A Look Back // 10th Anniversary Exhibit

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.

Check out the full catalog here: 10th Anniversary Catalog

James Reid-Cunningham
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 | bound by James Reid-Cunningham

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.

Around the Day in Eighty Worlds | bound by James Reid-Cunningham

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.

Around the Day in Eighty Worlds | bound by James Reid-Cunningham

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 | bound by James Reid-Cunningham

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.

Exhibit Catalog – Hell | bound by James Reid-Cunningham

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.

Peter Verheyen
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.

A Letter and Some Photographs | bound by Peter Verheyen

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.

Felt & Wire, deFINEd BINDINGS

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The New England Chapter GBW closed out the deFINEd BINDINGS exhibition with a short but well attended showing at Chronicle Books.  The books are back with the chapter chair and slowly being packed up to return to the binders (thanks for your patience!).  Thanks again to all of the participants, the jury, the Bromfield Gallery, North Bennet Street School, and Chronicle Books for making this a great show.

If you missed your chance to see the exhibit in Boston or San Francisco don’t panic!  There is a really wonderful catalog available at Blurb.com.  The exhibit and the catalog got some great press recently on the blog Felt & Wire.  Check it out here:  http://www.feltandwire.com/2012/03/21/defined-bindings-26-book-artists-dress-up-pictorial-websters-dictionary/

 

deFINEd BINDINGS in San Francisco

deFINEd BINDINGS: 26 Bindings of the Pictorial Webster’s Dictionary.

The New England Chapter exhibition, deFINEd BINDINGS, will be on display at Chronicle Books in San Francisco in February.  If you missed seeing it while on view in Boston you have one final chance to view these bindings in person.

The exhibition, you may recall, is a juried selection of bindings on a set book, the Pictorial Webster’s Dictionary.  The book was originally published by Quercus Press.  A trade edition is available from Chronicle Books.

Reception: Thursday, February 23, 2012.  6-8 p.m.

The exhibition runs through February 29, 2012 in the Gallery at
Chronicle Books
680 Second Street
San Francisco, CA

chroniclebooks.com

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deFINEd BINDINGS

deFINEd BINDINGS: 26 bindings of the Pictorial Webster’s Dictionary

October 5-29, 2011

The New England Chapter exhibition opened at the Bromfield Gallery last Friday evening in conjunction with the Guild of Book Worker’s annual conference.  The opening was well attended… which is quite an understatement as those in attendance can attest.  We hope you all can make it over to see the exhibit before it closes on October 29, but there are two other options.  The bindings will travel to San Francisco this winter to be displayed at Chronicle Books (specific details will be posted on the chapter blog, of course).  And whether or not you see the exhibit at one of the exhibits you will want to purchase a copy of the catalog!  The catalog is available from blurb.com for $32.

We would also like to announce the prizes awarded for a few of the bindings.  We had hoped to award these at the opening reception but the crowd was overwhelming.  The prizes were sponsored by Chronicle Books and North Bennet Street School.  Chronicle offered three awards for design: 1st prize to Patty Bruce, 2nd prize to George Sargent, and 3rd prize to Deborah Howe.  North Bennet awarded Mark Esser a prize for “exquisite craftsmanship” and offered a prize to Sonya Sheats for “best binding structure.”  The North Bennet Street School awards were beautiful handcrafted candle boxes which should make nice tool boxes for the winning binders.  The Chronicle awards were generous gift certificates for Chronicle Books.  Congratulations to the winning binders and all those in the exhibit, the feedback about your work has been phenomenal.  And we would like to once again thank all of the binders who submitted work for consideration.  Space limitations forced the jury to eliminate many wonderful bindings and we hope to see many of those exhibited elsewhere in the future.

deFINEd BINDINGS

deFINEd BINDINGS

26 Bindings of the Pictorial Webster’s Dictionary

Bromfield Gallery
450 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA 02118
www.bromfieldgallery.com

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.

Parchment over Boards with Peter Geraty

The Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, CT will host New England Chapter member Peter Geraty this fall.  Some of us have had the opportunity to take workshops with Peter and can highly recommend…

Parchment over Boards Workshop

Instructor: Peter Geraty

Creative Arts Workshop.  New Haven, CT.
Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 5pm, Oct 29 – 30 Cost: $450  members: $405

This workshop will encompass the binding of a book into parchment over boards.  Although parchment has a reputation of being difficult to work with, it is an ideal binding material. It is beautiful and  stronger than any other material we normally work with in bookbinding. In this workshop, we will sew a blank book, round and back it, sew endbands, create the parchment cover and case the book in. To accomplish this, the class will move quickly through all the steps; students should be comfortable sewing a textblock, endbands and making cloth cases. Please bring a standard binding kit – bone folders, sewing needle, awl, scissors, dividers, pencil, metric ruler, knife and straightedge, glue brushes, backing hammer (if you have one). If you have a sanding drum, such as a Dremel or a Foredom, you should also bring it. Please register by October 10 to assure place in the class. A $75 materials fee for parchment is included.

For online registration see www.creativeartsworkshop.org and reference: Instructor: Peter Geraty BA22FA11W

deFINEd Bindings

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 bookbinding@nbss.org.

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!

Reminder of Dominic Riley Artist Talk

Design Matters: the creation of contemporary fine leather bindings
An Artist Talk by Dominic Riley
North Bennet Street School, Boston
Thursday, October 21, 2010
6:00-8:00 pm

With the advent of the Arts and Crafts movement bookbindings became works of art in themselves.  Dominic is one of a small number of bookbinders working today who create unique Design Bindings for collectors.  This lecture shows a range of these contemporary bindings, explaining how each design grew from a response to the text and illustrations of the printed book. 

Dominic’s design bindings are in collections worldwide. He is a Felow of Designer Bookbinders, and in 2008 he won both first prizes and the Mansfield Medal in the DB competition.

This lecture is free and open to the public, but please email workshop@nbss.org to reserve a seat.

This event is co-sponsored by North Bennet Street School and the New England Chapter of GBW.

Karen Hanmer

Karen Hanmer, Artist Talk
April 29, 2010
6:00 pm
North Bennet Street School
Boston, MA

This event is free and open to the public, but advance registration will help us select the appropriate size room.  Please contact Jeff Altepeter at bookbinding @ nbss.org.

The New England Chapter is proud to sponsor another free lecture at North Bennet Street School.  Chicago artist Karen Hanmer will introduce the range of her work, which includes artists’ books, design bindings and installation.  A lecture will be followed by an opportunity to handle many of the books. 

Chicago binder, book and installation artist Karen Hanmer’s intimate, playful works fragment and layer text and image to intertwine memory, cultural history, and the history of science. Her work weds the ancient act of book binding with the high tech use of the computer to aid her process. The intimate scale and the gestures of exploration required to travel through each piece evoke the experience of looking through an album, a diary, or the belongings of a loved one. However, her works often take the forms of games or puzzles, and many include witty text.

Hanmer exhibits widely, and her work is included in collections ranging from Tate Britain and the Library of Congress to National Museum of Women in the Arts and Graceland. Recent solo exhibition venues include Florida Atlantic University, University of the West of England Bristol, and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (OH). Recent curated exhibition venues include the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Brooklyn Museum, Harvard University’s Fogg Museum of Art, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft and The Center for Book Arts (NYC); and traveling exhibitions sponsored by the Guild of Book Workers, the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists’ Guild, and Les Amis de la Reliure d’Art du Canada.

Karen Hanmer serves as Exhibitions Chair for the Guild of Book Workers, and on the editorial board of The Bonefolder.

“Karen Hanmer is that rare artist who thoroughly understands the vast potential of the book as an art form. Her books consistently unify structure and content in a way that makes her work unforgettable. At the same time, you can tell that she’s having a heck of a lot of fun, too.”

 — John Cutrone
Book Arts Coordinator
Jaffe Center for Book Arts
Florida Atlantic University

You can see some examples of Karen’s work at 23 Sandy Gallery http://www.23sandy.com/hanmer/catalog.html and of course check out her own site http://www.karenhanmer.com/.

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April is quite a month for book lovers in New England , and North Bennet Street School is the place to be.  Recall that the New England Chapter is sponsoring a lecture by Todd Pattison on April 12, and of course we are bringing Karen Hanmer to the school on the April 29.  But also note that North Bennet Street School is hosting British book artist Paul Johnson on the following night, April 30, 2010.  See www.nbss.org for more information.