Harvest Time

Drying Irises

If you’ve never wondered what members of the Puget Sound Book Artists Board of Directors, do on their days off from their PSBA duties, this would be a good time to take note.  When we’re not being curatorial, attending board meetings, or like other book artists striving towards noteworthy goals of excellence, we find ways to get dirty, all for the art of the book.

I think for most artists each day begins with anticipation.  What direction will we take? Should we sketch? Perhaps paint? Work on some illustrations for a new book? Try out a new idea for Coptic binding? Experiment with a new technique? All of the above? Every now and then, we are given the opportunity to break away from the usual and do something entirely different. Harvesting iris leaves at Mark Hoppmann’s home with papermakers and fellow book artists Lucia Harrison and Deborah Greenwood along with their significant others , comes to mind. To the almost infinite list of materials needed to create a book, add sunshine, iris leaves to make paper, and a glass of wine (not necessarily in that order). Who knew? Cheers!

The Three Phases of Harvest

Iris leaf harvestReaping

Gathering the HarvestGathering

Deborah G.Celebrating!

Blog: Mark Hoppmann
Photo Credits: Mark Hoppmann
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Retreat to Move Forward!

DSCN6443 II

“The mission of the Puget Sound Book Artists is to further the knowledge, practice and understanding of the arts of the book by means of educational activities including but not limited to lectures, workshops, and exhibits.”    Lofty words, but how do we best set out to accomplish those goals?

Once a month, the Puget Sound Book Artists board of directors, all working as DSCN6468 volunteers, meets to discuss business, provide updates, share ideas, and perhaps have a laugh or two.   But even more important than our monthly meetings is the one time a year, where for a few hours we escape to regenerate, restore a sense of purpose, and plan for the upcoming year.   This year, Lakewold Gardens proved to be the perfect sanctuary where, surrounded by our haystacks of materials, laptops, notebooks, and binders, we exchanged ideas, generated new ones, and slowly but surely over the course of four hours developed a plan for the rest of 2014 and beyond.

DSCN6462 IIIt seems a paradox, to realize one must retreat to move DSCN6445forward.  It may be an enigma for some to consider before coming closer to your goals, you must first free yourself from them.  But that seems to be what happened.  Perhaps all it takes is to be under the watchful eye of vigilant moss covered statuary, or to experience the simple fragile beauty of discarded flora floating in a reflecting pond.

We look forward to presenting our new Roundtable and Between the Cover events in addition to lectures, field trips and of course, Work Shops!

Blog: by Mark Hoppmann
Photo Credits: Mark Hoppmann

 

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INK This!

photoIILast night’s INK This!  opening at the Tacoma Art Museum was a feast for the eyes.  The exhibit, beautifully curated by Margaret Bullock, offered a distinctive array of print artists, including members of the Puget Sound Book Artists.  Guests fortunate enough to attend were afforded the rare opportunity to see books which included Deborah Greenwood’s exquisite use of handmade paper in her work, Sequel, MalPina Chan’s unique glass book Gui Shu (Ghost Book), or Catherine Alice Michaelis’s amazing Blue Volcano.   It was truly gratifying to view books represented as works of art next to printed works in intaglio and relief.

Guests were also given the opportunity to take home commemorative books they made themselves using the ancient Egyptian tacket binding technique.   Assisting them were Puget Sound Book Artist Members, Rochelle Monner, Bonnie Egbert, Jan Ward, and Karen Perrine.  The souvenir was a delight to all, as over 120 of these handmade books were created  and taken home during the evening.  Guests were also able to personalize their books either by monograms or by stamping personal heirogylphs in keeping with the origins of the Tacket binding technique.

PSBA members exhibiting in INK This!

MalPina Chan
Deborah Greenwood
Diane Jacobs
Chandler O’Leary
Catherine Alice Michaelis
Jessica Spring

    Congratulations to the PSBA members who helped make INK This! A resounding success,  and special thanks to Margaret Bullock curator for the Tacoma Art Museum for creating a wonderful exhibition.

PSBA members, Karen Perrine, Bonnie Egbert, and Rochelle Monner,  Photo by Jan Ward

PSBA members, Karen Perrine, Bonnie Egbert, and Rochelle Monner, Photo by Jan Ward

PSBA member, Jan Ward assists guests in constructing a take home book using Tacket binding techniques.  Photo by Rochelle Monner

PSBA member, Jan Ward assists guests in constructing a take home book using Tacket binding techniques. Photo by Rochelle Monner

A guest studies MalPina Chan's work

A guest studies MalPina Chan’s work, Gui Shu, part of the INK This exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum. Photo by MalPina Chan.

Blog Contributors: Jane Carlin, Mark Hoppmann, MalPina Chan, Jan Ward
Photo Credits: Jane Carlin, MalPina Chan, Rochelle Monner, Jan Ward

To read more about the exhibition, be sure to read Rosemary Ponnekanti’s review in the Tacoma News Tribune!

 

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Congratulations Book Power Redux Award Winners!

My Little Book of Suicides by Susan Collard

My Little Book of Suicides by Susan Collard

It is a great pleasure to announce our award winners for Book Power Redux. Jane Carlin, library director at University of Puget Sound Collins Library and MalPina Chan, an independent curator based in Olympia spent hours agonizing over how to select just four of the 61 books in this “powerful” exhibition to be singled out for awards. Let me tell you–this was a very tough job!

Winning a Best of Show Award is Susan Collard, for her heartbreaking book, My Little Book of Suicides. In this very personal book, Susan works through the daunting grief of her brother’s suicide. The text of the book, scratched into black paint on the small wooden pages, reveals her feelings and emotions as she works through her grief. The book includes statistics about suicide by gun shot and it’s devastating consequences. Unwrapping the threads that wrap round and round the book with a sewing needle and unwrapping the canvas wrapper make you feel as if you are witnessing Susan unraveling the grief that pervades her days.

Mix and Match Family by Jaime Lynn Shafer

Mix and Match Family by Jaime Lynn Shafer

Our second Best of Show Award goes to Jaime Lynn Shafer for her book, Mix and Match Families. This innovative horizontal accordion structure is a brilliant take on the classic “exquisite corpse.” Acting like a flip book you mix and match four sets of photographs of mothers and fathers and children of all persuasions and ethnicities, creating and celebrating the many variations of our modern American family.

I Have a Name by Patricia Grass

I Have a Name by Patricia Grass

 

 

Also receiving Best of Show is Patricia Grass for her book, I Have a Name.  Wile living in the Philippines, the artist grew weary of being called “that white woman” instead of by her name.  This book has an unusually creative stitch that binds together pages that flex and twist in a slink-like snake.  The pages are made to look like paint chips colored with skin tones and each labeled with those silly names that paint companies give to paints.  Contained in a terrific red leather covered box, the book is paired with the von Luschan chromatic scale method of classifying skin color.  It is a terrific book about race and identity.

And last, but not least, Emily Chaplain receives the Collins Library Purchase Prize for her sculptured accordion book titled Amalgam, which is about what “inherent gendered brain difference could have on our lives and on obtaining gender equality in our society.” This compelling work will be purchased by 23 Sandy Gallery and donated to the artist book collection at the University of Puget Sound Collins Library.

chaplain-2-a-1000w-300x225 !!

Amalgam by Emily Chaplain

Congratulations to these four very talented artists for their remarkable works. We are honored to have these works included in this very powerful exhibition.

blog and photo credits: Laura Russell :

Read more of Laura Russell’s blogs or visit her website: www.23Sandy.com

 

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Opening Night

The Puget Sound Book Artists 4th Annual Members Exhibition

June 5th-July 31st 2014
Collins Memorial Library,
The University of Puget Sound

The evening of June 5th, 2014 marked the opening reception for the  4th Annual Puget Sound Book Artists Members Exhibition, featuring 57 extraordinary handmade books created by 39 artists from Puget Sound and beyond.  Held annually at Collins Memorial Library on the University of Puget Sound Campus, the exhibition represents the growing diversity of ideas constantly challenging the question; What is a book?    in this exhibition, using various media ranging from photography, printmaking,  drawing, painting, calligraphy, and digital means, and employing a variety of materials including wood, handmade paper, fabric, and cordage, the members of the Puget Sound Book Artists strive to answer that question.

Aside from the artists, the success of this year’s exhibition rested squarely on the shoulders of the curators.  Taking on a vast scope of responsibilities, several months of planning and last minute alterations, the curators who made the 4th annual PSBA Members Exhibition possible were Puget Sound Book Artists,  Patricia Chupa, Deborah Greenwood, An Gates, and Elizabeth Walsh.  Let it be said, they did not disappoint.

Three awards were conferred last night by the curatorial team of Deborah Greenwood, An Gates, Pat Chupa, and Elizabeth Walsh, and by guest jurors  Margaret Bullock,  Katie Henningsen, Hilary Robbeloth, Peggy Burge, and Julie Christoph.

Collins Library Award:
Laura Russell, Anything Helps

russell for blog and press release

photo credit: Laura Russell

 Anything Helps is a limited edition artist book surveying the hand-scrawled cardboard signs used by the panhandlers and Homeless people on street corners everywhere.  These folks can be found on city intersections and highway off ramps in cities large and small across the county.  It is so very easy to keep driving and avert our eyes as we pass by.  Over the last three years I have been collecting these signs, some purchased for $5, some found.  Many of the signs are works of art-clever, eye-catching words and illustrations designed to garner our sympathy and our coins as we speed by at 35 mph.

Laura Russell

Curators’ Choice Award:
Mari Gower, An Alchemist’s Lunch Box

gower for blog and press release

photo credit: Mari Gower

 I see many parallels between scientists who research GMO crops today and medieval alchemists.  To explore these parallels I decided to create a lunchbox for an imaginary alchemist.  The accordion book combines my interpretations of ancient alchemical symbols and processes with images and information about the most common current GMO crops; including quotes from experts (both pro and con) on the GMO debate.  The tulip fold book is a riff on old botanic illustrations with a Frankensteinian twist.  The pamphlet book contains my poems, using the four alchemical elements as a starting point.

 Mari Gower

Award for Excellence:
Lucia Harrison, Old Growth

photo credit: Lucia Harrison

photo credit: Lucia Harrison

When standing in an old growth forest, you feel a false sense of stability.  Beneath your feet are layers o moss, hemlock and cedar needles, lichen cones, fern fronds, and elk droppings.  Interpreting the text of a soil profile reveals layers of old growth forests altered by geologic forces: fire, flood, volcanic eruption and lahar.  Even the bedrock lies upon shifting tectonic plates.

Lucia Harrison

 

 

Without the strength of membership,  the Puget Sound Book Artists  would not be able to attain its mission to further the knowledge, practice and understanding of the art of the book by means of educational activities including lectures, workshops, and exhibits.  Congratulations to  all of the participating artists for a beautiful exhibition and Thank you to the entire membership for your contributions to the organization.  We would not be here without you.

Below are a few of the  photographs taken during the night of the reception, June 5th, 2014.

A birds eye view of the 2014 PSBA Member's Exhibition

A birds eye view of the 2014 PSBA Member’s Exhibition at Collins Library
photo credit: Mark Hoppmann

Katie Henningsen (left) poses with Laura Russell, recipient of the Collins Library Award. hoto credit: Mark Hoppmann

Katie Henningsen (left) poses with Laura Russell, recipient of the Collins Library Award.
photo credit: Mark Hoppmann

Margaret Bullock poses with Lucia Harrison, recipient of the Award for Excellence. photo credit: Mark Hoppmann

Margaret Bullock poses with Lucia Harrison, recipient of the Award for Excellence.
photo credit: Mark Hoppmann

Curators (from left to right) Pat Chupa, An Gates, Deborah Greenwood, and Elizabeth Walsh. photo credit: Mark Hoppmann

Curators (from left to right)
Pat Chupa, An Gates, Deborah Greenwood, and Elizabeth Walsh.
photo credit: Mark Hoppmann

(From left to right) Jane Carlin, Director of Collin Memorial Library stands with MalPina Chan and Laura Russell photo credit: Mark Hoppmann

(From left to right) Jane Carlin, Director of Collins Memorial Library stands with MalPina Chan and Laura Russell
photo credit: Mark Hoppmann

Jane Carlin speaks to a Girl Scout troop in the rare books room of Collins Memorial Library the evening of the reception for the PSBA Member's Exhibition. photo credit: Mark Hoppmann

Jane Carlin speaks to a Girl Scout troop in the rare books room of Collins Memorial Library the evening of the reception for the PSBA Member’s Exhibition.
photo credit: Mark Hoppmann

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So Many Books, So Little Time!

The What’s on Your Shelf event the evening of May 29th, provided the opportunity for PSBA members to take a break and browse through the great collection of books about books at the Collins Library.  On display were books documenting the history of typography and printing, manuscript illumination, book design and construction and compendiums of artists’ books.  It was a delight to sit and read and ponder and become inspired!  Remember, the library is open to the public for browsing, so if you missed this event, pop on over to Collins one Monday or Thursday evening this summer and browse the books!  Browse the N’s ( art books on the 3rd floor) and Z’s ( books on book design and history on the 4th floor)!  Below are a few of our favorites!  What’s on your shelf?  Tell us!

What's on Your Shelf IWhat's on Your Shelf IIWhat's on Your Shelf III

 

 

What's on Your Shelf IVWhat's on Your Shelf VWhat's on Your Shelf VI

 

 

 

 

Blog by Jane Carlin
Photo Credits: Jane Carlin
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The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art

Cynthia Sears presents some of the books from the Museums Collection to members of the Puget Sound Book Artists.

Cynthia Sears presents some of the books from the Museum’s permanent collection to members of the Puget Sound Book Artists.

If you have not yet visited the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, now is the perfect time to plan a trip.   The Museum, located in the heart of Winslow and close to the ferry terminal, is just a short drive from Tacoma and offers, what we think, might be the only permanent Book Arts Gallery in the Nation!  One of the museum founders and book collector, Cynthia Sears is responsible for the establishment of this wonderful local resource.  The Sherry Grover Gallery is currently featuring the exhibition, “You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover – A Selection of International Bindings.”   The show focuses on the work of Bernard Middleton.  Learn more by watching this Youtube video:      The exhibition brings together a collection of bindings that honor his skill and artistry.  The works are visually stunning with intricate bindings showcasing gold, multiple leathers, and incredible craftsmanship.  Also included in the exhibition are many works of Philip Smith.   From his website:  “Philip Smith is an internationally renowned designer bookbinder and book artist. He has been designing and creating intricate and fascinating bindings for well over 50 years and has been awarded gold and silver medals in several international competitions. In 2000 he was awarded an MBE for services to Art:

The Gallery is a unique space which has a large table for viewing and cases that provide visual access from both sides.  The lighting showcases the books and the subtle wood tones create a warn ambience fitting for the art of the book.  This is truly a jewel in the crown of a great new museum and we were privileged to have the opportunity to learn first-hand from Ms. Sears about the collection and the museum.  For more information about the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and the permanent Art Book Collection, be sure to visit the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art website.

Blog by Jane Carlin
Photo credit: Mark Hoppmann
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Wayzgoose! Letterpress and Book Arts Extravaganza

Amy McBride waits patiently on her "press" as Jessica Spring and Chandler O'Leary assist two artists in pulling a print.

Amy McBride waits patiently on her “press” as Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary assist two artists in pulling a print.

 

Looking out my kitchen window, I saw the omens were not good for the Tenth Annual Wayzgoose.  Ominous black clouds sat on one horizon, less threatening dark grey clouds hovered on the other, with sheets of rain in between.  I had forgotten, nothing spoils a good party.   Perhaps it was the determined spirit of its participants and the sunny dispositions of the people who attended, or maybe it was simply to be, but whatever the reason, as the morning progressed, the clouds parted, it stopped raining and in between the puddles and sunshine, we watched Amy Mcbride from the Tacoma Art Commission rev up the steamroller in the parking lot of Kings Books  and print the famous Wayzgoose prints created from 3×3 foot linoleum cuts created by local artists each year for the event.

The Wayzgoose! Letterpress and Book Arts Extravaganza is one of those rare events which lives up to its name.  Turning my back on the cheers as another successful proof was pulled from beneath the steamroller, I entered the crowded interior of Kings Books to find people standing shoulder to shoulder, some in line, just to pull off their very own printed piece whether it by inking up a brussels sprout (yes you read that correctly) or from an array of miniature platen presses that seemed to grace every table.  If printing your own isn’t your thing, consider purchasing a limited edition multi-color woodblock or linoleum cut print from one of the local artists or perhaps a broadside from Jessica Spring of Springtide Press, who founded Wayzgoose ten years ago.

This year’s Wayzgoose has come and gone, but make plans for April of 2015.  I know I will be there; Rain or shine.

For more information, visit the website of King’s Books: www.kingsbookstore.com or read Chandler O’Leary’s blog on her website:  www.anagram-press.com

blog by Mark Hoppmann
photo: courtesy of Chandler O’Leary
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A Spring Morning With Chandler!

Chandler O'Leary

Chandler O’Leary explains the basic concepts of linoleum block cutting before the artists begin their projects.
photo by: Debbi Commodore

     Ever wonder how Chandler creates her stunning (and meticulously detailed) linoleum block prints?  On a recent Saturday fourteen PSBA members postponed a morning of soaking in the delights of spring daffodils in bloom and the dew on the flowering trees to gather at the Collins Library to watch, learn and be inspired by Chandler’s expertise in linoleum carving!  It was a whirlwind morning—in two short hours we learned what was undoubtedly a very large, and heavy, textbook-size of information ranging from how to choose the best images for relief to how to bring shading to our images to most desired carving tools to the nitty-gritty of achieving crisp detail in carving.

Our eager-to-learn group came with loads of questions for Chandler.  Seemingly undaunted by the task, she responded with unflinching grace (and good humor) fielding each and every question.  Not only did I leave that morning’s play day with an enormous amount of inspiration and information, I walked away honestly humbled by her generous spirit to share.  Thank you Chandler.

Shoshona Albright confers with Pat Chupa on technique

Shoshona Albright confers with Pat Chupa on technique
Photo by : MalPina Chan

One of the most generous gifts an artist can share with their community is sharing their expertise with other artists.  PSBA is grateful for all of  the artists who volunteer their time and expertise to our organization.  Learn more about Chandler and her work at: http://anagram-press.com

Did you attend the play day?  We would love to know more about your favorite take-aways from the time with Chandler in the comment section below.

Blog by Debbi Commodore
Photo Credits: Debbi Commodore & MalPina Chan
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The Book in Society

Cover2 small       There is a tiny neglected park in the north end of Tacoma, Washington overlooking Commencement Bay.   It is just large enough for a small overgrown garden, a park bench, and the reason for the park’s existence, a stele, commemorating the site of Tacoma’s first public library.   I had just finished reading Solveig Robinson’s The Book in Society, an introduction to print culture.    As I sat on the bench, looking out over the water towards the Cascades, I contemplated how something as monumental as a library can be so transitory.   But when one considers the fragility of a book, perhaps it’s not as difficult to comprehend.  Indeed, it becomes easier to wonder how books came to exist at all.

Most of us take books for granted.  They are so ingrained as part of our society, it is difficult to imagine life without them, or that how we live is directly influenced by them.   Conversely, society has an equal role in its influence on the books themselves.   Solveig Robinson’s work, The Book in Society, explores both aspects as inextricable.     In journeying through the history of the book, she takes us from the history of writing by the earliest civilizations, to illuminated manuscripts, on to the invention of movable type, and finally, the arrival of the modern book as we know it.  We find in not only Western society, but in Islamic culture and other societies across the globe, the path was not as straight forward as we might have thought.   Interwoven into the coming of the book are the roles played by writers, artists, patrons, printers, publishers, editors,  ad execs, booksellers, governments, censors,  libraries, book fairs, and of course, the advent of perhaps the most important requirement for a book’s existence, literacy itself.

Written in a narrative style, Solveig Robinson weaves a story about the history of the book in all of its aspects from humble beginnings on clay tablets, to the mass produced pulp fiction of today.   Woven throughout the book are fascinating stories which make the book even more enjoyable to read.   Throughout history and even in certain societies today, people are put to death for what they write or publish.   As I look at my personal library, Solveig Robinson’s work The Book in Society makes me appreciate it that much more.

The Book In Society

An Introduction To Print Culture
by
Solveig C. Robinson

Associate Professor
Program Director, Publishing & Printing Arts
Pacific Lutheran University

Order The Book in Society here

To find out more about the Publishing and Printing Arts Program at Pacific Lutheran University, visit the PLU website

Blog by : Mark Hoppmann, President: Puget Sound Book Artists
Photo credit: Solveig Robinson
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