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VT Book Arts Guild “MailB.A.G.” May 2021

2021 May 5

Next Meeting: Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

This month’s meeting will once again be held via Zoom, an online conference program. If you’ve never attended a Zoom meeting before, check out this video – it will go over the basics of how to join a meeting.

Stay safe!

The B.A.G. Board

Text Me!

Text Me logoText is an important consideration when creating a piece, just as imagery, structure, and materials are. Our members often tell us that they struggle with incorporating text in their work.

We’ve heard you!

Our 2021 series of themed meetings – Text Me! – will focus on how to approach text in the book arts.

We’ll look at how to choose text, methods for adding text to the page, and determining where to put it. This month, B.A.G. member Deborah Stuart will lead exercises prompting us to both generate text and create simple book structures

We hope you’ll join us as we journey into the world of text!

Program: Text Me, Part 4 – Putting Our Writing into Our Books with Deborah Stuart

Handmade books by Deborah StuartSometimes a piece of writing needs a book and sometimes a book needs some content. Putting those two thing together can present challenges!

For some of us writing is the easy part – finding the right books to put them in is harder. For some of us bookmaking is the natural skill – finding or creating the words and ideas which will fill the pages is the challenge. Even for those who comfortably do both, having new approaches and ideas can open up different possibilities.

We’ll do some quick writing exercises to give us short written material to use, and then we’ll do several simple folded book structures in which to capture what we’ve written. There will be examples of steps to take to make the text-to-page process easier and less daunting. We’ll take a bit of time to share ideas back and forth about what works well for us so we can learn from one another.

Materials list:

  • Paper on which to write (lined or unlined)
  • Favorite writing pen or pencil
  • Colored marker or crayon
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick or tape
  • 6-8 pages text paper (white or solid color)
  • Favorite line of poetry and/or a favorite quote (preferably printed out, but handwritten would also work)

If you plan to attend the meeting, please contact Elissa so she can send you the Zoom meeting details.

April Meeting Reflections

Erin Sweeney stamping with alphabet stampsAs I went back through the notes I took from the meeting with Erin Sweeney, I was surprised to see how much we learned, not only in technique but also in materials and tools! It was enlightening!

I am pochoiring all the time now, and can’t wait to make some gelli prints using Yupo as my stencils. It was an evening that set off some sparks for me in terms of ideas and fun stuff. I hope it was the same for you.

Thanks, Erin Sweeney, for your enthusiasm and your gift for sharing that with us. Thanks to the B.A.G. board for sending out the ‘text kits’ so we could all follow along, and thanks to everyone who attended.

You can download a copy of Erin’s resource list here.

B.A.G. Library Corner

Bound and Lettered volume 10 number 3Calligraphy artists Jane Ewing, Marijo Carney, Kimberly Dixon, Tina Lee-Cronkhite, Christine Orsolini, and Karen Vosburg showed the “power of words” in their two-year art collaboration for ArtPrize, the world’s largest juried art exhibition.

Their painstaking process is detailed in Bound and Lettered (vol. 10, no. 3) from the preparation of the vellum, through the selection and application of text, to the final exhibition of the piece.

If you have ideas for books to feature or if you have a library book in your possession you’d like to share something from, email Sally at

You can check out and download the article here.

You can also purchase a copy of the issue here.

B.A.G. News

***  We are pleased to announce that B.A.G. will be having an exhibit at the Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild in St. Johnsbury from August 6th to September 18th! This is a great time of year for this exhibit as a lot of tourists are in the area at that time and it’s good to spread our book arts further afield to new parts of the state!

More information will be forthcoming, so please begin thinking of work you would like to exhibit. Work to be displayed on surfaces as well as on walls will be greatly appreciated.

Book Arts News

*** On May 22, the American Bookbinders Museum is presenting a lecture with Samuel Feinstein, Going for the Gold.

Feinstein is a bookbinder and finisher working in Chicago. While the basic tenets of gold finishing have not changed much over the years, approach in terms of design, precision of placement of individual tools, and utilization of different gilding sizes has. In his work Sam aspires to work seamlessly in all styles, historical and modern, to bring to the surface some of the essence of what is inside the covers.

In his presentation, Feinstein will talk about how his traumatic brain injury left him unable to do other work, but introduced him to the world of hand bookbinding, the aspects of bookbinding history that truly inspired him to want to follow this path, and the one binding that set him on his course to want to do fine leather bookbinding and specialize in gold finishing.

In his slides he will demonstrate one of the many approaches to gold finishing that he employs in his work and teaching, as well as the philosophy behind his tooling method.

He will then take a tour through a few of his favorite and most engaging bindings that he has had the opportunity to work on and talk about what went into each one, not all of which have gold as the center of attention.

For more information, visit the American Bookbinders Museum website.

*** The virtual 2021 Focus on Book Arts conference has announced their featured speaker. Tia Blassingame will present Book Arts Futures: Musings on the Future of the Field on Friday, July 16.

A book artist and printmaker exploring the intersection of race, history, and perception, Blassingame often incorporates archival research and her own poetry in her artist’s book projects for nuanced discussions of racism in the United States.

In 2019, Blassingame founded the Book/Print Artist/Scholar of Color collective to bring Book History and Print Culture scholars into conversation and collaboration with Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) book artists, papermakers, curators, letterpress printers, printmakers for building community and support systems.

Blassingame is an Assistant Professor of Book Arts at Scripps College and serves as the Director of Scripps College Press.

Virtual conference registration is free, but space is limited. For more information, visit the FOBA website.

letterpress poster*** The upcoming 2021 Ladies of Letterpress Conference will be held online September 24 – 26 and everyone is welcome.​

They’re currently developing new workshops, talks, and demos covering a wide range of letterpress topics. They’ll continue a few themes that have percolated from last year’s conference but they’d really love to hear from you. What are you curious about? Send them an email or message on Instagram.

Workshops, talks, and demos from around the letterpress world will be announced in the coming weeks. For the latest information, visit the Ladies of Letterpress website.

*** Each year the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center (KBAC) sponsors a non-juried exhibition The Illustrated Accordion, showing in the KBAC Gallery in late spring. Open to all emerging and established artists, this exhibition focuses on books created in the accordion form.

The books in their 13th anniversary exhibit can be viewed online, now through June 18.

For more information, visit the KBAC website.

Stay-at-Home Fun

*** The Jaffe Center for Book Arts is offering Small Paper, Long Accordions with Stephanie Wolff on May 13.

Accordion books are great structures for exhibitions, as content can be revealed all at once without having a viewer handle the work. But large paper can be a challenge to find or to print on. This workshop covers the basic accordion form, methods of using small paper to create long accordions (and the benefits of doing so), along with a handful of ways to join strips of any length together.

We’ll discuss some of the challenges when working with the accordion form, and some work-arounds and opportunities these limitations present. Participants will complete a set of models to serve as inspiration and reference for future projects.

For more information or to register, please email John Cutrone at

*** The Center for Book Arts is offering The Drum Leaf Binding and Its Precedents with Scott McCarney on May 17, 24 & 31.

In this three-session workshop, we will be making three books that are related in their ease and ingenuity of assembly: a Japanese Album, a Japanese Butterfly book, and a Drum-Leaf binding.

​All three books join single folded folios in distinct ways, the Drum-Leaf being a hybrid combination of the Album and Butterfly. All three use a minimum of glue, limiting the amount of moisture introduced to the book block which speeds the binding process considerably. The Drum-Leaf book is cased into an easily assembled quarter-cloth cover with a throw-back spine. Since each page spread is a single folded folio, it allows images to be printed across the gutter with no interruption, making it very popular with printmakers and photographers. Once completed, the book lies flat when opened, making it very popular with viewers.

In session one, we will make a Japanese album and a Japanese butterfly book. We’ll also make covers for these books using the “drumming” technique. In session two, we will “drum” a stack of folded folios to create the book block for the Drum-Leaf binding. in session three, we will make the cover and case-in the Drum-Leaf book block.

For more information or to register, please visit the CBA website.

*** BookArtsLA is offering the Paper Case with Locking Spine with Karen Hanmer on May 19.

The Paper Case with Locking Spine is a good solution when a temporary binding is needed now for a book that will be rebound using a more robust method when time permits. Double folio endsheets are reinforced at the fold, sewn on, and later slit at the head and tail about an inch down through the reinforced fold. The head and tail turn-ins of the case are folded into the slits, locking the text block into the case without adhesive.

The text block can be removed from the case quickly and easily by snipping the threads in the center of each signature. This case is also notable for its interesting fold pattern resulting in envelope-like flaps on the inside at front and rear.

For more information or to register, visit the BookArtsLA website.

*** The San Francisco Center for the Book is offering The Magic of Sewing Cards with Rosae Reeder on May 20 & 27.

The sewing card is a wonderful aid in learning how to master a simple to difficult sewing. Practicing the mechanics of any sewing on a piece of two-dimensional card is tantamount to working on an actual book.

Learn how to prepare and make sewing cards for a few different types of book structures in the first session. Take what you have learned and apply it to making the actual book in the second session. Students will choose which book to make once we have completed several types of sewing cards.

For more information or to register, visit the SFCB website.

*** The Minnesota Center for Book Arts is offering Box Building for Beginners with Erin Maurelli on June 1, 8, 15, & 22.

This workshop is perfect for anyone new to book arts who would like to learn something a little different. Building boxes, with high-density board often called “book board,” is a time-honored tradition within book arts. Hand-built boxes serve many functions, from holding tools to preserving fragile books. Participants will learn the basics of box building while creating two unique boxes with lids.

For more information or to register, visit the MCBA website.

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