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Published by cgermaine
bonefolder, book binding, books as art
bonefolder, book binding, books as art

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: cgermaine on Nov 23, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Volume 3, Number 2, Spring 2007 
Melissa Jay Craig’s That’s Life 
, 2005
The Bonefolder: an e-journal for the bookbinder and book artist 
2Volume 3, Number 2, Spring 2007
Editorial Board:
Publisher & Editor/Reviewer:
Peter D. Verheyen: Bookbinder & Conservator / SpecialCollections Preservation & Digital Access Librarian, SyracuseUniversity Library, Syracuse, NY.
Editors / Reviewers:
Pamela Barrios: Conservator, Brigham Young University,Ore
, UT.Donia Conn: Head of Conservation, NorthwesternUniversity Library, Evanston, IL.Karen Hanmer: Book Artist, Chicago, Il.Chela Metzger: Instructor, Kilgarlin Center for thePreservation of the Cultural Record, School of information,University of Texas at Austin.Don Rash: Fine and edition binder, Plains, PA.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.The Book Arts Web / Philobiblon.com© 2004 The Bonefolder (online) ISSN 1555-6565 
Full information on the
, subscribing,contributing articles, and advertising, can be found at:<http://www.philobiblon.com/bonefolder>To contact the editors, write to:< bonefolder@philobiblon.com>
The masthead design is by Don Rash
Table of Contents
he B onefolder : ane-journal f or the bookbinder and book artist 
Volume 3, Number 2, Spring 2007
Disciplining a Craft
By Clifton Meador
From a talk originally delivered at the November 2006Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts ConferenceThere is more interest in book arts now than ever before:dozens of colleges and art schools offer classes in book arts,and centers of book art have been created in nearly every largecity in America. Opportunities for education in the book artsabound, and it seems as though something significant is changingin the way people talk about the book arts. A discipline isevolving, a conceptual framework for thinking about making books is emerging.How are we building a discipline in book arts?What does it mean for book arts to be a discipline?It is not obvious what the term “book arts” means: it seems todescribe crafts, but it is not self-evident which crafts. In orderto understand what the term means, it seems reasonable to start by looking at where the book arts are transmitted, where peopleform their ideas about what they are doing as they are learninghow to do it. There are two main arenas for the transmission of the book arts in America: one is the informal world of workshopinstruction, usually (but not always) at nonprofit centers for book arts, and the other is formal academic study at a college,art school, or university. There have been book arts classes inthe university much longer than there have been workshops thatteach classes in the book arts. Porter Garnett’s Laboratory Pressat Carnegie Mellon was founded in 1923, for example. Thereare many other examples; for instance, 10 of the 12 residentialcolleges at Yale had letterpress shops for student use and Scrippscollege press has been around since the 1940s. While there havealways been printers and handbinders teaching their crafts,the founding of the Center for Book Arts in New York in 1974marks the beginning of the contemporary period of workshop- based book arts instruction.Since institutions are the places that support and createdisciplines, let’s examine the institutions that teach book arts to better understand what people mean by the term “book arts.The two main arenas are quite different in their approachesto instruction: centers of book art have an interest in bringingin the greatest number of people to support their operationsand therefore develop courses that are clear and attractive toa large number of people. Academic institutions do not havethe same pressure to expand and develop audience and aresubject to entirely different forces that shape programming. Wemight expect academic institutions to frame book arts quitedifferently.First I will examine workshop instruction, and then academicinstitutions.For this examination, I picked three places that are fromgeographically different areas of the country. I will look attheir workshop offerings from fall of 2006, by title and coursedescription. The purpose of this examination is to understandwhat most people mean when they use the term “book arts” andto understand the scope of activity.The Center for Book Arts in New York was the first centerof its kind and it is, without a doubt, one of the field-defininginstitutions. They teach hundreds of workshops a year andoffer multiple levels and sections of workshops in letterpressprinting, binding, paper decoration, printmaking, conservation,calligraphy, and workshops that deal in artists’ book making.For the fall 2006 workshop schedule, they listed 56 differentsections of binding classes, from bookbinding I to boxmakingalong with classes dedicated to specific structures, like long-stitch binding classes, Coptic binding, and leather bound books. They offered 30 sections of printing classes, 22 of whichwere dedicated to letterpress and eight of which coveredprintmaking topics, like Japanese wood block printing. Theytaught six sections of paper decorating classes (suminagashi andmarbling), six sections of calligraphy classes (copperplate scriptto handwriting for books), five sections of conservation classes(including a master class with Gary Frost), and seven classes thatare hard to categorize, like Comic Book Weekend, EditioningMail Art, or Make a Limited Edition Book in a Week, which wasa printing class combined with binding.The Minnesota Center for Book Arts is another large centerfor instruction in the book arts, which also provides studio spacefor artists, publishes a book every year and creates exhibitionprogramming. During fall 2006 they taught eleven sectionsof binding classes, seven sections of letterpress classes, twoprintmaking classes, three sections of paper decorating classes,one papermaking class, a Japanese calligraphy class, and a bookart sampler (three Wednesdays: an introduction to papermaking,printing, and binding). One of the interesting threads in theMCBA’s fall schedule was a group of three classes dedicated tomaking jewelry from left-over bookbinding scraps. MCBA alsooffers classes designed particularly for teachers, usually heldin the summer, which cover binding techniques for teachers,as well as classes on topics designed to help teachers introduce book arts into the classroom. MCBA clearly has primary andsecondary education as part of its mission; they also regularlyoffer classes for families and even preschool children in bookarts topics.The San Francisco Center for the Book is a decade-old vibrantinstitution in the world of workshop instruction, teaching anambitious workshop program and creating interesting exhibition

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