Classes 2013

Session I

Turning The Corner, And other useful leather covering techniques
Jeff Altepeter

Ready to turn the corner and work with leather? This class will be an introduction for beginners or a refresher for students hoping to incorporate traditional leather binding techniques into their work. Students will have the opportunity to practice with a variety of tools and types of skins while we focus on several fundamental leather working skills including paring, the formation of head caps, and, of course, turning corners neatly.

Leather paring exercises will include fundamentals of tools and methods. Students will also experiment with paring based decorative techniques such as back-pared onlays. A variety of knives and manual paring machines will be available to students. Please bring your own knives and Scharf-fix or Brockman style paring machines if you already own them. If you don’t already have these you will leave the class with an understanding of what you might want to acquire in the future.

*There is an additional $20 lab fee for this course.

Jeff Altepeter is a graduate of the American Academy of Bookbinding and an alumnus of North Bennet Street School. After completing the bookbinding program at NBSS in 1999 Jeff worked at Harcourt Bindery in Boston and at Harvard University’s Tozzer Library. Jeff also operated a small bindery in Somerville, MA soon to reopen as “The Village Bindery.” Currently the head of the bookbinding department at North Bennet Street School, Jeff enjoys the fairly unique opportunity to work with students of traditional hand bookbinding on a full-time basis.

Pressure Printing: A Painterly Approach to the Press
Sarah Bryant

Pressure printing is a technique based on low relief collage or stencils using a press that creates a painterly, spontaneous image or texture on the page. In this course, students will experiment with different pressure printing methods on the Vandercook proof press. Beginning with the basics of this technique we will move onto more complex applications. As a group, we will harness the unexpected patterns and imagery that we generate and combine them with collage, stenciling, and type to create simple books.

Sarah Bryant is a letterpress printer and bookbinder specializing in the production of editioned artist books under her imprint, Big Jump Press. These books have been featured in exhibitions around the United States and have been acquired by special collections libraries internationally, including The Yale Arts Library, The Houghton Library at Harvard University, The New York Public Library and The Darling Bio-medical Library at UCLA. Bryant has taught book arts courses for The University of Georgia, The University of Alabama MFA in the Book Arts Program, and Wells College, where she was the Victor Hammer Fellow from 2008-2011. She currently lives in Brighton, United Kingdom and teaches bookbinding and letterpress printing workshops there and across the United States.

Page Design – It’s an Open Book
Paula Jull

As a book’s concept evolves so do the pages that convey that concept. Each page has the potential for invitation, information and inspiration. The page and the relationship of pages is a fluid combination of spaces, structures and interactions that don’t merely enhance concept but actively motivate it. Our goal in this course is to develop an understanding of how the page functions and can be formatted by examining its rich history and the creative potential within the design of each page as well as how page design can help stimulate solutions for future book projects.

We will begin with examples of historic page proportions and formats; from Medieval books of hours through mid-20th century book design to present day design aesthetics. The investigation will continue with examples of innovation and rule breaking as applied to the page, page spreads, rhythms and pacing. Participants will measure, diagram and analyze some of these strategies and will translate that information into small projects using collage style mockups. Type will be investigated as an historical and compositional element with regard to voice, shape and form in order to establish an understanding of the partnership between type and page design.

Paula Jull studied Asian art history while completing an MFA in printmaking at Indiana University. Often utilizing print and mixed media, she began making artist’s books in 1992. Her work has been shown in regional and national exhibits, and is in private and public collections. Her books are also featured in 500 Handmade Books and Handmade Books, Studio Series published by Lark Crafts. Her research and travel experiences in the cultures of Asia often inspire the content of her books. Currently a Professor at Idaho State University, Paula teaches Book Art, Graphic Design and Photography. She is a founder of the Pocatello Book Arts Group and is currently the chair of the Northwest Chapter of the Guild of Bookworkers and Art Director of its Journal.

The Three Ls: Limp – Link – Long; or Exploring Techniques Hidden In Libraries Across Europe.
Adam Larsson

Students will be introduced to Northern European limp vellum binding styles. The class will begin with a short lecture showing various styles of bindings included in the collection of the Carolina Rediviva Library at the Uppsala University in Sweden. We will focus on materials and details, such as a rigid spine plate, weaving of the sewing thread, markers, and closures. Students will start by constructing a text block, shaping and preparing the supportive spine plate from a variety of materials, cutting the vellum cover to size and finally attaching the cover and adding closures. During the class we will have time for deeper study and discussions on some of the typical features found on books bound with this technique. We will then create two other bindings using these methods more freely … coloring and patterning the vellum, using metal and other non-traditional materials for spine supports of various shapes and sizes and working with unusual sewing patterns.

*There is an additional $20 lab fee for this course.

Adam Larsson studied bookbinding and book and paper conservation at Hantverkets Folkhogskola School in Leksand, Sweden. Since 1994 he has worked as a book conservator at the Carolina Rediviva (Uppsala University Library) in Sweden. In his work he has performed conservation treatments on a great variety of different materials: 2000 year-old papyrus fragments, books from Copernicus’ own library, medieval manuscripts, fire and water damaged books and also material from the maps and prints department at the Library. Adam has lectured and conducted classes and workshops at institutions and bookbinding guilds in Sweden, Finland, England, Italy, Jordan and the United States. He spent a month studying the technique and conservation of Byzantine manuscripts in Greece, and has taken classes in book conservation with teachers Anthony Cains, Nicholas Hadcraft, Jim Bloxam, Maria Fredericks and many others. When not conserving books, Adam collects, restores and rides vintage motorcycles.

Finesse the Sheet
Bernie Vinzani

During the making of text weight sheets in hand papermaking, many variables occur contributing to the quality of the dried sheet. Learn how to finesse the sheet through the formation in the vat, the show through, the evenness of color, the surface texture, the drying and the curing. Many examples, historical and modern, will be available for viewing.

Bernie Vinzani teaches letterpress printing and papermaking in the Book Arts Program at the University of Maine at Machias. For over thirty years he has been a production papermaker, first at Twinrocker Paper in Indiana, then at his own paper mill in Whiting, Maine. He has collaborated with the country’s leading book artists, and he has taught papermaking and book arts at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, University of Alabama Center for the Book, Anderson Ranch in Colorado, and at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. He has been featured in such publications as Hand Papermaking , The Book of Fine Paper, American Craft Magazine, The Boston Globe, and Maine Public Television.

Session II

Ideas and Actions in Context and Construction
Tim Ely

The mythologist Joseph Campbell once remarked that art can come from many motivations, but that high art comes only from high mind. If one makes a book strictly to sell or if making a book is done with divided attention, the outcome is a commodity or merely a minor work. If one works with a goal of getting the self out of the way and allowing transcendent forms, ideas, and patterns to develop, an authentic art results that is vivid and present. This is art that breaks through to radiance.

The sketchbook is the vehicle on which we will ride toward developing a higher mind. The sketchbook has a long and venerable history, can serve as a planner, recording device, carrier of scrap, journal, and muse. We will delve into eccentric aspects of binding and design, of structure and purpose, of a few, often overlooked, first principals of the craft of bookbinding, as well as the great need for people to record their lives in interesting and unique formats, providing a platform from which the participant can merge the generation of IDEA and OBSERVATION with the creation of a handmade book, where technique and concept are fused. We will fabricate a ‘formal’ codex book with rigid covers, fascinating hybrids, combining a sewn text block with my drum leaf binding cover techniques. We will discuss surface design processes on cover materials, alternate histories, possible variants on format, and engage with mark making materials that form a foundation for exciting and durable archiving. Some of this material is being revealed here for the first time.

Timothy Ely has been a student and scholar of the sketchbook form since the late 1960’s. He received an MFA in Design from the University of Washington in 1975 and since that time has made over 500 unique manuscript books, sketchbooks & archives and has been active in teaching the art of the book. His books are in public, private, and secret collections planet-wide. He lives in Colfax, Washington.

A Look at the World of Islamic Bookbinding
Yasmeen Khan

In this workshop two Islamic books will be constructed. One will be based on Islamic binding structures that were produced throughout the Muslim world in the 18th century and defined as high-end deluxe bindings. The other will be a hybrid structure designed by the student including a variety of regional variations that the instructor will introduce in the workshop. Class time will also be devoted to the preparation of deluxe gold-leaf decoration endpapers and different styles of Islamic endbands and headcap constructions. Variation and style in Islamic binding and its decoration will be covered in the workshop through short lectures, handouts that include historical background information on Islamic binding, a reading list, and class instructions. The aim of the course is to introduce Islamic modes of decoration and book construction to the technical arsenal of the contemporary bookbinder.

*There is an additional $30 lab fee for this course.

Yasmeen Khan is a Senior Book Conservator in the Conservation Division of the Library of Congress where she has worked since 1996. She has worked on various projects in both paper and book conservation and, was, until recently, Conservation Liaison for Digital Projects. Her main area of interest is parchment conservation and Middle Eastern bookbinding and its associated crafts. She has taught and trained conservators in the U.S. and Asia on conservation approaches and treatment techniques in general, and on the care of Islamic bindings in particular. Prior to the Library of Congress, she worked and trained in conservation at the Smithsonian Libraries, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Bayarische Staastbibliothek in Munich, and the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.

BigAss Papermaking
Julie McLaughlin

Experience the age-old craft of papermaking in a non-traditional way during this “hands-on, feet-in” workshop creating large 6’x9’ sheets of handmade kozo paper. Everyone will experience the entire papermaking process from assembling the vat and screens to preparing the fiber (cooking and beating) and pulling the sheets. Finished sheets can be used for 2-D or 3-D work and transformed in a variety of ways. While the large sheets are drying we will be working with other molds and deckles creating smaller sheets in non-traditional ways.

Julie McLaughlin has been making paper and exploring its sculptural possibilities since the early 1990s. She shows her work, based on the corseted silhouette using handmade papers and welded steel rod armatures, both nationally and internationally. Having graduated with a degree in art from the University of Northern Iowa, she maintains a studio in Dysart, IA.

An Historical, Personal Almanac with a nod to Individual Calendar Books & Wood Leaf Books
Pam Spitzmueller

This class will focus on a making a leather bound, wood board book model of a 1581 Elizabethan pocket almanac that includes erasable writing pages with a metallic stylus tucked into the back board. There are two fore-edge brass clasps and blind stamping of a Renaissance, flourished design of a central diamond shaped panel and corner pieces. As time permits, we will make other historically based “pocket” books – calendars written and painted on folded vellum or an articulated wooden leaf pattern book with carved designs used by craftsmen to decorate other craft items.

*There is an additional $30 lab fee for this course.

Pamela Spitzmueller has worked full-time as a rare book conservator for more than 30 years, just having retired from her position as the Needham Chief Conservator in the Harvard Library. Pam describes herself as a student of book binding history, of books as old as the first books and as recent as yesterday: engaged in the many, many branches that form the lineage of bookbinding and its structural travels. She began her career in Chicago where she met Gary Frost, took his class and started work at the Newberry Library. Gary encouraged study of historical structures, sewing structures in particular. She also began an extended traditional study with Bill Anthony, who provided a solid foundation in craft binding techniques of many traditional styles. She simmered and explored with the help of generous conservators and binders. Working in a conservation lab, she found she could conserve rare books, study bindings, and form ideas about new books she wanted to create in a back and forth cross fertilization of these fields. She worked at the Library of Congress, and was Head Conservator at the University of Iowa Libraries before taking her position at Harvard. She is also a proud PBI co-director emeritus!

Daredevil Letterpress
Jessica Spring

In this intensive workshop participants will focus on handset type composition with lead, wood and ornaments, moving beyond traditional straight lines and right angles. We’ll explore the use of circular and angle quads which were used for setting type in curves, circles and angles to achieve the effects of late-nineteenth century highly embellished “artistic printing”. We’ll also accomplish these effects using materials found in a hardware or art supply store, allowing participants to readily continue using these techniques. Ink mixing strategies will be covered–including the use of metallic and fluorescents–to create layers of texture and color. An exchange of daredevil prints will complete this workshop appropriate for those who want to expand their approach to hand typesetting and image making, sans computer.

Jessica Spring is the proprietor of Springtide Press where she designs, prints and binds artist books, broadsides and ephemera incorporating handmade paper and letterpress printing. Small finely-crafted editions consider historical topics and popular culture from a unique perspective. Jessica has an MFA from Columbia College Chicago Center for Book & Paper and teaches Book Art and Typography at Pacific Lutheran University. Springtide Press is located in Tacoma, Washington with work featured in numerous collections including The British Museum, Brown, The Newberry Library, Northwestern, Savannah College of Art & Design, Swarthmore College, University of Utah and Yale.