Category : Education

Happy Preservation Week!

2017 Preservation Week logo

Hey everyone – it’s Preservation Week! This annual event, presented by the American Library Association (ALA), is going on now through April 29th.

Here’s what the ALA has to say about the event:

Memories and treasures should last a lifetime and be passed on to future generations. Sponsored by the ALA’s Association of Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), Preservation Week inspires actions to preserve personal, family, and community collections in addition to library, museum, and archive collections. It also raises awareness of the role libraries and other cultural institutions play in providing ongoing preservation education and information.

I think that we’re so focused on the digital world right now that it’s too easy to forget about the valuable, tangible items that document a life.

It’s so important for people to be able to tell their stories and share them with future generations. That’s why I love making blank books – they’re just waiting to be filled with stories.

So what can you do this week? Here are five suggestions to get you started:

  1. How about taking your photos out of those evil sticky photo albums and getting them into acid-free books? Preserve Your Treasures: How To Remove Photos from a Sticky Album (Smithsonian Institution Archives)
  2. Get tips on photo preservation from the Library of CongressCare, Handling, and Storage of Photographs (they don’t like sticky photo albums either)
  3. Once you’ve picked out an archival photo album, how about making your own photo corners? The National Park Service can teach you how to do that!
  4. Got curly photos? Learn how to flatten them.
  5. Do the terms acid-free, lignin-free, and photo-safe all sound like gibberish to you? Learn how they’re different in this article by Scrapbook Retailer.

Let me know what you’re up to!

New FOBA session added!

As I announced back in November, I’m teaching a workshop at the Focus on Book Arts conference this June. I’m still pinching myself.

Well, imagine my surprise when I found out that my workshop had filled up two days after registration opened! More pinching.

Screen shot of 2017 Focus on Book Arts conference schedule

And then I was contacted about teaching another session of the workshop! Yet more pinching.

Screen shot of 2017 Focus on Book Arts conference schedule

So now I’m all black and blue from the pinching. But it’s all good for you, because if you missed out on the first session, you have another chance. The new session dates are Thursday and Friday, June 22 & 23.

Registration is open now.

2017 Focus on Book Arts catalog available

I got this in the mail yesterday:

2017 Focus on Book Arts conference catalog

Oh.my.goodness. It’s really, really happening now.

I’m teaching at the Focus on Book Arts (FOBA) conference in June!

2017 Focus on Book Arts conference catalog

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve announced this before. I’m just so thrilled and excited to be teaching at a conference I’ve attended and loved for years – it just continues to feel unreal.

In case you’ve never heard of FOBA, they put on a 5-day book arts conference every other year in Forest Grove, OR. In addition to workshops, they have a keynote speaker, evening activities, a trade show, an on-site store (Colophon Book Arts), and a faculty/staff exhibit. It really is the whole book arts package.

Check out some of the other instructors – Roberta Lavadour, Shawn Sheehy, Sam Ellenport, Helen Hiebert. I’m in disbelief that I’m teaching alongside these amazing people. And this year’s keynote speaker is Laura Russell, book artist and owner of 23 Sandy Gallery.

Seriously, go to the conference. I’ve been going since 2007 – and I’d go even if I weren’t teaching.

Oh, and take my workshop! Here’s a closer look at what we’ll be making:

Handmade three signature leather journals by Elissa Campbell

Now I just need to figure out what workshops to take on the days I’m not teaching. So many choices…

Conference registration opens on Monday, March 6th, 8:00 a.m. PST. While you’re waiting, you can peruse the conference catalog online.

Introduction to Miniature Books: Including Materials to Make Them Now

Japanese bookbinding book: Introduction to Miniature Books - Including Materials to Make Them Now

Welcome to my fifth post in my series of Japanese bookbinding book reviews.

I bought this book back in at the Kinokuniya in Beaverton, OR (near Portland). I was in town for the Focus on Book Arts conference and thought I’d swing by the store on my way there.

If you decide to check out the bookstore, please note that it’s located inside the Uwajimaya Asian Food Market – it’s really weird.

Title: Introduction to Miniature Books: Including Materials to Make Them Now (many thanks to Jill for the translation)
Author: Misuzudo Bindery
ISBN: 978-4-7661-2474-3
Publisher:  Graphics, Inc.
Year published: 2013
Paperback: 47 pages

This book reads left-to-right.

Let me start off by saying that this book is way cool for the following reason – it includes all of the project materials you need in a box that’s built into the back cover. This is super-awesome because you don’t have to cut up the pages of the book. Hooray! 

The design of this book is really clever.

Japanese bookbinding manual with built-in box for supplies

The stash of materials even includes mull!

Japanese bookbinding manual with built-in box for supplies

Let’s check out the content of the book. Pages 6-7 show images of which of the included materials you need to complete each project (click on the images to enlarge).

Pages 8-10 cover things such as basic bookbinding tools, the parts of a book, how to glue out paper, and paper grain.

Pages 11-46 focus on four book projects. The images that follow show the progression of content for each project.

Each section starts with an image of a book:

The top of the next page identifies which included materials you need to complete the project (including measurements) and the bottom half includes the beginning of the directions on how to create the book:

Page 47 offers information about the author’s studio, as well as a paper store (TAKEO) that is located in the same building.

Overall impressions:

One of my biggest peeves about bookbinding manuals is when you’re required to cut up the book in order to complete projects. I like my books in one piece, thank you. The design of this book addresses this issue in the most fabulous manner – all the materials you need are housed within the book structure. You get to work on the featured projects without destroying your book in the process – genius!

A beginner shouldn’t have any trouble completing the projects in this book. The photos and diagrams in the directions are clear and easy to follow. The techniques learned from this book can be easily translated into future work. Please note that specific project measurements in provided in millimeters. You can use an online conversion calculator to get the non-metric equivalents. 

Even though this book is more appropriate for those just starting out in the book arts, I’m still glad I purchased it. I’m so impressed with the overall presentation of the material and how all of the supplies are provided to you. The book would make a great gift. For you.

If you’re interested in buying your own copy, you can get it from the following online shops:

Just Little Books

After more than 5 ½ years, I’m finally returning to my Japanese bookbinding book reviews. Since I’m going to Japan this summer (and will likely buy more books when I’m there), I figured that I should present the remaining books in my current collection.

If you’d like to check out my previous reviews, you can do so here.

The book I’m focusing on today is the fourth in my series of reviews, and the second one written by Miyako Akai.

Just Little Books by Akai Miyako

Title: Sonomama Mamehon (Just Little Books)
Author: Miyako Akai
ISBN: 978-4-309-27206-1
Publisher: Kawade Shobo Shinsha, Publishers
Year published: 2010
Paperback: 96 pages

I wrote a brief background on Akai in this post, so I won’t repeat that here. In short, she’s pretty nifty. Like her book ABCs of Making Miniature Books, this book reads left-to-right.

Pages 2-13 show images of 17 miniature book projects (click on the images to enlarge).

Page 14 includes images of basic bookbinding tools and what seems to be a brief explanation of each tool. Pages 15-16 show bookbinding techniques such as scoring with a bone folder, cutting with an X-Acto knife, folding signatures, gluing, sewing, how to knot thread, and how to repair a torn page.

The next pages are what sets this book apart from the others reviewed to date. The pages of the book are printed with mini pages and covers that are to be cut out and then bound into the books featured in pages 2-13. Pages 17-48 contain the inside pages and pages 49-80 contain the exterior covers. The interior pages are printed on a lighter weight, cream-colored paper while the covers are printed on a heavier-weight, white paper.

Pages 82-95 show you how to create the book through photos and diagrams.

Overall impressions: This book is perfect for a beginner. Even though the book is written in Japanese, there’s no doubt in my mind that a beginner should be able to successfully complete all of the bindings in this book. The instructional diagrams and pictures are very clear and easy to follow. The majority of the projects utilize the pamphlet stitch.

There’s no measuring involved (other than thread) because all of them have been done for you with the templates you cut out and bind. Of course, this means that you have to cut up the book. I’m not a big fan of cutting up my books. If you’re a Nervous Nellie like me, you can scan the pages and print them out on a color printer. Once you work through the bindings in this book, you should feel comfortable enough to adapt them to your own work.

At first, I was disappointed because this book is a lot more oriented towards the beginner. There was less room for creativity because the form and content was already done. You don’t get to choose your own paper, which for me was a bit of a bummer. Also, most of the binding structures are fairly basic. A couple of them, however, are pretty cool – they involve complex shapes and folding – these I love.

I came to the realization that I would probably not do the projects in the book as they are presented. However, it still has a use. I can scan the template pages and increase or reduce them in size and use them for my own books. The advantage here is that I just trace around the template and voila! No measurements needed. The cover templates seem to have great possibilities.

Had I known the contents of this book, I probably would not have bought it – it’s too basic for my needs. I do want to emphasize though that it has great value for someone just starting out in the book arts.

If you’re interested in buying your own copy, you can get it from the following online shops:

Happy Preservation Week!

Preservation Week logo

Hey everyone – it’s Preservation Week! This annual event, presented by the American Library Association (ALA), is going on now through April 30th.

Here’s what the ALA has to say about the event:

Memories and treasures should last a lifetime and be passed on to future generations. Sponsored by the ALA’s Association of Library Collections and Services and partner organizations, Preservation Week inspires actions to preserve personal, family, and community collections in addition to library, museum, and archive collections. It also raises awareness of the role libraries and other cultural institutions play in providing ongoing preservation education and information.

I have a keen interest in the concept of preservation – it’s one of the reasons why I make books. People should tell their stories and be able share them with future generations.

So what can you do to honor this week? Here are some ideas:

  1. Check out the resources on how to properly care for collections of books and paper.
  2. Watch a webinar about preserving scrapbooks.
  3. Teach a child about the importance of preservation.
  4. Confirm that your photo albums are archival and acid free.
  5. Make a book and share your story!

Tell me what you’re up to this week – I’d love to hear about it!

Wells Book Arts Summer Institute 2016

Wells College Book Arts logo

The Wells Book Arts Center recently announced their 2016 Summer Institute

Here’s their fantastic lineup:

Week 1 – July 17-23:

Week 2 – July 24-30:

I’ve decided to forgo PBI this year, so going to Wells would be a nice alternative. Not only are the courses drool-worthy and the instructors top-notch, but I also wouldn’t have to fly to get there (only 6ish hours of driving). And if I go to Wells, I’d be able to finally cross something off my Book Arts Bucket List.

I’m very tempted to take Karen’s leather course. Not only because I desperately need to work on my leather skills, but also because Karen is a really fun instructor. Here’s the full description:

The basic structure of a fine leather binding has changed little over the past 300 years. The text block is sewn onto supports, the spine carefully shaped, and the boards laced on. The book is covered in leather that has been precision-pared for protection, flexibility, and a sumptuous presentation. Students will build a solid foundation in fundamental binding and leather-working skills including sewing, rounding, backing, paring, and covering and will also develop the connoisseurship required to evaluate their own work for continued independent study. The course is also a valuable refresher for more advanced students who would like feedback on their technique. Students will complete one leather binding with sewn endbands, and experiment with tooling and multiple onlay techniques. Additional luxury features will be discussed, along with the evolution of the craft from Medieval to contemporary methods.

I could go the letterpress route instead – it would be great for me to increase my comfort level enough to actually use my Kelsey. Besides, who can resist something called Daredevil Letterpress?

Students will focus on typesetting and printing techniques that move beyond straight lines and right angles to set type that curves, angles and bounces. We’ll begin by exploring historic methods and tools for handset typographic composition including circular and angle quads. Because these tools have become increasingly difficult to find, we’ll adapt materials from art supply and hardware stores for manipulating type and creating dynamic lock ups on both platen and cylinder presses. We will also experiment with Daredevil Furniture, sets of lasercut furniture designed for type composition. While our focus is daredevil typesetting, we’ll cover innovative approaches to ink, paper, and production too. Students will create a collaborative book and a set of editioned prints to exchange. This workshop is appropriate for those with some letterpress printing experience who want to expand their approach to typesetting and printing.

So I’ve got some thinking to do.

Registration is open now – maybe I’ll see you in New York!


Many thanks to the Wells Book Arts Summer Institute for granting permission for use of their lovely logo!

Book Arts at Haystack 2016

Haystack 2016 catalogI just received the 2016 catalog of workshops from the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Detailed workshop information won’t be posted online until January 1st, so you’re getting an early sneak peek!

There are a couple workshops of note that are bookish:

During session two (June 26 – July 8), Rebecca Goodale is teaching Artist’s Books: The Balancing Act of Concept and Form. Here’s the description:

At every turn you will discover a myriad of choices all leading the way to success. The rich complexity of the artist’s book involves rhythm, pace, and form and is driven by a desire to express an idea and/or narrative over and across the pages. In this workshop participants will develop a vocabulary of book structures and then consider appropriate concepts to use with those forms. Demonstrations, design exercises, and various book arts techniques (including binding) will engage participants at all levels.

Rebecca’s workshop is sure to be wonderful – she’s got skills. She works as the coordinator for the Kate Cheney Chappell ’83 Center for Book Arts at the University of Southern Maine (their programming is fantastic). Her creative work focuses on Maine’s endangered/threatened flora and fauna – check out her collaborative project inspired by leafcutter ants.

Although it’s categorized as a Graphics workshop, there’s another book arts-y offering during session four (July 31 – August 12) – A Letterpress, an Artist’ Book, and some text walk into a bar… (hello, best title ever) with Erin Sweeney

Here are the details on her workshop:

This intensive workshop will focus on the depth and breadth of the artists’ book. Participants will learn a variety of printmaking techniques using a Kelsey platen press and a Showcard proof press, experimenting with alternative materials, as well as type, to create imagery. Using materials we have created, we will construct several artists’ books – these structures will combine traditional techniques (folding, binding) and materials with innovative structures. We will also work with text – generated through several simple prompts – and look to house image, text, and objects in new and surprising ways. Students will also have the opportunity to collaborate, and the emphasis will be on fun and experimentation.

Erin received her MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia (hello, jealous). I met Erin at the Paper and Book Intensive a few years ago. Not only is she an amazing artist, but she’s totally adorable (translate: she must be a fun teacher).

Haystack is accepting applications now through April 1st.

FYI: Workshops aren’t first come, first served – they hold all applications until the deadline, after which they review them and assign students. Be sure to put some serious thought into your application!

Bad news at Mills College

Yesterday I heard terrible, terrible news about the Mills College Book Arts program. Students and alumni were just notified that due to budget cuts, the program is at risk of being eliminated within 30 days. This is heartbreaking.

The book arts program has been in existence for over 35 years, educating undergraduate and graduate students in the disciplines of book arts, letterpress, and printmaking. Interestingly, there has been no difficulty in getting students to enroll in these classes – in fact, they often attract students from outside the department.

The MFA in Book Art and Creative Writing was the first such program in the country. It offers deep creative exploration and encourages artistic development in both written and visual formats.

And if the curriculum isn’t enough for you, the faculty includes Julie Chen and Kathleen Walkup – can you say rock stars? If I had the opportunity, I’d enroll in this program in a heartbeat – it’s fantastic.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m not one to push causes – I’m making an exception in this case. If the book arts mean anything to you, please show your support for the Mills College Book Arts program by signing the petition on change.org.

Want to do more? Write to Mills College administrators and let them know what you think!

While you’re at it, check out this Tumblr account that was created for people to share stories and express support for the program.

Let’s rally and help prevent the closure of the Mills College Book Arts program!

It’s Preservation Week!

Preservation Week logo

April 26 – May 2, 2015 marks Preservation Week, a time when institutions work to raise awareness of the importance of protecting and conserving both public and private collections. The event is sponsored by the Association for Library Collections & Technology Services (ALCTS), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

From the ALA website:

Preservation Week was created in 2010 because some 630 million items in collecting institutions require immediate attention and care. Eighty percent of these institutions have no paid staff assigned responsibility for collections care; 22 percent have no collections care personnel at all. Some 2.6 billion items are not protected by an emergency plan. As natural disasters of recent years have taught us, these resources are in jeopardy should a disaster strike. Personal, family, and community collections are equally at risk.

The hope is that organizations can inspire people to get involved through participation in events in their community. The ALA website has a Google Map of planned events and speakers – check it out. Remember – small actions add up!

Want to get involved? Here are some ideas:

 I’d love to hear about what you’re doing this week – let me know!

Pin It on Pinterest