Thursday, July 30, 2009

BookFest 2009

Ed Hutchins and Carolyn Chadwick have worked together for many years to promote artists' books. My first encounter with their magic was as an instructor at the Book Arts Jamboree for educators in Cairo, NY in 1999. Ed founded and directed the program and Carolyn helped to keep everything running smoothly. Their most recent collaboration was Beyond Words: Book Fest 2009 at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences in Loveladies, New Jersey. You can find more information at the website including an essay by Miriam Schaer and photographs of the books with links to the artists' websites. I applaud them (and all the others who do the same) for taking the extra effort to share the work with us. There is a rich world of book arts out there and it is an inspiration to be able see virtually what we cannot travel to in person.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Picture Books by E.B. Lewis

I just came across two wonderful books by artist and illustrator E.B. Lewis. In one, he created images that deepen our experience of the Langston Hughes poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers. In This Little Light of Mine, a visual story that illustrates the meaning accompanies the African-American spiritual, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine." Lewis's masterful watercolors convey warmth, depth, and majesty. They speak to the soul and show us how powerful the combination of word and image can be.

You can find out more about his work at his website. Make sure your browser has a wide window open as the navigation is at the far right.

A report on E.B. Lewis's keynote at the New Jersey Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Conference on Tara Lazar's blog.

Picture Books as Inspiration

Whenever you read or hear advice to writers, the one constant piece of advice seems to be: read. For the kind of simple bookmaking I do and advocate, my advice is to read and look at (we are usually working with the visual as well as the written) picture books. I just started taking my own advice and once a week or so visiting a small section of the picture books in the children's room at my local library. The books are filed by author's name. I've been picking a letter and browsing through. I choose whatever catches my eye and seems to fit my mood. I'm interested in what the story is, how it is divided among the pages, the style of the illustrations, and how they're integrated with the text.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Guild of Bookworkers Website

The Guild of Bookworkers has a fabulous new website that will provide hours of exploration, including galleries from six exhibitions (Marking Time, 100th Anniversary Exhibition, In Flight, Best of the Best, Abecedarium, and PaperBound), past journals and newsletters in pdf form, a searchable directory of supplies and services, and more.

Here is a message from GBW President James Reid-Cunningham:
Founded in 1906, the Guild of Book Workers is the only national organization for all of the arts of the book, including bookbinding, conservation, printing, papermaking, calligraphy, marbling and artist's books. The Guild currently has 850 members, both professional and amateur, from all over the country. Our ten regional chapters organize lectures, workshops and exhibitions for our members.

The Guild publishes an annual Journal and a bi-monthly newsletter for members, and we host an annual four-day conference called the Seminar in Standards of Excellence in Hand Bookbinding. Our library has hundreds of monographs and periodicals in the book arts, and these materials are available for loan to our members. We hold triennal juried exhibitions that showcase the artwork of our members, and these exhibitions travel to venues nationwide.

This webpage is the creation of our communications chair, Eric Alstrom, and designer Rich Price. They have done a splendid job of presenting the myriad activities of our 103-year old organization.

Consider joining the organization for access to upcoming members only web features, subscriptions to their newsletters and journals, exhibition opportunities, participation in the annual Seminar on Standards of Excellence in Hand Bookbinding, as well as regional chapter activities.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sijo Stick and Elastic Book

Stick and Elastic Book written directions (web and pdf)

Stick and Elastic Book youtube tutorial

Sijo (shee-jo) is a Korean form of poetry, sometimes called the Korean haiku. The Boston Globe published an article about Harvard's Korea Foundation professor of Korean literature David McCann (who I had the privilege of meeting before my trip to Korea) and his quest to introduce the rest of us to sijo. This month's project is a stick and elastic book to make a home for your sijo poems.

Sijo have 3 lines, each with 14-16 syllables. The first line of the poem introduces the subject, the second line develops it, and the third offers a twist. Because the lines are rather long, they are sometimes written out in six lines. I've taken the liberty of sharing one of the poems from Linda Sue Park's Tap Dancing on The Floor which was featured in an interview on


For someone to read a poem
again, and again, and then,

having lifted it from page
to brain-the easy part-

cradle it on the long trek
from brain all the way to heart

Book 1: The long, narrow shape of the top book lends itself to the three line version. I used 4 pieces of used copy paper with writing on one side folded in half with the writing on the inside for the pages. Instead of an elastic, I used 2 strips cut from a piece of plastic netting on a clementine box and tied them together with a double knot at the top and bottom.

Book 2: This book would be best for the six line variation. I punched the holes along the fold rather than on the pages. The stick is less decorative but the pages will open flat. I used all recycled materials: a plastic piece from a ball point pen for the stick, an elastic from vegetables, used wrapping paper, and used copy paper attached with fruit stickers instead of glue.


Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems)
Linda Sue Park, whose book A Single Shard won the Newbery Medal in 2002, has written a wonderful book of sijo poems for children with an author's note about the history and tips for writing sijo of your own.

School Library Journal Interview with Linda Sue Park Interview with Linda Sue Park

Boston Globe Article about David McCann
Listen to him explain, recite, and sing sijo on page 2.