Focus on Book Arts Conference 2011

Focus on Book Arts logoI have made no secret about the fact that I super-duper love the biennial Focus on Book Arts conference, held at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. I am thrilled to say that next week, I’ll be attending the conference for the third time.

I had a really hard time choosing the workshops I wanted to attend – they all looked so good! This conference gets the most awesome instructors…this year’s batch includes Carol Barton, Sam Ellenport, and Shawn Sheehy. Not surprisingly, the majority of workshops are already full.

I’m also excited to meet two of my online bookbinding friends, Simon Goode and Karleigh Jae Heywood. Simon is a bookbinder from the U.K. and is currently on an insane three-month tour of book arts sites throughout the United States. By the way, when I say insane, it really means that I’m insanely jealous. He’ll be coming to the conference keynote lecture with Laura Russell of 23 Sandy Gallery.

Karleigh Jae is a member of the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team, just like me. She’s got serious talent for working with leather – check out her Etsy shop. She’s teaching a workshop at the conference – Inset and Raised Designs in Fabric, Paper & Leather (sold out!). If you’re taking her workshop, then you’re super-lucky.

I’m attending the following two-day workshops:

Wood Shop Basics for the Book Artist with Susan Collard:

This class provides an introduction to cutting, drilling, shaping, and fastening wood and other materials using common hand tools. Each student will produce a small board book with wood, metal, and glass pages bound with Tyvek and Japanese repair tissue. The books will include enticing features of the “constructed” book: a shadow box with mitered corners, simple brass or magnetic closures, windows and fold-out mirrored pages. Students will use collage and assemblage to integrate content into their books prior to binding.

I’ve always loved wood and I’m excited to build on the skills I picked up in Jill Timm‘s The Amazing Dremel workshop at the last conference. I’ve already started packing up Stan. Who’s Stan – read this post.

Biblio Tech: Reverse Engineering Historical and Modern Binding Structures with Karen Hanmer:

This workshop will begin with a lecture allowing students to handle and scrutinize a set of approximately twenty models of various historical and modern binding structures, with a focus on methods of board attachment. Similarities between historical and modern structures will be stressed. Students will create five models from the larger set representing significant structural advancements. These models will remain unfinished so the sewing and board attachment are visible for future reference. A chart giving brief structural descriptions of the larger set of binding models will be provided to aid students in continuing their study.

I love the idea creating unfinished books for future reference. From the moment I saw them, I was in love with Deborah Howe’s cutaway models and wanted some for myself. Now they will be mine. No, not Deborah’s – the ones I make will be mine. I also feel that I need to brush up on my bookbinding history, so this workshop should fit the bill.

If I can get internet access, I’ll be blogging about the conference after each day’s events, just as I did the last time I attended.

4 Responses to “Focus on Book Arts Conference 2011”

By CathyR - 18 June 2011 Reply

I’m definitely envious that you’re going to Focus on the Book Arts! I had thought about registering, but by the time I mobilized, most of the workshops were full 🙁 I’m planning on it for next time! I’ll be looking forward to hearing about your experiences this year.

By Elissa - 21 June 2011 Reply

Cathy –

The conference workshops do tend to fill up quickly – I think it’s those big names. I’m going to be totally starstruck.



By Brea - 19 June 2011 Reply

I’m not going this year, so be sure to have a great time on my behalf! Your workshop with Susan Collard should be great. I just purchased one of her pieces for our collection and it’s awesome.

By Elissa - 21 June 2011 Reply

Brea –

Bummer you’re not going. 🙁 I can’t wait for Susan’s class. I saw one of her pieces in the Guild of Book Workers show and it was amazing! I’m hoping I get to use my Dremel in her class.


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