The 2014 Art of The Book Symposium

Symposium Collage copy

By 8:30 am, March 15th, 2014, a steady stream of book artists, curators, library directors, paper makers, book restorers, illustrators, printers,  calligraphers, poets, and book art lovers  began gathering inside Collins Library at the University of Puget Sound, anxious for the Art of The Book Symposium to begin.  Upon their arrival guests were treated to a continental breakfast, an opportunity to view The Guild of Book Workers  Horizon Exhibit, held in conjunction with the Symposium, and a chance to study selected works from the rare book collection of Collins Library.  The light rain which fell on the short walk  across the campus served only to refresh and dissolve any lingering cobwebs from the night before.   There appeared to be no doubt, this would be an opportunity to learn and reflect.  A sincere welcome from  Jane Carlin, director of Collins library and an address delivered by Paula Jull, the president of the Northwest chapter of the Guild of Book Artists, signaled the Symposium had begun.  Mark Hoppmann, president of the Puget Sound Book Artists introduced the morning’s speakers.

All eyes were on the podium as Susan Collard, a Portland book artist and architect whose firm, In-House Architecture, focuses on residential remodeling began her presentation.  As an architect, her task is transforming existing houses.  As an artist, she transforms found objects and materials such as wood, metal, and glass into intricate, constructed books. She explained, “While my books are architectural in nature, it is here the similarities end.   Architecture is problem solving.  My books are a means to express myself.”

Monica Holtsclaw received a Diploma in bookbinding from the North Bennet Street School in Boston, Massachusetts, as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia.  Monica enjoyed two internships in the conservation lab at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, as well as a summer of study in the bindery of Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden. Monica currently resides in Beaverton, Oregon, where she is the proprietor of Boombox Bindery.  She specializes in hand bookbinding, repair, and the creation of custom boxes and enclosures.  During her presentation, Monica took us on a different journey, explaining her past, present, and future in the book arts.  “The book structure represents a personal reflection as I search beyond my own horizons and limits.  I push toward new experiences while carrying the past with me.”

Suzanne Moore is a printmaker, painter and lettering artist, whose eclectic interests fuse in the diversity of her artists’ books.  She melds word and painted image with form, content, and structure into spaces which invite the reader to engage, examine, and inquire.   Recent work has included a visual interpretation of Gustav Hoist’s symphonic suite, “The Planets” and she is currently working on an edition book presenting the history, controversy, mystery and spiritual symbolism of the digit “zero”, entitled, Zero: Cypher of Infinity.  In 2001, Suzanne was part of a team of illuminators who worked from 2001-2012 with Donald Jackson on the Saint John’s Bible.  She quoted T. S. Elliot in saying, “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Following the three presentations, MalPina Chan, PSBA Board member and book artist served as moderator for a panel discussion between guests and the three artists.  During and after a buffet luncheon, guests mingled, had the opportunity to view works by the attendees, or strolled back across the campus to finish viewing the Horizon exhibit at Collins Library before embarking for the afternoon session of the symposium.

Arriving at Pacific Lutheran University to tour Elliott Press on the university campus, guests gathered to view  The Art of Wayzgoose, an exhibit of WayzGoose steamroller prints and listen to Jessica Spring, and Chandler O’Leary discuss their Dead Feminist series.  They also took the opportunity to present their newest print, Focal Point, which incorporates a quote by photographer Imogen Cunningham with an illustration by Chandler, letterpress printed by Jessica.

Jessica Spring has been designing, paper making and printing for more than twenty years. Jessica has an MFA from Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper and teaches at Pacific Lutheran University’s Elliott Press and the The School of Visual Concepts in Seattle. Her work is included in numerous collections and is available for sale through the artist, Vamp & Tramp or Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers.

Chandler O’Leary was born 50 miles west of  Wall Drug. She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and the proprietor of Anagram Press — a small business built on the notion of doing everything the hard way.  Specialties include lettering, illustration and printmaking.   Chandler is the author/artist of the illustrated travel blog, Drawn the Road Again, and one half of the collaborative team behind the Dead Feminists series. She lives and works in Tacoma, Washington.


   In retrospect, the Art of the Book Symposium fulfilled the expectations of its planners and designers.  70 individuals were brought together with one purpose in mind; to assimilate and exchange information on The Art of The Book.  Whether sitting at the University of Puget Sound or standing on the campus of Pacific Lutheran University, the atmosphere of support and enthusiasm was contagious.   After the last presentation, and not wanting a perfect day to end, some continued  to mingle in the lobby at Ingram Hall or outside on the campus ground, others continued onward to an opening reception at Pope Press in Olympia, Washington.  A small party gathered at a local Italian restaurant to continue the exchange of ideas, enjoy each others company, and possibly to lay the seeds for the next Symposium.  The day had indeed been an opportunity to learn and reflect.

The Puget Sound Book Artists wish to express our sincerest gratitude to the Northwest Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers,  the Book Arts Guild,  Paula Jull, Jane Carlin, Susan Collard, Monica Holtsclaw, Suzanne Moore, Jessica Spring, and Chandler O’Leary for making this symposium possible.  Special Thanks goes to Jamie Spaine for her tireless work behind the scenes that helps makes anything and everything at Collins Memorial Library possible.

 Blog: Mark Hoppmann
Photo credits: MalPina Chan, Mark Hoppmann


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