Philly happenings during Standards

City Hall in PhiladelphiaI’m so excited to say that I’ll be attending this year’s Guild of Book Workers Standards of Excellence Seminar! I’m especially excited because the event will bring me to my old stomping grounds, Philadelphia. I went to the University of Pennsylvania for my undergraduate education and I love love love the area.

I’m hoping to make it to two of my favorite food spots – Kamal’s at the Reading Terminal Market and Koch’s Deli, home of the world’s greatest chicken salad sandwich.

Besides eating and attending the seminar, I’ll be checking out some book artsy happenings that are going on during my time in Philly.

Here’s what’s up:

At the Brodsky Gallery at Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk on the University of Pennsylvania campus, is The Word Made Manifest: Text in Handmade Paper. The exhibit was curated by Mary Tasillo of the Common Press and is open now through October 27, 2019. Featured artists include Kerri Cushman, Helen Hiebert, Takeshi Honda, Steven Kostell, Suzanne McLelland, Melanie Mowinski, Christy Rupp, and Mary Tasillo.

The exhibit brings together artists who work with handmade paper as an explicit art form. The pieces in this exhibition feature text, wherein the text is physically part of the piece of paper. Techniques range from watermarking to shaped pages to an array of approaches to stenciling pigmented paper pulp into the sheet of paper while it’s still wet and freshly formed. Experience the word and the page becoming one.

Now through November 30th, the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers is presenting Once Upon a Book at the Free Library in Philadelphia. The exhibit is located at the Parkway Central Library on the 2nd floor outside the Art Department.

Who doesn’t love children’s books? We all have a favorite book that was read to us as a child or one that we read to our own children, or even grandchildren. For some of us, it was the start of a passion for all things book-related. The Delaware Valley Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers wanted to display their love of children’s books by having chapter members rebind, alter, restore, or create from scratch a book intended for children.

Also on view at the Parkway Central Library is The Book as Art: Highlights from the Book Arts Collection. The exhibit is located at the Print and Picture Collection (2nd floor) and is open now through November 30th.

While artists have illustrated books for centuries, an artists’ books is a medium unto itself. Artists’ books draw inspiration from the form or the function of a book to create a piece of artwork. Depending on the artist’s intent, the book may be limited to one copy or could be editioned to make many. These books are often constructed by hand, but may feature mass-produced components. The books on view represent a selection of artists’ books housed in the Print and Picture Collection.

And lastly, you can find Thesaurus: A Book Exchange between Graduates and Faculty of the University of the Arts Book Arts & Printmaking Program at the Parkway Central Library now through November 30th. This exhibition can be found inside cases at the Print and Picture Collection (2nd floor).

In 2004, students and faculty of the University of the Arts embarked on an ambitious collaborative project to create a thirty-run edition of books uniformly sized by height and width. The depth, breadth, form, and subject of each book was as diverse as the student or professor who created it. On view is a sampling of work created by these students and faculty.

The Philadelphia Center for the Book‘s current exhibit, Variations of the Artist Book: Philadelphia Center for the Book Member Exhibition is open how through November 29, 2019. The show is located downtown on the 2nd floor of City Hall.

The Guild of Book Workers‘ exhibit Formation ends its tour at the University of the Arts‘ Hamilton/Arronson Gallery. The exhibit is open now through October 30th. Here’s the curator’s statement:

The theme of “formation” was prompted when I was in Charleston for the 2016 Standards conference, browsing in Blue Bicycle Books. I came across a memoir by the writer Eudora Welty called One Writer’s Beginnings. A portion of the summary on the dust jacket reads, “she sketches her autobiography and tells us how her family and her surroundings contributed to the shaping not only of her personality but of her writing.” Having recently worked on a fine binding that was more autobiographical than I am used to, I had this subject on the brain. And so I started thinking about the formation of personal narratives and histories, how our histories help to inform the work we make as artists.


As I began to talk more openly about the idea of “formation” as a theme, it was clear that this was a word that could be taken in many different directions: biology (the formation of plants), craftsmanship (forming pieces, how we make things), forming ideas, geographies – these are some of the interpretations I have come across. The possibilities really seemed endless, and as entries began rolling in, I saw that members had thought about the theme from angles I hadn’t yet considered. It was a hugely gratifying experience to come up with a concept and then see the many ways that the idea inspired others to create.

The University of the Arts is located at 320 S. Broad Street (NW corner of Broad and Pine Streets).

My agenda’s looking pretty full!

If you know of anything else going on in the Philadelphia area this month, please let me know. I’m always up for cramming another clown in the car. 🙂

So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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