40 Years of Work: Peter and Donna Thomas

Peter and Donna are book artists from Santa Cruz, California who started their business in 1977. They completed their first book, “The Three Cedars,” in 1978. 2017-18 marks their 40th anniversary, which will be celebrated in libraries across the country with retrospective shows displaying from those libraries own holdings.

Beginning in August of 2017 Donna and Peter will be traveling to visit those shows as “Wandering Book Artists”. They will also be meeting with community-based and academic book arts classes, teaching book arts workshops, and working with fellow book and paper artists to create collaborative artworks.

Donna and Peter will be coming to Boston!
Where: North Bennet Street School, 150 North Street, Boston, MA
When: Wednesday, October, 11 at noon

For those unfamiliar with their artistic practice, Donna and Peter make their own paper, letterpress print or hand render the texts, illustrate, and hand-bind their books themselves. They make both edition and one-of-a-kind books that combine the precision of the fine press aesthetic with the structural exploration and artistic creativity found in contemporary artists’ books.

Peter and Donna have written this about their past trips:

“We drive a pickup truck pulling a “Tiny Home on Wheels” (which is featured in a book by the same name published in 2014 by Shelter Books). Our tiny rolling home is a finely crafted wooden travel trailer, built in 2009 using local sustainably harvested woods, and decorated with Donna’s colorful folk art painted designs. Although the trailer is our home while on the road, more esoterically it is a physical artwork, and metaphorically it embodies our ideas about the changing nature of the physical book in the digital age.

People always stop us, wondering what it is, and if they can look inside. When conversation turns to what we are doing and what exactly is an artists’ book, we use our rolling home as a metaphor saying, “When people see, or look inside regular RV what do they think? Usually nothing, or, “How practical.” But when people see our caravan they get excited, curious, inspired – something magical always happens. Commercially produced books are like regular RVs, practical and full of information. Artists’ books are like our tiny home on wheels. They inspire imagination, wonder, excitement and do the many wonderful things that art works do.

On campuses we open the door and invite in visitors. The conversations often are about living in small spaces and making do with less, what it means and takes to live a creative life, what or who is an artist, and what is a “book artist”? We keep a blog documenting our travels and conversations as wandering book artists which you can find at: http://www.wanderingbookartists.blogspot.com/

 

Opening Reception for the American Academy of Bookbinding Open/Set Exhibit – June 8th in Boston, MA

We hope that you can join us for the Boston opening reception of Open/Set, the first traveling show organized by the American Academy of Bookbinding. The exhibit showcases the art of fine design binding created by binders from all over the world. At the reception, we are proud to have four local exhibitors speak about their bindings.

When: June 8th, 6:00 – 8:00
Where: North Bennet Street School, 150 North Street, Boston, MA
Speakers:
Todd Pattison
Colin Urbina
Jackie Scott
Mark Esser (First Place Prize Winner for his binding in the Open category)

If you are able to attend and we hope that you can, please send an RSVP to negbwprograms@gmail.com (can you turn this into a link). In attention to the beautiful bindings on display, we will have light refreshments for your enjoyment.OpenSet Poster

The Marbler’s Apprentice

Image

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 nbss.edu.

Intensive Study Opportunities in Boston

The following is from our friends at North Bennet Street School:

There are a couple of intensive study opportunities this summer for up and coming bookbinders and book conservators.  You can find information about these classes, to be held at North Bennet Street School, at www.nbss.edu.

The first course is open to any and all and is an experimental class based on input from potential students.  North Bennet Street School has previously held 3 month intensive workshops in the fall, but many people have requested a shorter course held outside of the academic year.

The second course listed below is designed specifically for book conservators, pre-program or practicing.  This class requires permission from the instructor, Chela Metzger (see below).

Bookbinding Intensive
Monday – Friday, June 25 – July 27, no class 7/4
8:30am – 4:30pm

Instructor: Stacie Dolin
$2700

$1000 deposit

This class is designed for individuals interested in an intensive, hands-on bookbinding experience and is suitable for book artists and novice binders wishing to learn or enhance fundamental bookbinding skills. This course also provides a solid foundation for individuals interested in the NBSS full-time bookbinding program. Explore a variety of book structures and binding techniques and the process for determining what materials and structures to use for a given project. The five-week program uses the school’s fully equipped bindery providing the opportunity to work on advanced topics and with a wide range of professional equipment (such as foil stamping presses) not available in most introductory courses. The class also covers studio techniques for those without access to a professional bindery. Field trips and other specific topics are part of the curriculum and will be based on student interests. The tuition includes a materials fee for paper, board, and other basic supplies; students are expected to provide some materials and all hand tools.

To secure a spot, a deposit and registration is recommended by June 1. Please read the intensive refund policy before signing up.  www.nbss.edu.

Introduction to book structures for conservators

Monday – Thursday, July 19 – August 17, no class 7/4
9:00am – 4:00pm

Instructor: Chela Metzger
$2200

This class will have a few open slots by permission of the instructor. It is part of the Mellon Funded enhancements for the education of Library and Archives Conservators taking place at the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, in collaboration with Simmons School of Library and Information Science and the North Bennet Street School. 

http://www.artcons.udel.edu/

http://www.simmons.edu/gslis/

http://www.nbss.edu/ 

This five-week class meets Monday – Thursday each week. Field trips are scheduled for some Fridays, otherwise Fridays are considered work days/open studio. The course is designed to further basic bookbinding bench skills and to explore historic book structures in the context of the conservation of books as historic artifacts.Readings, research on book structures and bookbinding history, and creating models of historic structures are the basis of the course. Class presentations, short essays and online publishing are required. The course is for students who are seriously interested in exploring conservation of books as cultural heritage, and could be used to help develop a portfolio for further work in library/archives conservation, or bookbinding study. Class size is limited. Application requirements include a short personal statement on the role of the class in your work, a phone conversation, and images showing three-dimensional studio work of some kind if possible. Students will need to supply their own hand tools, or purchases them at NBSS. For more information, please contact Chela Metzger cmetzger@winterthur.org.

Felt & Wire, deFINEd BINDINGS

Image

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/

 

Members in action and in the news

Barbara Adams Hebard sent along the following press release of likely interest:

Announcement of upcoming O’Neill Library exhibit and related events at the Burns Library

“Precious Poems in Precious Packaging: Irish Poems Printed and Bound by the Traffic Street Press” exhibit will be on display March 1- April 30, 2012 on Level Three in the Thomas P. O’Neill Library at Boston College. The Traffic Street Press Irish Poetry series, a collaborative project with Dr. Thomas Dillon Redshaw of the Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, includes selections of poetry by well-known Irish poets. The books were printed and bound by Paulette Myers-Rich at The Traffic Street Press.

During March, in honor of Women’s History Month, the John J. Burns Library will host two related events.  Anna Shepard and Heather Stevik, North Bennet Street School bookbinding students, will present a slideshow about their hand paper-making internship at Cave Paper, and will show examples of their work in the Irish Room at the John J. Burns

Library on March 6 at 4:00 pm.  The second event, on March 16 at 11:00 am, will feature Fionnuala Gerrity, a graduate of the North Bennet Street School Bookbinding Program, who will give a presentation about her artist books, as well as her conservation internship at the Burns Library; the talk will also take place in the Irish Room. The exhibit and events are free of charge and open to the public. Space for the events is limited; please RSVP one week prior to them. Directions to the Chestnut Hill Campus can be found at this link:

http://www.bc.edu/a-z/maps.html

Curators:

Kathleen Williams, Irish Studies Librarian, and Barbara Adams Hebard, Conservator

John J. Burns Library website:

http://www.bc.edu//libraries/collections/burns.html

Traffic Street Press website: http://paulettemyers-rich.visualserver.com/

Cave Paper website: http://cavepaper.com/

North Bennet Street School website: http://nbss.edu

Other member news…

Sam Ellenport and Harcourt Bindery were featured in an article in the Monitor.

Check it out here:

http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/chapter-and-verse/2012/0222/In-an-age-of-Kindles-Harcourt-Bindery-sticks-to-tried-and-true-book-methods

Scaleboard Bindings with Julia Miller

Scaleboard Bindings

Lecture from Julia Miller

Thursday April 26, 2012

6:00 pm

North Bennet Street School, Boston

 

This lecture is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers and North Bennet Street School.  Please register online at nbss.edu so we can prepare an appropriate space for the number attending.

 

Drawing from her study of 350 scaleboard bindings in library collections, Julia Miller explores the variety of structural elements and material combinations used on American imprints bound in scaleboard.

Scaleboard, also known as scabbard, is thin wood that was used for bindings in Europe and Britain until around 1600 (and much less so thereafter). The material was incorporated into American bindings as early as the 1680s (and probably earlier) and was used through the 1840s. Scaleboard was used in place of paste or pulpboard long after those materials were widely available in America and Boston is considered the center of early scaleboard/scabbard use based on the number of Boston imprints that survive in scaleboard bindings. Through her research and presentations, Julia aims to increase awareness of these bindings and increase the identification and description of these bindings in research collection cataloguing.

 

Introduction to Scaleboard

A hands-on seminar with Julia Miller

Friday and Saturday, April 27-28, 2012

North Bennet Street School, Boston

 

Please register online at nbss.edu.

 

The first day of the workshop focuses on building a solid understanding of the variety of structural elements encountered in collections of scaleboard bindings. The day includes a presentation by the instructor, hands-on examination of historical binding examples, discussion and descriptions done by students in teams. During the bench portion of the workshop, students create a cutaway model of a full leather scaleboard binding. Students also create a set of structure and material samplers to use as aids when working with Americana collections.

All Shook Up: Interplay of text and image in the flag book format

Flag Books

A workshop with Karen Hanmer

March 10-11, 2012

North Bennet Street School, Boston

 

In this two-day workshop, students make two styles of flag books and experiment with adding text and images. For both styles a sample is made from kits provided by the instructor. A more finished book with students’ imagery and hand written text is made in one or both styles as time permits. Students explore different spine and page dimensions, direction of motion and the selection of images that are most successful for flag book styles. Students have the opportunity to experiment with complementary and contrasting text and images and learn a tidy, non-adhesive method of covering boards and using a jig to facilitate quicker, more precise assembly. Before creating books using their own text and imagery, we review and discuss books by other artists and the importance of prototype construction and critical thinking at the onset of a project. While this is not a computer class, digital printing and using Photoshop templates for pages, covers and spines will be demonstrated.

 

Please see nbss.edu for more information and online registration

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.