Focus on Book Arts Conference 2013

Focus on Book Arts logoIn a week I’ll be leaving for the biennial Focus on Book Arts conference, held at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. This will be my fourth time attending the conference. This conference gets amazing instructors and this year’s batch is no exception – Jeff Peachey, Carol Barton, Sam Ellenport, and Emily Marks. Not surprisingly, the majority of workshops are already full. The keynote lecture is by Phillip PiragesLooking Sensational in Leather: A Superficial but Diverting Look at the Beautiful, Curious, and Amazing History of Bookbinding, with Illustrative Examples.

The first owners of early decorative codex bindings were churches and monasteries, followed by the wealthy elite. While bindings have always been utilitarian, providing protection for written content, adorned books from the medieval period onwards have also been considered as pleasing and often precious physical objects, sometimes even viewed as symbols of status.

Phillip will be presenting a consideration of the general evolution of bookbinding styles in the West, featuring examples of historically interesting and esthetically pleasing bindings from the 15th century until today. In addition, there’s a lecture on Wednesday night too – Critique, Collaboration and Commerce for the Book Artist with gallery owners and studio artists Alicia Bailey and Laura Russell. They’ll be talking about the value and methods of criticism and an introduction to the business of being an artist.

Ever wonder if your work as a book artist is ready to exhibit? Is it good enough to sell? And if so, just how do you go about it? Constructive criticism is an important and often extraordinary growth experience for any artist. Once an artist feels confident in their constructs, it may be time to focus on reaching a wider audience and/or selling work.

I’m psyched about this double bill – there’s a lot to learn! On top of that, I’m attending the following workshops: Calligraphic Paste Papers and Tackett Bound Album with Jacqueline Sullivan:

This class will help you learn the proper techniques for making paste papers with a beautiful, smooth velvety finish that is perfect for calligraphic markings and creating a personal album. Students will create paste papers with an emphasis on beautiful calligraphic mark making and use of bright colors. Papers will be made with a methyl cellulose based paste that is easy to use and recreate in your home studio. We will work large in order to have plenty of paper for the album. Then the papers we have designed will be used to create a Tackett Bound Album. Paper assemblage, gluing, and book binding will be covered. There will be a variety of tools on hand for making various patterns and marks in the paste and handouts will be provided. Extra papers made during the workshop will be wonderful for your in-studio projects such as binding books, collages, making boxes, and backgrounds.

I’ve envied those folks who take workshops and walk away with piles of beautiful papers to play with when they get home. I decided to take the plunge and be one of them. Paste papers will be mine! Reverse Engineering Historical and Modern Binding Structures Part Two with Karen Hanmer:

This workshop begins with a brief review of numerous 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 binding models. These models will remain unfinished so the sewing and board attachment are visible for future reference. Models include Ethiopian, Medieval, Colonial American, Simplified and Non-adhesive Paper Case. This is a fast-paced workshop for students who already have some experience with traditional binding.

I took a workshop with Karen at the last FOBA (Day 1 & Day 2) and really enjoyed it. This workshop is the sequel (as if the part two in the title didn’t make that clear – duh). Doors, Drawers & Windows: Making Interactive Books and Boxes with Randi Parkhurst:

This fun and unique workshop will focus on the mechanics of doors, drawers and windows as an integral part of the interactive book or box structure. Working from excellent models and clear instructions we will explore several techniques for making hinged doors, drawers that slide easily, and windows made from unusual materials. These elements can hide and house words, objects, drawings and more. We will also explore the possibilities when using materials like watercolor paper, linen thread, and other common materials to fashion drawer handles, door pulls, beads, and button closures. Each student will construct and complete several working models that can be used as references for future projects. Students may wish to bring a project or ideas that are in need of a door, drawer, or window.

This workshop really appeals to the more creative side of my bookbinding brain. Randi’s work is insane (in a good way). If you haven’t seen the video of her book Patience, you have to watch it now. It’s insane. If I can get internet access (and I’m not totally exhausted), I’ll be blogging about the conference after each day’s events, just as I did the last time I attended.

2 Responses to “Focus on Book Arts Conference 2013”

By Beth Lee - 22 June 2013 Reply

I’m going to FOBA, for the first time. I’ll be taking Timothy Ely’s sketchbook class the entire time. Really looking forward to it!

By Elissa - 26 June 2013 Reply

Beth –

See you there!


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