I watched as the shipping containers were brought into the exhibition hall and unlocked, their contents of packing boxes and bubble wrap stacked and lined up, awaiting their contents to begin one last journey. The meticulously detailed packing instructions were studied, and one by one the display cases were unlocked. Quiet chaos ensued as teams of assistants murmured between themselves and worked to locate the book that belonged to its respective shipping sleeve, box, or piece of bubble wrap before carefully placing the book inside the shipping container as per the meticulously detailed shipping instructions. Slowly, one by one the display cases emptied as each work found its nest for the journey home. Afterwards we surveyed the carnage. Display cards lay stacked alone on top of empty cabinets, unneeded posters, no longer needed lay stacked against a wall, and reference materials lay scattered across the floor in front Display cabinets stripped of their works of art, their doors hanging ajar as if in a vain attempt to will the books back to their protective enclosure.
A tour that began in June of 2012, The Guild of Book Workers Horizon Exhibit had traveled far; From the University of Kentucky, to Salt Lake City, to The Chicago Public Library, The University of Denver, to Loyola University in New Orleans, and finally, the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. While in Tacoma, The Horizon Exhibition culminated in The Art of the Book Symposium held in March of 2014 at the University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. As I trundled the shipping containers to the library loading dock, a nearly two year journey was approaching its end. I thought to myself, all books should have such a journey in their lifetime, and then it occurred to me, perhaps all books do.
To read more about the Guild of Book Workers Horizon Exhibition or to order an exhibition catalog go to: The Guild of Book Workers