Too many things to say this week! I have broken it down into list form for your perusal and approval:
WHO WANTS TO COME TO THE WELLS BOOK ARTS SUMMER INSTITUTE?
Lemme tell you something. The Wells Book Arts Center in Aurora, New York is AWESOME. How many Vandercooks do you think it has? How many? SEVEN. That’s how many. How many binderies do you think it has? Yeah, I said BINDERIES. TWO. Looking for a scriptorium? Look no further, there’s one right here. What’s that? You want to play with Victor Hammer’s Iron Hand Press? Step into the press room. No not THAT pressroom, this one over here. The one with the astonishing WOOD TYPE COLLECTION. Come and play with all of us in Book Arts Heaven at the Wells Book Arts Summer Institute! It’s dope.
Things to do:
1. Swim in the calm, clear waters of Lake Cayuga, just across the road.
2. Join current Wells College Victor Hammer Fellow Katie Baldwin and former Victor Hammer Fellow Yours Truly as we try to crack the locked safe in the basement. (WHAT IS IN THERE??? We must find out.) Below: Katie Baldwin and Denise Bookwalter in the midst of last year’s failed safe-cracking attempt. Take note, everyone: apparently, you can’t break into a safe just by taking off the hinges. Who knew? We are obviously terrible at safe cracking and could use some help.
3. Take a week-long course with a friendly book arts know-it-all. Courses on offer this year? Learn the fine art of Mokuhanga woodblock printing or print a chapbook of poetry with Katie Baldwin! Delve into experimental calligraphy with Nancy Culmone! See how to combine wood type and digital experiments all on the Iron Hand Press with Tricia Treacy! Dig into leather binding with Margot Ecke! Cast lead type in Michael Bixler’s glorious type foundry (astonishing value here, everyone! Leave with type!) Make artist’s books with the master: Robin Price! And finally, box making with me me me!
4. Have a negroni or a martini or just a good, solid finger lakes beer after a day’s hard work making books and learning amazing new things. *Clink* is the sound of me toasting David Marshall, the friendly Institute bartender.
5. Eat the best ice cream in Upstate New York just a mile down the road at Cream at the Top.
6. If you are lucky, you might even get someone to explain the Kardashians to you (thanks, Caroline!)
The Wells Summer Institute is one of my favorite things, no joke, and I can’t wait to come back. Maybe you want to come too? You can read the trials and tribulations of last year’s artist book participants here and here and here and here and about my own joyful week studying with Daniel Kelm here. Or read my recent interview on the Wells Book Arts Center blog.
To get more information check out the online brochure. To talk to a friendly person about the institute, or to enroll, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Wells Book Arts Center at 315-364-3420. Trust me, it’s worth it.
GREATEST BOOK EXHIBITION ON EARTH, RIGHT NOW AT PHOENIX BRIGHTON
Ben Thomson’s incredible exhibition design at Phoenix Brighton‘s Press and Release has transformed the gallery into the best artists’ book exhibition on earth. Books are presented in custom-designed displays that do all but beg for you to handle them. Look, my books are all inside recessed cubbies in a special little room! I just want to LIVE in there, but I fear that may be impractical (and maybe just a little self absorbed.)
People inside my little room, outside view:
People inside my little room: inside view:
That’s it. This is the pinnacle. I have a tiny room and there’s nowhere else to go.
Every station in the gallery had some new way to interact with books.
Here are books on strings:
Books as an altar (complete with kneeling cushions)
Books in special viewing troughs:
Books inside of strange contamination/interaction boxes:
Books can be so difficult to display. It can be hard to convince people that it is ok to handle them, and those exhibitions that do not allow for touching (often for unavoidable reasons such as insurance or access issues) force us to glean the content of a book from one open spread, cut off from sequential and narrative forces that remain inaccessible. Here we have displays that not only encourage interaction with the work, but make the act of doing so delightful. Three cheers for Ben!
The photos above illustrate only a few of the wonders on view, there were books on the walls, books on tables, books on stands with built in chairs, even a box with a dozen or so holes drilled in it with a book inside only possible to view with a flashlight as you press your face against the wood and peek in. I’ll come back to this post later and fill in the names of the artists after I spend a little more time at the gallery. If you live in Brighton or near Brighton or even within a hundred miles of this exhibition, do yourself a favor and come have a look. Here is a map. It is wonderful.
LOOK AT THIS SHOCKINGLY SPACE EFFICIENT BOOKBINDING PRESS
From the website:
The Fragkioudakis family in Greece who run Omnia Libris have been making bookbinding press’s & equipment for three generations, the whole family, including the grandfather are involved in bookbinding in some way or another. They spent two years developing a unique bookbinding press, the Omnia Libris 7 in 1 book binding press. A patented design, Ideal if you are pushed for space, where space is at a premium, and don’t have room for a full compliment of bookbinding equipment. . .It combines 7 essential items of bookbinding equipment, made to very high standards.
It’s worth clicking and reading all about this press, if only to satisfy that urge to sneak into houseboats or camper vans to see how all the space is divided up. Anyone have a spare £1960 plus shipping and VAT? Oops looks like Omnia Libris is not longer exporting this item. Perhaps because they blew too many minds and are now under arrest. (Thanks for sending me this link, Abi.)
HEY I WON A PRIZE!
Thanks Alicia Bailey of the Abecedarian Gallery and Mary Murphy of the Savannah College of Art and Design! Fond, a book I produced in 2012 (and that I have written exhaustively about on this blog) has been awarded the Juror Choice Purchase Award at the annual Artists’ Book Cornucopia Show. Hot Damn! A lovely review of the book can be found here.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE GREAT FOAM CHALLENGE!
Friends, Binders, Artists, Let us not forget The Great Foam Challenge! I am extending the deadline to June 1st to try and wheedle a few more images. Come on, you KNOW you want to try it! No foam on hand? A recent tip has come in regarding the successful use of big car wash sponges. Prizes! Glory! The satisfaction of trying a weird new thing! Send your photos to me at sarahherrickbryant[at]gmail.com.
That’s it folks! whew!