26 Bindings of the Pictorial Webster’s Dictionary

Bromfield Gallery
450 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA 02118

October 5-29, 2011
Gallery hours 12-5, Wed-Sat
opening reception October 7th, 6:30-8:30

Selections from a bookbinding competition organized by the New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers debut in Boston at the Bromfield Gallery. The juried exhibition features work from members of the Guild of Book Workers and represent an array of interpretations of the set book, Pictorial Webster’s: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities.

An opening reception will be held on Friday October 7th. 6:30-8:30 pm.  All are welcome! The reception will feature awards sponsored by Chronicle Books and North Bennet Street School, and remarks by the creator of the Pictorial Webster’s, John Carrera of Quercus Press.

Please note: There will be transportation to the gallery from the Park Plaza Hotel for those attending the annual GBW Standards of Excellence Conference.  The reception takes place immediately following the annual meeting (5-6 pm).  You may wish to stay longer in the gallery district as this event also coincides with the monthly “First Friday” open studios in SOWA, so please note that the area is just a short cab ride from the conference hotel.

Exhibitors include:

Eric Alstrom, Patty Bruce, Lesa Dowd, Mark Esser, Madelyn Garret, Deborah Howe, Abigail Jones, Rachel Kadel-Garcia, Nancy Leavitt and Joelle Webber, Celine Lombardi, Athena Moore, Sabina Nies, Nancy Nitzberg, John Nove, Patricia Owen, Todd Pattison, Patricia Rosen, George Sargent, Patricia Sargent, Judy Sgantas, Sonya Sheats, Julie Stackpole, Andrew Thompson, Gerrit VanDerwerker, Katherine Westermann, and Stephanie Wolff.

A catalog for deFINEd BINDINGS will be available as a print on demand production. Please watch for publication and ordering information here on the blog in the near future.  More information coming soon: deFINEd BINDINGS will travel to the West Coast this winter for a San Francisco showing at Chronicle Books.  Please watch this blog for details coming soon.

Garage Annex School

There are some great study opportunities available to you all in the New England area this year.  We apologize for not doing a better job keeping you informed of them, but there is still time to register!  We are passing along the following message from our friends at GAS:

Garage Annex School for Book Arts 
Dear friends:We are grateful to all of you who have registered for workshops recently.Tomorrow we are meeting with the folks from Williston prep school to determine if we satisfy their minimum requirments for the number of lodgers. We are hopeful they may let us use the dorm for the most populated of our summer workshops. 

So, again, if you are thinking of studying at GAS this summer this would be a great time to let us know!

GAS, located in Easthampton, MA, is offering a variety of workshops taught by Daniel Kelm, Art Larson, Nancy Moore Bess, Dea Sasso, and Julia Miller:

Independent Projects
with Daniel E. Kelm, June 20-24

The Book Restructured—Wire Edge Binding
with Daniel E. Kelm, June 27-28

The Ultimate Album
with Daniel E. Kelm, June 29-July 1

Letterpress Broadsides
with Art Larson, July 2-3

The Codex Restructured—Rethinking the Spine
with Daniel E. Kelm, July 4-8

Japanese Packaging: Seeking a Narrative
with Nancy Moore Bess, July 9-10

Book Repair and Restoration for Beginners
with Dea Sasso, July 11-12

Codex C: A Late Sixth-Century Coptic Binding
with Julia Miller, July 13-15

The Leather Intensive
with Daniel E. Kelm, July 17-22

If you register for a workshop and it is cancelled due to low enrollment you will receive a full refund. It’s disappointing when students wait to enroll and then find we have cancelled a workshop because we were short one or two students! If you are planning to come, please let us know.

Please visit: for all the details.

Please keep in mind that Daniel offers private instruction at GAS too. The possibilities are nearly endless with a customized curriculum! If you would like to discuss this, he can be phoned at 413-527-8044 or emailed at

We look forward to seeing you here at GAS.
Greta Sibley, Co-director
Greta D. Sibley
Garage Annex School, Inc.
One Cottage Street #5, Room 5-03
Easthampton, MA 01027
studio: 413-529-0070
fax: 413-529-0071

April Lectures and Events

We would like to pass on information about some New England area lectures and events of interest to our readers…

April 1 (Fri) 4:30 PM
A Romp Through Five Centuries
Amherst, MA

Sam Ellenport will be giving a talk entitled A Romp Through Five Centuries of Bookbinding Design on Friday, April 1 at 4:30.  It will be given at the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College, sponsored by The Friends of the Robert Frost Library; it is free and open to all.


Final Watts Program events:

The Watts Program in the History and Culture of the Book at the John Carter Brown Library is presenting two public events in the month of April.  These will be the final events of the year for the Watts Program.  Please come and bring a friend.

April 4 (Mon) 5:30 PM   Moveable Books and Book Collecting 

Margaret B. Stillwell Prize Evening with Suzanne Karr Schmidt (Brown ’01) the Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow at the Art Institute of Chicago who will give a talk on moveable books in the Renaissance with comparisons to books today. The Stillwell Prize evening is co-sponsored with the John Russell Bartlett Society. It is a prize awarded by the Bartlett Society to RI undergraduates for their book collections.  Ms. Karr Schmidt won the prize in 2001.  Open to all. Venue: John Carter Brown Library

April 27 (Wed) 6:00 PM Watts Pecha Kucha

The Book in My LIfe – An eclectic evening of very-short talks by professionals and students to close the Watts Program series on Transformations of the Book.

A wide variety of practitioners and students reveal their thoughts on “The Book in My Life” in a series of Pecha Kucha-style presentations. 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide – the clock is ticking. Expect tales of literature, shelving and entertaining reflections on the eccentricities of paper and ink. Ideal for anyone who’s ever liked a book a little more than they really should have. Moderated by Andrew Losowsky, Watts Program Provocateur-in-Residence.  Open to All. Venue: John Carter Brown Library.


April 28 (Thur) 6:00 PM
NBSS Bookbinding at 25
North Bennet Street School

Bookbinding Department Head, Jeffrey Altepeter, will give a short presentation about the bookbinding program at NBSS and invites attendees to bring a book or two along.  Jeff and his students will offer informal evaluations and offer suggestions about potential repairs or conservation treatments where appropriate… or just enjoy hearing about why it is a favorite book in your collection.

This event is open to the public but reservations and a $10 fee is requested.  Registration for this and many other workshops is available at or by contacting the director of continuing education, Megan Kenealy, at 617-227-0155 or

deFINEd Bindings

26 Bindings of the Pictorial Webster’s Dictionary

Thanks to our jury for their very hard work selecting the 26 bindings for our upcoming New England Chapter exhibition.  It was a challenging process to choose just 26 works from approximately 50 entries.  We appreciate that the jury put together a collection of work that truly defines this set book as a cohesive exhibition, which was as much a part of their charge as the recognition of individual craftsmanship and artistic design.

The 26 selected bindings will soon go before an honorary prize jury which will recognize a few of the works for individual honors.

Notices of acceptance (and the unfortunately necessary rejections) have been sent out.  If you have not yet received an email regarding the status of your entry please contact Jeff Altepeter immediately for clarification at

Please watch for information about the exhibition, which will open at the Bromfield Gallery in Boston in October in conjunction with the Guild of Book Workers conference.

Congratulations to all who were accepted and sincere thanks to all participants!

What is Contained

What is Contained: The Book As Subject And Object
Curated by Deborah Davidson
Gallery 360, Northeastern University
March 6 – April 12, 2011

Opening reception March 15 5:30 — 7:30pm

Gallery talk with Sven Birkerts, editor of Agni @6:15

Calligraphy and Illumination

More news from our friends at North Bennet Street School :

Calligraphy and Illumination:
Boston and Beyond

Three Month Calligraphy and Illumination Intensive
Sep 12-Dec 9, 2011, 8:30am-2:30pm, with studio time until 4:30pm
Maryanne Grebenstein, Instructor
North Bennet Street School, Boston, MA

It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that we once again offer our comprehensive course in calligraphy, manuscript illumination, and bookbinding at North Bennet Street School. Taught by master calligrapher Maryanne Grebenstein of The Abbey Studio, this course will cover in-depth calligraphy, layout and design, manuscript gilding, and the use of computers and calligraphy. The final project is creating a hand-lettered illuminated manuscript and binding it by hand.

The class begins with a thorough introduction to calligraphy, covering six lettering styles (five broad edged pen, one pointed pen), then moves on to layout and design – how to effectively use multiple styles of lettering on one piece, how to determine letter size, and how to utilize color. After that, work on letter drafting, drawing and painting letters for headings, logo design, and large lettering. Then work on manuscript gilding, utilizing gold leaf, gesso, and vellum. After gilding, class moves on to computers and calligraphy, learning how to convert hand lettered artwork into electronic media for utilization in computer graphics. Finally, create your illuminated manuscript, putting all of your skills together by designing and creating a hand-lettered manuscript and binding it into a book.

This class is designed for those with no prior experience as calligraphers or manuscript gilders; however, there will also be plenty to learn for those with more experience.

The tuition includes a materials fee for some supplies; students will be expected to provide most hand tools and materials. If you don’t own any calligraphy or bookbinding supplies, expect to spend approximately $800-$1100 on tools and materials for this course, including supplies for your illuminated manuscript.

Online registration is available at or call the school at 617-227-0155.


and Beyond Boston….

Illuminated Manuscript Trip
May 26-Jun 8, 2011

In partnership with Maryanne Grebenstein of The Abbey Studio we offer what promises to be one of our most exciting adventures. We will begin our trip in Paris, with accommodations in the Latin Quarter. This fun and lively section of the city in the 5th arrondissement is named for La Sorbonne, where Latin was the spoken language of the students during the middle ages. The neighborhood is teeming with restaurants, shops, and galleries and is home to one of the main reasons for our visit to Paris: Musée Cluny (also known as Musée National du Moyen Age). It’s an easy walk to la Sainte Chappelle, Notre Dame, Luxembourg Garden, the Louvre and many other wonderful sites. Our stay in Paris will include guided visits to Cluny and Marmottan, as well as a stop at Les Enluminures, a gallery specializing in Books of Hours.

From Paris we will head to Mont Saint Michel and Avranches. For many of you, no introduction to Mont Saint Michel is necessary. Located between Normandy and Brittany, it is well known as the monastery that becomes an island with the movement of the tides. The original structure was begun in the year 708 and has served as an abbey, a church, a prison, and a fortress at various times in its 13 centuries of existence. To this day, it remains one of the most important religious pilgrimage destinations. We will tour Mont Saint Michel and its scriptorium, where hundreds of manuscripts were created. Our accommodations will be in the lovely neighboring town of Avranches, home to the new Scriptorial d’Avranches, a museum devoted entirely to housing its collection of over 200 manuscripts created at Mont Saint Michel.

Next we will travel to London. Our visit to London will, we’re sure, prove to be one of the highlights of the trip. We will have a guided visit to the British Library, home to many famous manuscripts such as the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Sherborne missal and many, many others. We are very excited to tell you that we’ve added a visit to Lambeth Palace Library to our itinerary to see a special exhibition and attend a lecture by two superstar scholars of medieval and renaissance books, Dr. Christopher de Hamel and Dr. Michelle Brown. This is a very unique opportunity – the lecture has been arranged by CLAS (the Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society, London) and we have a personal invitation extended by Patricia Lovett, the Chair of CLAS (and author of Calligraphy, Illumination & Heraldry), to attend. There will be a special exhibit called “Translating the Bible” as well as the lectures. Maryanne says, “I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. de Hamel in New York City last spring and I can assure you he is incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining.” He is the author of several books, including A History of Illuminated Manuscripts and Scribes and Illuminators. He is the former head of the Western Manuscripts department of Sotheby’s, London. You may have had the opportunity to hear Dr. Brown when she was in Baltimore lecturing at The Walters Art Museum as part of the St Johns Bible exhibition there a few years ago. She also has authored several books including The Historial Source Book for Scribes which she co-authored with Patricia Lovett, and is currently the Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library. This is a “not to be missed” opportunity that we know you will enjoy.

Our final destination will be the charming city of Dublin, home to Trinity College Library and the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells contains the four gospels and was written in about the year 800. We will have a guided visit to the Long Room and the Book of Kells, with plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere along the cobblestone streets within the walled campus of Trinity College. Located just a few blocks from Trinity College, we’ll find another one of Dublin’s treasures: the Chester Beatty Library, home to an extensive collection of illuminated manuscripts and other fascinating collections.

Our trip will be just shy of two weeks, leaving on Thursday, May 26 and returning on Wednesday, June 8. The cost breakdown follows and includes all hotel accommodations (and breakfast), all ground transportation, and all museum entry fees. It does not include airfare, which can be arranged through our agent or independently. Please read carefully the Terms and Conditions that follow the pricing. In order to hold your place, your non-refundable deposit of $1150 per person must be received by February 15, 2011.

Per Person, Double Occupancy: $3727 Per Person, Single Occupancy: $5204

Terms and Conditions: Deadline for deposit extended! Please call if you are interested in registering. A non-refundable deposit of $1150 is due with registration. The balance will be due by March 15, 2011. Please contact Claire Fruitman, Associate Director, at 617.227.0155 to register and process payment. Please contact Maryanne Grebenstein at The Abbey Studio at 781.740.9000 or with any questions regarding the itinerary. Travel insurance is highly recommended and is not included in the quoted price. Further information regarding travel insurance, and a confirmation of your participation in the trip will be sent to you upon receipt of deposit. Air fare is not included in the quoted price and must be purchased either through our agent or independently.

21st Century Letterpress Printing


a lecture by Steve Miller, professor and coordinator of the MFA in Book Arts Program, University of Alabama

Saturday, February 26, 2011
2 -3 pm
John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, Providence, RI
open to all

In January, the Master of Fine Arts Program in the Book Arts at the University of Alabama received the 2011 Institutional Award for Distinguished Achievement from the American Printing History Association.

This program is sponsored by the Watts Program in the History and Culture of the Book at the John Carter Brown Library, Brown University.

For more information, contact Lisa Long Feldman
lisa_long_feldman [at]

Maine Media Workshops and College

Passing along this announcement from our friends at Maine Media:

Maine Media Workshops, Rockport, Maine, announces a full schedule of Book Arts and Book Design workshops for 2011:
For complete course details and registration information, please visit the school’s website:
Adobe InDesign – From master pages and importing graphics to formatting text, learn the ins and outs of Adobe’s extensive design software.  April 17 – 23 & October 23 – 29, with Peter Koons

Blurb Bookmaking – Using Blurb’s new B3 program, gain greater control over color management workflow. Explore the world of online publication with Blurb. April 24 – 30, with Mat Thorne

Introduction to Book Arts – Gain a broad intro into book arts with handwritten words, bookbinding, printing techniques and traditional equipment. June 19 – 25, Jan Owen; September 11 – 17, with Jan Owen & Walter Tisdale

Introduction to Bookbinding – Experiment with the various materials, tools and techniques used in basic bookbinding structures. June 26 – July 2; September 18 – 24

Introduction to Letterpress Printing – Learn the basics, then design, set, and print a single and two-color letterpress project on rich-textured, 100% rag paper. July 3 – 9; September 25 – October 1

Book Arts & Technology – Blend Adobe Creative Suite with basic bookbinding techniques and create a handmade book that beats any expectation. July 10 – 16, with Tara Law

Introduction to Book Design with Blurb – The goal: create a photo book of distinction. The chances? 100% using Blurb and the expertise gained in this workshop. July 10 – 16, with Susan Hayre Thelwell

Photographic Portfolio Box Making – Preserve, protect, present! Create a clamshell box that not only preserves but also clearly enhances your body of work. July 24 – 30

Book Design – From historic to high-tech, learn the aspects of designing a beautiful book from a renowned expert in this extensive, fascinating, hands-on workshop. July 31 – August 6, with Bruce Kennett

Word & Image: Inkjet & Letterpress – Combine the finest methods for printing images and words to create striking and innovative visual statements. August 14 – 20, with Charles Altschul & Jean Miele 

Advanced Book Design with Blurb – Join ranks with those at the forefront of self-publishing. Blending Adobe InDesign with Blurb, design and create your magnum opus. August 28 – September 3, with Mat Thorne

Tools of the Trade – Expand your creative horizons; go beyond Photoshop and add Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, and Bridge to your book design toolkit. September 4 – 10, with Peter Koons

Creating WordPress Websites – Experience not required! Come to this class and learn to design and build a working website. September 18 – 24

Adobe Illustrator – If you are a communications professional, this is the call for you! Learn the attributes of Adobe Illustrator and produce in-demand graphics. October 16 – 22

Focus on Book Arts Conference

Several GBW members are presenters at the FOBA Conference in Oregon in June.  Sam Ellenport of Harcourt Bindery, a past New England Chapter chair, will present on the topic of traditional leather binding and gold tooling.  Also on the list we see Karen Hanmer, a juror for our current bookbinding exhibition; and Andrew Huot, our GBW president.  Apologies if we are missing any other New England Chapter members in our quick glance at the list of presenters.

The press release…

The tenth bienniel Focus on Book Arts Conference will be held June 22-26, 2011 in Forest Grove, Oregon. This conference offers four days of classes in the book arts – bookbinding, printing, printmaking, paper decoration, artists books, and journals – at all skill levels from beginner to advanced. You can pick and choose your classes, coming for only a day or the whole conference. The conference will again be held on the beautiful campus of Pacific University, located in Forest Grove, Oregon, about 25 miles west of Portland, Oregon. We hope you can join us in this celebration of the book arts.

Along with 29 classes the conference offers the following events which are also open to the public: The Artists’ Shop featuring hand bound books, cards, paper crafts, and other handmade book arts items; The Market where you will find vendors specializing in tools and supplies for the book arts as well as hand made book arts related items; an evening lecture entitled “Marketing 101 for Book Artists” by Laura Russell, owner of 23 Sandy Gallery; and the Faculty-Staff Show at the Library, Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR.  If you would like to participate in the Artists’ Shop or the Market you will find contact information and application forms on our web page,

The course catalog is now available either in a printed form or on our web page. It’s filled with class descriptions, financial information and a registration form. All this information can also be found on our web page along with a downloadable registration form, and a PDF version of the printed catalog.
If you would like a printed version of the catalog contact us at:
FOBA • 1928 21st Ave. • Forest Grove, OR 97116 • 503-357-7263


The annual conference of the Guild of Book Workers, with the grand title of “The Seminar on Standards of Excellence in Hand Bookbinding” probably sounds a little daunting to those not familiar with the event.  The conference is held each year at different places around the country, and is in fact a highly social as well as highly educational.  The conference is a wonderful opportunity for the annual cross-pollination in our wide-ranging field of “book workers.”

In addition to the formal presentations there are tours, social events, a banquet with an entertaining auction– and one of the best reasons to attend might be the vendor room which will be packed with temptations.

The conference topics offer something for everyone, with presentations on traditional bookbinding, book arts and book conservation.  There are frequently presentations that cross disciplines, and the variety is part of the very structure of the Guild of Book Workers.

This year the conference is in Tucson, AZ.  October 14-16, 2010.   There is an extraordinary group of presenters (see below), and we know the local host committee has worked hard to put on a great event.  There is still time to register, and you can do so online for the first time this year.  See the Standards page on the GBW site at

Standards Presentations 2010

Michael Burke – Byzantine Binding
Michael Burke started his working life as a chemist researching the transformation of coal into oil. He later worked in occupational health with asbestos. Michael studied bookbinding with Dominic Riley and paper conservation with Karen Zukor. He was involved in establishing the bindery at the San Francisco Center for the Book, and edited Gold Leaf, the journal of the Hand Bookbinders of California.

Michael lives in the Lake District, England, where he teaches bookbinding at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal and at Society of Bookbinders (SoB) events across the UK. He is a past chair of the North West and North Wales region of SoB. He has taught for diverse book arts groups across the USA, including Los Angeles, Seattle and Salt Lake City and in 2007 he taught at Paper and Book Intensive in Michigan. Last year he travelled to São Paulo to teach for the Brazilian group ABER. In recent years Michael has been researching the structures of ancient and medieval bindings. Michael will demonstrate the making of a medieval Byzantine binding. This leather binding is unique in that is bound from the boards to the center, resulting in a natural rounding of the spine, at which point the two halves are joined.

Nancy Ruth Leavitt – In Search of Content, the Joys and Challenges of Creating the Book Form
Nancy Leavitt is a calligrapher specializing in unique hand-lettered and painted manuscript books. Leavitt’s interest in the hand-lettered book developed as a result of her studies in the U.S. and Great Britain. Her work resides in many prestigious collections and she has received several grants from the Maine Arts Commission for research into her craft, including quill cutting. She lives, works, and sings in Stillwater, Maine.

Like an engineering project, a book is a complex three dimensional design made up of many parts. Content is the central idea of the design and narrative is how it unfolds, how the story is revealed and concealed. Our goal as bookmakers is to intentionally integrate all aspects of the design to strengthen the structure, form, and content of our works. Through demonstration and example, Nancy discusses her rigorous yet playful method of researching, compiling data, developing, and realizing materials for her manuscript books.

Martha Little – Book Forensics: Interpreting Evidence of Structure
Martha Little has been a bookbinder and book conservator since 1976. She was Book Conservator at the Yale University Library and Head of Conservation at the University of Michigan Libraries, and is now in private practice in California. Her early training was with Jane Greenfield, who incorporated a study of historical structures and the making of models into the work day, and with Roger Powell in England, whose powers of meticulous observation will always be an unattainable standard. Martha took part last year in a condition survey of manuscript books at the National Library of Egypt in Cairo, where she learned that two people can look at the same detail and see two different things. 

Every book conservator accumulates knowledge of some of the small details that are clues to a book’s invisible or lost structure. A remnant of a leather strap may lie in a board; extra holes suggestive of an earlier sewing may be apparent in the folds; raised areas where the covering material has become worn reveal where cords are laced in underneath. Martha’s presentation will examine more ways of interpreting physical evidence when examining a book, in order to determine how it was made and what materials were used. She will bring old books to look at and discuss; recreate evidence though different means to see which interpretation seems more plausible; demonstrate some simple tests to identify materials, and show how the knowledge of the observer can both help with and get in the way of seeing what’s there.

Jeffrey S. Peachey – Late Eighteenth Century French Binding Structures
Jeffrey S. Peachey is the owner of a New York City-based studio for the conservation of books and the inventor of conservation tools and machines. He is a Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation and a previous chair of the Conservators In Private Practice. For more than 20 years, he has specialized in the conservation of books and paper artifacts for institutions and individuals. A consultant to major libraries and university collections in the New York City region and nationally, he has been the recipient of numerous grants to support his work. A well-known teacher, Peachey also provides conservation-focused guidance to students in art, bookbinding and conservation programs.

This presentation will focus on the structural aspects of a typical 18th century full calf French binding by comparing contemporary descriptions in bookbinding manuals, examining extant bindings and experimenting with reproduction tools and equipment. In some respects, this structure is the end of utilitarian leather binding–50 years later the cloth case begins to predominate. Some features of this binding style include cutting the boards with a pointe, ploughing the edges in-boards, four variations of transverse spine liners and sprinkled cover decoration. Primary texts include Diderot’s Encylopedie (1751-1780). Gauffecourt’s Traite de la Relieure des Livres (1763) and Dudin’s L’Art du Relieur-doreur de Livres (1772). Specific conservation concerns for these structures will also be discussed.