removal” with Elizabeth Morse was taught at the Harvard University Library Preservation Center
– a 1-day workshop by Richard Horton on “Leaf Structures for Photo Albums” was give at Wide Awake Garage
– Peter Geraty taught “Board Construction for Adhesive-Bound Parchment Bindings”
– Betsy Palmer Eldridge gave a workshop on “Endbands”
– guest instructor from Sweden, Adam Larsson, taught a workshop on the “Cross Structure Binding” at NBSS
During the second decade, the Chapter continued to thrive and stay active with lots of programming. The following is a list of lectures given during 1990 – 1999, all sourced from the GBW Newsletter.
– Nicholas Pickwoad gave a slide lecture on “Stained Decoration of 17th and 18thc. Bookbinding” at the Boston Public Library – this lecture was co-sponsored with North Bennet Street School
– Dr. Sydney Berger (Curator of Manuscripts and Archives at the American Antiquarian Society) spoke during the NEGBW General Meeting on the Antiquarian book trade and the perils of evaluating books
– Roger Stoddard (from the Houghton Library at Harvard University) gave a lecture on William Gowans, a 19thc. Antiquarian Bookseller – this lecture was co-sponsored as an annual lecture series with the Friends of the Wellesley College Library
– talk at the Easthampton Public Library with Nancy Jacoby (from the Japanese Paper Place) on “The Varnishing World of Japanese Handmade Papers”
– given at the Harcourt Bindery, Scott Vile, proprietor of Ascensius Press presented a slide lecture on the history and predecessors of his press: Southworth, Authoenson, Shagbark and Ascensius Presses
– as part of the Wellesley College Library lecture series: David Esselmont, proprietor of Gregynog Press spoke
– during the annual meeting held the Northeast Document Conservation Center, Sherelyn Ogden, Director of Book Conservation at NEDCC, spoke on “Preservation Options for Scrapbook and Album Formats”
1992 – a lecture and demonstration by Frank Mowery on “Form and Function, the Logic of German Bookbinding” – Harry Duncan of the Cummington Press was invited to speak on an exhibition of Cummington Press books in the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College – this lecture was co-sponsored with the Letterpress Guild
– during the annual meeting held at Acme Bindery, David Bourbeau repeated his Standard’s presentation on “Mastering the refinements of case bookbindings”
– during the annual meeting at NEDCC, Brian Allen gave a slide lecture on “Letterforms: From Stonecut to Computer – an illustrated journey through the history of written communication in western culture”
– during a meeting held at the Carriage House Handmade Paper Works, Elaine Koretsky spoke about Chinese papermaking and demonstrated techniques she learned during a trip to China
– presentation by Robert Hauser on “Preservation of Collections: Programs and Disasters” given at the New Bedford Whaling Museum
– during a meeting at the Harvard Law School Library, David Ferris, Curator of Rare Books, spoke about notable bindings from the collection
– Monona Rossol, an Industrial Hygienist, spoke on “Hazardous Materials – Health and Safety in your Studio” at the American Antiquarian Society
– another lecture at AAS was given by Sue Allen on “Connoisseurship of 19thc. Bookbindings”
– Joe Newman gave a talk on Mary Crease Sears, the first American master-bookbinder of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Boston
– during a meeting at NEDCC a panel discussion on “Ethics and Standards in Bookbinding” included the following panelists: Nancy Schrock (Conservator and Consultant to major libraries), Nancy Southworth (edition and fine binder), Paul Parisi (President of Acme Bookbinding Co.) and Karl Eberth (binder in private practice) with Sam Ellenport as moderator
– Bill Streeter gave a presentation of his research on copy presses, beginning with James Watt’s 1780 letterpress copying machine and ending with Chester Carlson’s copying machine of 1938 – this was held at Wide Awake Garage in Easthampton
– Carol Barton gave a slide lecture on historical antecedents of tunnel books
– during a visit to the Providence Public Library, Dr. Philip Maddock, a private collector, spoke on Irish bookbinding along with a viewing of decorative bindings from the collection
– at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, members heard a lecture from Scott Kehoe on how to photograph books
– Rick Cavasin gave a presentation at NBSS on his production of parchment and vellum
– Roger Barleee, Director of J. Hewit & Sons Tannery, in Edinburgh, Scotland gave two talks on leather production (one at Harvard University and one at Smith College)
– during a visit to the Burns Library at Boston College, Sally Key, Instructor of NBSS, discussed the construction of model historic bindings and Dr. Bernard Meaghan, Keeper of the Manuscripts at Trinity College, talked about the materials used in the manufacture of the Book of Kells
– during a joint chapter meeting with the Letterpress Guild and NEGBW at the Quercus Press, Johnny Carerra demonstrated the use of his Linotype and showed his work as both printer and binder
– during a meeting held at Goldsmith 3 (a custom design and hand-crafted jewelry business), proprietor, Vincent Ferrini, demonstrated making and applying metal to books in his talk “Metal Book Hinges, Clasps, Hasps and Escutcheons”
– Nancy Leavitt gave a slide lecture on her three-week trip to Northumbria titled “From Landscape to Manuscript Book: a tour of Iona and Holy Island” where she discussed the Gospel Book produced in the great religious centers of Iona, Scotland and Holy Island, England from 650 through 1000CE
– Stuart Walker, Head of Book Conservation, spoke about the exhibit “Five Centuries of Bookbindings at the Boston Public Library: an exhibit of bookbinding from the collection of the Rare Book and Manuscript Department”
– an additional lecture at the Boston Public Library was given by Christopher Clarkson on “Conservation of Early Books”
Books have always been a vessel for storing and spreading information. As bookbinders we can use our skills right now to help disseminate information for the Black Lives Matter movement and introduce all types of people to the facts about police brutality.
Sarah Bryant, Big Jump Press, has shared her book Read This Out Loud as a free downloadable PDF that can be easily bound. On her blog, you can find the link to the PDF, plus some video tutorials for how to bind it.
Read This Out Loud is meant to be distributed for free or if sold, all proceeds should go toward Black Lives Matter or a similar organization.
The book was designed in June 2020 in a response to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and includes the names of people who have died by police brutality. Check out Sarah’s blog for more information about the book itself and how this information was compiled.
The first decade of the New England Chapter was filled with social gatherings at various institutions and member’s studios. The following is a list of events during 1980 – 1989, all sourced from the GBW Newsletter.
– Timothy Barrett spoke about his research in Japanese and Western paper at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, MA
– after a tour of the conservation lab at Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University members walked through the exhibit Eccentric Books, which included antiquarian and modern work with movable parts, revolving discs, cut-outs, flaps, pull-tabs, “pop-up” books
– Sue Baughman hosted a meeting at Clark University’s Goddard Library, where Dorothy Minkowski spoke about the collection in the rare book room including examples of fore edge painting
– Peter Geraty gave a workshop on Oriental book strucutres
– two workshops with Hugo Peller: “Pop-Up Boxes” and “Gold Tooling & Leather Decoration Techniques”
– John Dreyfus, a British typographical historian spoke about the connection between printing and the invention of spectacles
– a teacher at the Rhode Island School of Design, Janet Sweig, talked about contemporary artists’ books
– during a meeting at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, members were given a tour of the storage facilities and conservation lab to view an extensive conservation project of 1,000 logbooks treated by Robert Hauser
– members Carol Blinn, Suzanne Moore, Joe Newman and Don Glaister participated in a panel discussion at the reception for the National Guild’s Exhibit Eighty Years Later
– North Bennet Street School hosted a meeting for members, where Mark Esser gave a tour of the new bindery facilities and special guests Don Glaister and Fritz Eberhart discussed their approach to design binding with a slide show presentation
– a film viewing of Robert Baart’s “Gold Beating: The Making of Gold Leaf” was screened at Harcourt Bindery followed by several demonstrations by Daniel Kelm (presentation on the “Mythology, Alchemy and Magic of gold”), Joe Newman (different techniques for gold tooling on trade and fine bindings), Peter Geraty (edge gilding) and Suzanne Moore (laying gold for illumination)
– tour of Carriage House Handmade Papers studio followed by a slide show presentation by Elaine and Donna Koretsky on making paper in Burma
– Third Annual Book Workers Olympics
– Mr. Niyazi Sayin gave a lecture on Turkish Ebru
– Daniel and Babetta Gehnrich gave a talk on the German apprenticeship system with examples of their work at the Boston Public Library
– Hugo Peller offered two workshops, one on edge decoration at the Northeast Document Conservation Center and a second on vellum techniques at the Creative Arts Workshop
– Ole Olson taught a workshop on paste paper techniques at David Bourbeau’s studio in Easthampton
– members met at the American Antiquarian Society to critique and discuss bindings from an exhibit
– Roderick “Rocky” Stinehour, Chairman of Meridan-Stinehour Press and a well-known printer in New England, gave a lecture on the history of printing at Wellesley College (co-sponsored by Wellesley College, The Society of Printers, The Letterpress Guild of New England and the New England Chapter of the American Printing History Association)
– the Boston Athenaeum hosted a meeting with 38 members with a tour followed by a special viewing of an exhibit at the Houghton Library Harvard University on the work of Arno Werner
– Sue Allen gave a slide show presentation on Victorian Publisher’s Bindings
– Kathryn Gerlach hosted a meeting with 28 members at The Old Mill in Shaftsbury, Vermont. She set up her studio with a display of bindings in various stages of completion and showed several books that had been bound by her and her husband, Gerhard. Kathryn gave a short slide show of work they had completed discussing their experiences as binders.
– a meeting was held at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut with host Mother Agnes Shaw. Members were gathered to hear the Office of Sext (5th century Gregorian chant) followed by a presentation by Mother Agnes on cut leather, a technique dating back to the 12th century.
– Don Glaister and Suzanne Moore hosted the 2nd Annual Book Workers Olympics in Westhampton
– a talk on the history of binding from the 19th century to the present was given by Julie Stackpole using slides images on collections from the Bodleian Library
– Bill and Elaine Streeter of Heraldry Bindery host the 1st Annual Bookbinding Olympics in Easthampton
– at a summer meeting Don Glaister spoke about his bindings
– Northeast Document Conservation Center hosted 30 members for a meeting where Sherelyn Ogden gave a slide presentation on a book treatment done at the center followed by a tour of the facilities
– a meeting in the fall took place at the Rare Book Room of Smith College
– a meeting at One Cottage Street included slide shows and tours from Carol Blinn, Claudia Cohen, Daniel Kelm, Gray Parrot and Alan Robinson
– Don Glaister hosted a pot luck dinner for members to meet with Danish Ole Olsen who gave a slide show presentation
In June 1990, the chapter took part in a celebration for Arno Werner’s 91st birthday at his studio in Hadlyme, Connecticut.
In her book, A Binding Love, Carol Blinn reflects on her apprenticeship and friendship with Arno. In 1975, Carol interviewed Arno about his early life in Germany, fifty years after he came to the United States with just $25 in his pocket and a cigar box which held his small binding tools.
Arno was born in Mylau, Saxony in 1899 (or as he put it “I yust got under the wire!”) to a large family. As one of ten, it was encouraged that the younger kids stand on the table during meals to make room for everyone. At age 13, Arno intended to begin an apprenticeship as a baker, however the work was too physically demanding for his physique. His doctor recommended entering the bookbinding trade instead.
His apprenticeship lasted for 3 years under the tutelage of Louis Herold. As the youngest apprentice, he woke at 6:00 a.m. to prepare a fire in the stove to warm up the shop, made sure all the glue pots were ready and refilled water buckets so the workers could wash their hands. Each day ended at 7:00 p.m. with lots of clean up including the hand tools and machinery.
His training then led him to work with the famous master binder Ignatz Wiemeler in Leipzig. Arno returned to the United States in 1939, when war broke out and settled in Pittsfield, Massachusetts where he maintained his own bindery until 1977.
In 1981, the Houghton Library at Harvard University celebrated Arno Werner’s work and legacy with a 40-year retrospective, where he delivered a lecture to a gathering of friends and colleagues. In Arno Werner/One Man’s Work, Carol prints Arno’s thoughts on his life in the bookbinding trade for the first time. It also highlights twelve of his bindings in full color and includes the lecture he gave at the Houghton Library.
As Carol describes, his workshop became a home to many as Arno taught how to bind books well and that he freely shared his knowledge and techniques. Over six decades of bookbinding, Arno maintained the highest of standards, placing him among the most celebrated binders.
In 1990, the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven paired up with the New England and New York Chapters of the Guild of Book Workers to build an exhibit to honor Polly Lada-Mocarski and celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the bindery at CAW.
Gisela Noack, Chairman of the Exhibition, noted the exhibit was a tribute to Polly, who was a “bookbinder and conservator, a teacher and mentor, a fundraiser, sponsor and inventor, but most of all a friend.”
Book Arts Exhibition 1990 — Polychrome — Polytechnique went on display from April 22 – June 3. During the opening reception attendees were entertained by Susan Joy Share and Geoffrey Morrow as they performed excerpts of their performance “Unfolded World” (click on the link above and scroll down to find images of this work).