The Marbler’s Apprentice


Chemically Altered: Historic Paper Marbling
Garrett and Gretchen Dixon from The Marbler’s Apprentice
North Bennet Street School, Boston
Monday May 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm

The New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers will sponsor a presentation by Gretchen and Garrett Dixon from The Marbler’s Apprentice.  This is another installment in our lecture series hosted by North Bennet Street School.

The Dixons specialize in historic marbling, particularly 18 century and early-mid 19th century papers.  They utilize the water color pigments and techniques that were in use from the introduction of paper marbling in Europe in the 16th century through the 19th century.

During this special event we invite you to bring your one or two of your own examples of historic marbled papers– we all have  interesting papers in or on bindings that are either typical or unusual.  The Dixons will devote some time to examine and discuss the papers you bring and hopefully we will all learn from the sharing.

In addition, Garrett says he will “discuss the history, patterns, and fabrication techniques for the group of what I refer to as chemically-altered patterns of marbled paper:  Stormont, Shell, Broken, Romantic, Schroetel, Tiger eye.  These patterns all involve the use of chemical additives to the watercolor paint in order to achieve their effect.  These patterns were popular from the end of the 18th century through the 19th century.  We will show examples of the patterns, both original and our reproductions, and discuss some of the difficulties encountered in trying to decipher the old recipes.”

There will be a wide selection of papers on hand to peruse, and samples available for purchase.

This presentation is free and open to the public.  Directions available at

The Magic of Paper Marbling


Tuesday, March 15 Time: 6:00 – 7:30 pm | Cost: $10
North Bennet Street School
Boston, MA

Regina and Dan St.John of Chena River Marblers demonstrate traditional combed and stone pattern marbling and share samples of their work. Specializing in fine marbled papers, marbled silks and hand-bound books since 1987, Regina and Dan are masters of this fascinating craft.

Rooted in tradition, Chena River Marblers of Amherst Massachusetts use methods that were used in Renaissance Italy by bookbinders, but they never forget that the craft has its roots in the Middle and Far East.

Originating in China and Japan, marbling traveled the silk route into Persia and Turkey and on into Europe. Their marbling continues to encompass much of the past, though they do not hesitate to incorporate a 21st Century twist to pattern, color and technique.

To register (cost is $10) please see and click on lectures and demonstrations.

Odyssey 2010

Deena Schnitman’s pastepapers, Jesse Meyer’s parchment… these are just a couple of our members and friends in the vendor room at the Odyssey Calligraphy Conference at Stonehill College at the end of July.  The vendors and a few other things are open to the public.  Check out

One day vendors are on July 24th, but check the link for hours and additional dates.

North Bennet Street School Workshops

North Bennet Street School has just published a new workshop catalog and updated the course listings online at

Coming up fast:  Todd Pattison with “Rebacking Bookbindings,” on March 20-21, 2010.

Also beginning in late March is a 5 Saturday run of “Introduction to Cloth Case Bookbinding” with Amanda Nelsen, and a three-day class from Stacie Dolin on Photo Albums.  There are a variety of courses on bookbinding, calligraphy, and marbling being offered from now through the summer from new visiting teachers and regular workshop instructors.

A few highlights include “New Oriental Bindings” with Monique Lallier (in collaboration with the American Academy of Bookbinding) and Katherine Beaty will offer a class on Islamic Binding.  Pop-up artist Paul Johnson is back with a new lecture and a couple of classes.  And for all those that have requested more conse rvation oriented courses there is “Tips and Tricks for Book and Paper Conservation” with Renate Mesmer in August.

Register online at or contact the workshop coordinator, Jourdan Abel at workshop @

Please watch this blog for New England Chapter lectures from several of the instructors above!

Decorated Paper Field Trip, Take Two

January 30, 2010
1:30 to 4:30pm
Newton, MA

By popular demand, we have organized another field trip to view Sid Berger’s spectacular decorated paper collection. Participants in last year’s field trip would agree that their collection is truly fascinating, and the Bergers have very warmly agreed to open up their home to Chapter members a second time.  If you missed the chance last time, or if you need to see it again, please join us! 

Sid and his wife Michele Cloonan have been building their treasury for decades, and an afternoon will hardly be enough to absorb it all.  The collection includes a sample dating from 740 from Japan, proto-papers such as papyrus and parchment, a prodigious assortment of marbled papers, including Japanese marbling which predates Western marbling, and much more.  He also has a library of approximately 2,500 books on the subject.

This event will be limited to 20 people- be sure to register soon as spots will fill up quickly.  New England Chapter members will have priority in reservations.  Directions will be sent directly to registrants.

RSVP to our Events Coordinator, Christina Amato:

Paste Paper Party

Paste Paper Party

December 5th, 2009
Faith Lutheran Church
311 Broadway, Cambridge

Just in time for holiday gifts and projects, get together with your fellow chapter members and decorate some paper. This is not a class, but a chance to share tools and ideas. This event is appropriate for all skill levels.  This event doubles as the social event of the season!

The details:
We will provide paper,  paste, a few tools, and of course the space.  You bring one tube of paint of your choice to share, and any tools you would be willing to share.   And of course bring any special paper, paint or other supplies and tools that you want to use for yourself!  Please bring $5 to help defray expenses, or bring something to eat or drink to keep up our energy and level of festivity.  Kids are welcome!

Please RSVP by Monday, November 30th to  If you can, specify what color of paint you plan to bring, just to insure that we don’t end up with 20 tubes of red paint. Space is limited to 25.  Directions available at:

Book Arts Market

More on the supply market coming up next Sunday:

We have confirmed more vendors for the event.  The list currently includes:
Jeff Peachey with knives and other tools.
Pergamena with leather and parchment
Chena River Marblers with marbled paper
Keith Uram with wooden bookbinding equipment
Harcourt Bindery with bookbinding supplies and equipment
Valerie Wells with decorated paper
Shanna Leino with more tools

We will have an information table for flyers and brochures regarding New England book arts events, workshops, organizations, etc.  Please feel free to bring items for that table to the event.

The event is open to the public.  Please invite your friends!