Location, Location, Location: Buying and Harvesting Fiber for Papermaking
In Japanese papermaking, we hear of a “triad” of fibers: kozo, mitsumata and gampi. Kozo, or paper mulberry, is a tree that grows in Japan, Thailand, and the United States. The shrubs mitsumata and gampi grow in Japan. Mitsumata, or edgeworthia, also grows in the U.S. (paper historian Elaine Koretsky once traveled to the backwoods of northern Georgia to harvest it). Does fiber origin affect the quality and characteristics of the final product?
——With a qualitative approach, we will compare paper made from these fibers sourced from as many locations as we can find. We will start with scraping bark from the respective tree or shrub, and then we will hand beat the fiber into a pulp used for making paper. The Japanese means of harvesting and processing fiber will be used and we will then make sheets in a “western-style” manner.
——We will discuss how you may locate and harvest fibers if you live where these plants grow, and learn how to consider other fibers to try. Another focus of this class will be the use of tororo aoi as a formation aid. The roots of the tororo aoi plant contain a mucilage, or goo, as does okra, and this we may use to our advantage in the making of beautiful papers. Whether you are new to papermaking, or want to improve your papermaking skills, bring willing arms ready to scrape bark and beat pulp and make paper. It’s a physical process, and very satisfying.
Frank Brannon, a native of Tennessee, currently lives in Sylva, North Carolina. He is a graduate of the M.F.A. in the Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama and is proprietor of SpeakEasy Press. A member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, Frank is a printmaking instructor with Southwestern Community College in western North Carolina and an adjunct book arts instructor with Western Carolina University. The limited edition, letterpress books that Frank produces are held in special collections libraries in the United States and England, as well as with private collectors. His 2005 letterpress monograph focuses upon research into the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper of northern Georgia, 1828-1834. Current work includes reinterpretations of the book form in consideration of cultural and locational significance.
Ideation in Action
Ideas for content can come from almost anywhere, but are often hard to capture in ways that lead to the focused and creative attention needed to bring an artist’s book to fruition. This workshop will introduce students to strategies for content development that will be useful for both the occasional bookmaker and the professional book art practitioner. Students will do daily content development exercises based on card draws from Artist’s Book Ideation Cards— a deck of cards designed by Julie Chen and Barbara Tetenbaum to help jumpstart the creative process—as well as exercises based on other creative tools and techniques. Together we will build a creative space that will be part art studio, part classroom, and part mad scientist’s laboratory. Participants will experiment with writing, image making, materials and structure/content integration, and will come away with fresh ideas for book projects as well as new approaches for creative practice.
Julie Chen is an internationally known book artist who has been publishing limited edition artists’ books under the Flying Fish Press imprint for over 25 years. Her work can be found in numerous collections worldwide including the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland, NZ. In 2009 she was a featured artist in the PBS television series, Craft in America. She is an associate professor of book art at Mills College in Oakland, California.
The Unique Print
Explore the many possibilities of the Unique Print! This workshop is designed for printmakers, painters, and book artists interested in the monoprint and its versatility. A wide range of monoprint and monotype techniques will be demonstrated—from painterly and expressive to graphic and specific approaches. Using oil-based printmaking inks, we will investigate direct painting methods, reductive or subtractive approaches, multi-plate registered color printing, monotypes, collage, and mixed-media techniques. Gum transfer printing will be demonstrated, allowing the artist to utilize appropriated images, photographs or personal drawings into this process. Ideal papers for use with monoprinting, including working with handmade papers, will be discussed and experimented with. Chine colle, pochoir, and pressure printing will further inform the artist as to how translate his/her ideas and images into this versatile printmaking medium.
Georgia Deal is a Washington DC based artist who is Professor and Printmaking Program head at the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design of George Washington University. She has been awarded residencies at the Yaddo Foundation, Saratoga Springs, NY, Lakeside Studios, Chicago, and Pyramid Atlantic. Grants include Maryland State Individual Artist Grants, the Washington Project for the Arts and New York State Council of the Arts grants. She has taught workshops at numerous venues, including the Cortona, Italy Studies Abroad program for the University of Georgia, the Skopelos Foundation for the Arts in Skopelos Greece, Penland School of Crafts, NC, and Paper & Book Intensive, Oxbow, MI. Collections include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, the Corcoran Museum of Art, the Duke Museum of Art, the John D. Wilson City Hall Art Collection, Wash DC, Phillip Morris Collection, and the Washington Print Club Collection, Georgetown University and Yale University. She has exhibited her prints, book and works on paper throughout the Washington DC area, nationally and abroad.
Miniature books are a huge topic. The small format creates an intimate aesthetic experience by asking the viewer to focus to a degree not required with larger books. A true miniature is less than three inches tall. In this course, participants will construct a series of books of diminishing size in several structures. Each structure is particularly well suited to addressing the complexities of small format books. The books created during the workshop include a long stitch sewn through a heavyweight paper wrapper with decorated boards adhered to the wrapper; a traditional full leather binding or quarter leather binding with decorated paper sides; and an accordion in a wraparound paper case with a tongue and slot closure.
——Miniature books present difficult design and structural challenges. Participants will experiment with both, analyzing materials and techniques suitable for small books. The course will contrast the utility of case binding and non-adhesive structures for miniature books, considering flexibility and book action. The diminutive size will challenge participants to do precisely executed and finely detailed work while facing the limitations inherent in working small.
James Reid-Cunningham is a design binder and book artist with a private practice providing book and paper conservation services. His secret vice is miniature books. He studied bookbinding with Mark Esser at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, receiving the school’s distinguished alumni award in 2006. He spent thirty years as a conservator of rare paper-based artifacts at Harvard University and the Boston Athenaeum, and served as the President of the Guild of Book Workers from 2006 to 2010. From 2009 to 2013 he was adjunct lecturer in book conservation in the graduate art conservation program at Buffalo State College. He wrote an essay “Enigmatic Devices: the Art of Contemporary Bookbinding,” for The Poet of Them All: William Shakespeare and Miniature Designer Bindings, an exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art, summer 2016.
Who doesn’t love tools? Who doesn’t need more? This class will give participants an opportunity to develop new woodworking skills or perhaps hone some old ones and, in the process, acquire useful new tools for their studios. Using planes, scrapers, rasps, files, drills, and other hand tools, participants will shape roughly formed wood into beautiful, functional bookbinding tools.
——We will create a lightweight maple finishing press that breaks down into just six easily reassembled pieces, making it ideal for packing for a trip to PBI or other workshops, as well as for use in the studio; a hardwood punching cradle that will simplify and speed up punching sections for single books and small editions; an awl with a slim handle and a brass ferrule good for getting into tight spaces or for just poking around at things; and an awl with a free-form handle carved from exotic wood. The awl incorporates a jeweler’s pin vice for attaching different size needles.
——Some of the woodworking skills developed in this class—handling a block plane, learning to keep a flat surface when using sandpaper, or drilling through wood without splintering the backside will translate to working with wooden book boards and other areas of bookbinding. Plus, you’ll go home with a set of useful new tools for your shop!
Course Fee: $20.00
Robert Walp has been a woodworker for all of his adult life. In 2006 he received an MFA in the Book Arts from The University of Alabama. Today he makes paper, illustrates and binds letterpress printed books, and makes tools for himself and other book workers. Robert works from his home and studio in The Adirondack Mountains under the imprint of Chester Creek Press. His books can be found in special collections at the Library of Congress, The Smithsonian Institution, The New York State Library, and Penland School of Crafts among others. He is curator of the Town of Chester Public Library Book Arts Collection. When he’s not working Bob spends time with his wife Trudy in their garden and apple orchard, makes maple syrup, and brews hard cider.
Two Semi-limp Parchment Binding Styles
Much research has focused on limp parchment bindings, resulting in a clear terminology used to describe these structures. This class will focus on the relatively less-researched genre of bindings referred to as “semi-limp”. On its surface a simple structure, this style of binding presents many quandaries for researchers and conservators. The lines between semi-limp and stiff-board bindings can be blurry at best, and even the task of compiling a consistent vocabulary to describe them is far from straightforward.
——We will construct and compare two semi-limp structures from 16-17th century European imprints. The bindings share the characteristic of a parchment cover laced on only by the endband supports. The first model will be based on a binding style noted by Nicholas Pickwoad in the Ramey collection at the Pierpont Morgan Library. This binding is distinguished by a laced, flexible cover liner usually consisting of cartonnage or laminated paper, forming what could be viewed as a primary cover (under a secondary parchment cover). A second, more common structure composed of thin, floating flexible boards will also be constructed. Participants will learn about the history of board making and will construct pasteboards used for the floating boards. Sewing supports will be made by hand following the principles used in simple rope making. Some knowledge of and experience in bookbinding is desirable for this class.
Course fee: $30.00
Anne Hillam is a book conservator in private practice providing consulting and conservation services for institutions and individuals in New York City and Western Massachusetts. She has been in the field for more than twenty-five years, specializing in the conservation of books and paper artifacts, with a strong interest in parchment bindings. Anne acted as Head of Conservation at the New York Academy of Medicine’s Gladys Brooks Book & Paper Conservation Laboratory from 2007-2012, where she also held positions of Conservator and Senior Conservator of special collections. She is currently a part-time contract conservator in the Barbara Goldsmith Conservation Laboratory at New York University. Anne is a Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC).
Innovations in Fine Edition Case Binding
The over-the-shoulder hollow is a case binding technique with a great deal of potential for both edition work and unique bindings. The hollow facilitates a flexible opening and is highly adaptable to varied textblocks and cases. Particularly well suited for flat-back work, this case style is also an effective option for rounded and backed case work. This structure and variants were employed at BookLab II, including most recently for Lac Des Pleurs, printed by Gaylord Schanilec, Midnight Paper Sales. Participants will make at least two structural prototypes and will be free to experiment with others if time permits. Production methodologies and tricks and tips in edition work will also be shared and emphasized during the workshop.
Craig Jensen began his career in 1977 as Library Conservator for the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University. From 1977-1978 interned at The Library of Congress Restoration Office under Peter Waters and Don Etherington. In 1981, Craig was appointed Head of Book Conservation at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center Conservation Department at the University of Texas at Austin. Craig founded Jensen Bindery in 1984, shifting his attention from book conservation to box making and limited edition binding. In 1988 Jensen Bindery was incorporated as BookLab, Inc. which offered preservation photocopy and, later, digital reproduction services for libraries in addition to binding and box making. Following the close of BookLab, Inc. in 1998 Craig became Vice President for Imaging at Acme Bookbinding. In 2003 Craig and his family moved to San Marcos, Texas where he started BookLab II, operating out of a small home based studio and he now focuses exclusively on box making and fine edition binding. In 2011 Craig was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Guild of Book Workers.
Hanji in its Many Guises: Korean Paper at Work
Students will learn the process of making hanji (Korean paper) from raw paper mulberry bark and methods of manipulating paper—from sheets both made in class and imported from Korea. Working together, students will complete various steps to prepare raw materials for sheet formation in both webal tteugi and ssangbal tteugi techniques. Bark usually considered too tough for sheet formation will be transformed into bark lace for fiber, sculpture, and book applications. Air-dried sheets can be saved for future use or immediately put to work in techniques that include fusing paper (joomchi), cording and weaving paper (jiseung), and spinning paper into thread. Finishes including starches and natural dyes will also be explored. Aimee will share her own hybrid methods of transforming this durable and malleable substrate along with the rich history and folklore of hanji. Students will be introduced to the depth and breadth of East Asian paper traditions, the role of paper in material culture and history, and the importance of manual labor and patience in service of a sustainable and time-tested craft.
Aimee Lee is an artist, papermaker, writer, and the leading hanji researcher and practitioner in the United States. She holds a BA from Oberlin College and a MFA from Columbia College Chicago. Her Fulbright research on Korean paper led to her award-winning book, Hanji Unfurled, and the first US hanji studio at Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland, OH. She has taught and lectured at the American Museum of Natural History, Asian Art Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art Paper Conservation Department, Oberlin College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Mills College, University of the Arts, University of Iowa Center for the Book, Center for Book Arts, Peters Valley School of Craft, Penland School of Crafts, and North Bennett Street School. Her artists’ books reside in library collections that include the Joan Flasch Artists’ Books Collection, Indiana University, Museum of Modern Art, and Yale University.
Learn the basic techniques of cutting and printing end grain wood blocks. Wood engraving offers the potential for great tool control, and thus far finer detail than other relief printmaking methods—at least those that involve cutting into the surface of a type-high block with one’s hands. Methods for transferring an initial image onto a block, as well as printing blocks in multiple, over-lapping colors will be learned. Shanilec’s methodology for proofing, and his view of the finer points of press work in the printing of wood blocks will be covered. Expect also a survey of wood engraving and color printing, including the instructor’s own work and that of others in the field through the 20th century, and into the 21st.
——Please bring an idea for a simple image to be realized during the course of the class, and printed in a small edition.
Gaylord Schanilec, noted for his color wood engravings, established his own press, Midnight Paper Sales, in 1980. Since then he has published more than twenty-five books under his imprint, as well as accepted numerous commissions including works for The Gregynog Press in Wales and the Grolier Club of New York. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Carl Hertzog award for excellence in book design, and the Greynog prize. He is an Honorary Member of the Double Crown Club, and an active member of the Typophiles and the Ampersand Club. His work is represented in most major book arts collections in the United States and in the United Kingdom, and the archive of his working materials is held at the University of Minnesota.
Taking It Out of Context
Sometimes you just need to get the ideas out there. Sometimes you just need to get the ideas at all. Rather than get bogged down with the big idea, the monumental book, or the magnum opus, we’ll focus on the smaller ideas and generating more ideas for more books in simple quick ways.
——In this class we’ll explore the ideas behind mini-comics, zines and other quick, low-tech productions. Using simple book structures such as one-sheet folds, accordions, pamphlets, super simple albums, and others, we’ll create books loaded with content you never thought you’d come up with. There will be a lot of taking things out of context, twisting people’s words and digging in the kitchen sink. We’ll use source materials such as old manuals, home study course booklets, cook books and whatever else we can get our hands on. Bring original material you might want to work with—or even better—photo-copies and scans of that material. We will work on conceptual exercises and narratives with rubber stamps (pre-made and ones you carve yourself), stencil, collage, photocopy transfer, silly putty, pen and ink, rubbings, gel printing and other methods.
Sarah Smith produces books and broadsides in the realm of nonsense and absurdity. Her work is often letterpress printed, involving drawings, relief printed imagery, and occasionally, intaglio, screen print, collage, and offset printing. She received her MFA in Book Arts/Printmaking at University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Sarah is currently the Special Instructor of the Book Arts Workshop at Dartmouth College, in Hanover NH. Since 1995, she has been teaching letterpress printing, bookbinding, printmaking, and graphic design. She taught at Maryland Institute College of Art, Massachusetts College of Art, Endicott College, Simmons College and most recently at Montserrat College of Art, where she helped create a letterpress printing studio and BFA concentration in Book Arts. While teaching, Sarah worked for seventeen years as a book conservator at the Northeast Document Conservation Center, in Andover MA and the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia, PA.