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Fall Newsletter 2018 Contents Renny Russell featured binding and Artist Statement 
 page 1-2 RMC

Fall Newsletter 2018


Renny Russell featured binding and Artist Statement

page 1-2

RMC Workshops and Events

page 3

Book Arts News

page 3

Upcoming Workshops and Classes

page 4

Current and Upcoming Events and Exhibitions

page 5

Tour of Your Bindery and Interview with owner Luann Wood,

page 7

Binding by Renny Russell

Dear Rocky Mountain Chapter Members, Autumn greetings!

In this issue we return to featuring both member bindings and an interview with an RMC member. On page one and two you’ll see bindings by New Mexico writer/illustrator/ photographer/silversmith/bookbinder Renny Russell, along with his artist statement. He uses his skills in both silversmithing and bookbinding to create captivating bindings with Southwest style artistry.

On page 7 you’ll find an interview with Luann Wood, owner of Your Bindery, a trade finishing bindery in Denver. Your Bindery hosted our last few workshops, including Ethiopian Binding, taught by Karen Hanmer. We are so grateful to have had that wonderful space to hold the workshop. She talks about the work they do in a trade bindery and about the challenges and rewards of owning it.

Also, check out the details on the 2nd triennial competition and exhibition OPEN • SET on page seven. It is a great opportunity to submit your design binding and participate in an outstanding event.


Bindings and Artists Statement: Renny Russell
Bindings and Artists Statement:
Renny Russell
Bindings and Artists Statement: Renny Russell The vintage cast iron tools I acquired spoke volumes about

The vintage cast iron tools I acquired spoke volumes about an era when craft was more important than profit. Nestled in my chair between the 100-year old Jacques Board Shear (with delicate pin-striping!) and the Hickok Job Backer, I imagine their journey. They have been wonderful companions and a true inspiration. Through my studio window to the west the high Savanna desert stretches for 80 miles to the base of the San Juan Mts, and behind my house to the east, the high peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mts. Beckon. A Bookbinders Nirvana!

As a writer, illustrator, and photographer, I have the good fortune to bind my own work. And as a silversmith, it was a natural evolution to inlay bindings with silver, copper, Turquoise, Garnets, Mexican Fire Agate, and Lapis Lazuli. Each binding instructs me. I follow. When finished I’m humbled by the power of the craft. I forget where I am, who I am, as the days pass dream-like.

where I am, who I am, as the days pass dream-like. 
 Invariably when a

Invariably when a binding releases me, I’m rarely content with it— even when acknowledging that perfection is a mirage. I step back, breath, and wait while the next binding incubates. I build a box, line it with my hand dyed silk, and place it on the shelf next to the previous one, and regret that they gather dust.

I appreciate the opportunity to share my work in the Guild’s Fall newsletter and hope that in some small way I can make a contribution to a craft that we must perpetuate as part of a historical continuum. And for all of us, it’s an awesome responsibility to do the best work that we possibly can.

Happy binding!

Renny Russell, Publisher, September 2018

Animist Press & Book Bindery, Questa, NM


RMC Workshops and Events
RMC Workshops and Events

The RMC Denver workshop on Ethiopian Binding with Karen Hanmer took place at Your Bindery (see interview with owner Luann on page 7) on September 8 and 9. Karen was a prepared and skillful teacher that not only guided us all to completed bindings without a rush, she sprinkled us with lots of helpful bookbinding tips and did it with humor and grace. This structure features linked sewing and laced on wooden boards. The leather strip end bands are sewn into the textblock. Some participants had time to decorate their bindings with blind stamping - simply impressing cold metal tools. It’s a strait forward and primitive technique, but yields beautiful results.

and primitive technique, but yields beautiful results. RMC NEWS and UPCOMING EVENTS IN DENVER: Denver area


Denver area RMC members gathered in August to discuss plans for the year ahead and for a work session so that those who signed up for the Ethiopian Binding workshop could practice the sewing

technique involved. During the planning part, it was decided that in early 2019 we will offer a series of classes on cover design techniques. The tentative plan is:

1. Debossing and Embossing on Paper – Kim Hetherington

2. Attached Things - Karen Jones and Richard Pollock-Nelson

3. Inlays and Onlays - Lang Ingalls

Keep a look-out for emails from co-chair Karen Jones regarding details

Book Arts News
Book Arts News

“Almost Endless” - Deborah Horner’s time working with Alicia Bailey and others on Alicia’s installation piece

When I received the group invite Alicia sent out about spending some studio time with her to work on her new piece, “Almost Endless,” I knew I wanted to be involved, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. On the afternoon I helped, three others were also helping. I was amazed when I realized the scope of Alicia’s concept! And by the amount of paper that Alicia had decoratively printed in the past and was using for this project. After Alicia explained the stitching process we were to use to construct the units, we got to work. Then time passed quickly as we all engaged in a combination of ‘art talk’ plus some ‘stitch and bitch’ while we worked. A fascinating aspect of “Almost Endless” at that point was that the


ultimate configuration of the piece was still open-ended. I admired Alicia’s willingness to respond to the constructed materials and installation site at a later time. I couldn’t wait to see “Almost Endless” in the Spark Gallery exhibition, wondering what its final shape and format would be. How would the sense of individual pages play out in the final installation format? And I was not disappointed in seeing the result - wonderful! Submitted by chapter member, Deborah Horner

- wonderful! Submitted by chapter member, Deborah Horner Upcoming Workshops and Classes Colorado 
 Denver Alicia
Upcoming Workshops and Classes
Upcoming Workshops and Classes


Denver Alicia Bailey workshop at Arts Students League of Denver Narrative Treasure Box - November 10, 11 For details:

WORKSHOPS @ BAL (Book Arts Leagues) Variable Length Fold Book with Jeff Becker Sat Nov 3, 1-4pm BAL @ Ewing Farm in Lafayette. In this class we'll make two accordion fold books. The first will be a simple fold book with wrap around cover.With the other variation it's easy to add page after page without changing the dimensions of the book. The structure is a simple one that's quite adaptable. Easy and elegant.


Telluride American Academy of Bookbinding Peter Geraty Parchment Over Boards — November 5 - 9 Construction of a historical 16th century style binding in parchment over boards that is usually done as a “quick” binding, and a modern update that is worked more methodically and is a good basis for fine binding.

The "Other" Tooling Technique — November 12 - 16 Hand-tool books in the least amount of time possible - used for application on fine leather edition work, and for one-of-a-kind leather bindings. Visit for more information and to register or call Katy at 970-728-8649

New Mexico Truth or Consequences Priscilla Spitler, Hands On Bookbinding, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico Upcoming / Fall 2018 Bookbinding Workshops Classes focus on sound structure and use of materials for bookbinding. Casebinding Refined in Leather November 17 & 18 (Saturday & Sunday) $235. includes materials An introduction to leather work on two rounded case bindings.

More Structure for Artists Books December 1 & 2 (Saturday & Sunday) $195, materials included. Two non-adhesive structures ideal for artist books.

Please visit Priscilla’s website for further details on each workshop, and for registration details. Email questions or other inquiries to:

Santa Fe Santa Fe Book Arts Group Workshops available for BAG members

Current & Upcoming Events & Exhibitions Colorado Colorado Springs
Current & Upcoming Events & Exhibitions
Colorado Springs

Binders Keepers: Maker Faire – Binders Keepers will be displaying and demonstrating the craft of bookbinding. Please come see us! Our next meeting is: November 10th, 2-4pm A bookbinder's enthusiasts group that meets every other month at Library 21c, new Creative Space.



OPEN • SET 2020 Registration and Details below and on: It’s time to register for the exciting 2nd triennial competition and exhibition OPEN • SET featuring the work of Russell Maret for the SET category! Deadline to enter: May 1, 2019

and exhibition OPEN • SET featuring the work of Russell Maret for the SET category! Deadline


A Tour of Your Bindery in Denver, CO, and Interview with owner Luann Wood

The Denver area Rocky Mountain Chapter summer workshop on Ethiopian Binding, taught by Karen Hanmer, landed on my birthday weekend. And I have to say, best birthday ever!

The workshop was held at Your Bindery in Denver, owned by Luann Wood, a new member of our chapter. Though trade finishing is her business, she is interested in learning hand binding, and she has attended local RMC gatherings and workshops. Recently, she has hosted bookbinding workshops in her bindery, the latest being Karen Hanmer’s workshop. The space was perfect for the event – a big room with spacious high tables, stools and plenty of space to spread out, a central location with good parking, an eating area and kitchen, and an inspiring setting amid all the bindery equipment and activity.

Luann and her son, Aaron, gave us a tour. Aaron runs the letterpress/die cutting/laser printing business in the same building. We learned about what they do at a trade bindery.

There is a machine that picks up gathers, stacks and stitches with wire “staples” and folds into saddle stitch books; there is a room devoted to case-binding where a gluing machine glues both sides of end sheets and is placed on the book, then is placed in a heat activated “smasher” that nips the book and impresses the hinge groove; there is a shrink wrap area; there is a hydraulic guillotine, and a multiple drill area.

All the machines have names. A German punch machine is “Henry Skids”, and his sister is “Sadie Skids” (since they both live on skids). A pre-gathered book is put in place; a few sheets are kicked in at a time and holes are punched, after which it is taken to “Moby” (short for mobile), where it is hand-hung, crimped, and manually fed a wire coil, one book at a time, from a big roll of coiled wire, then cut.

A separate room housed the PUR Perfect Binding machine. I learned that there are EVA

(Ethylene-vinyl acetate) or PUR methods to perfect binding. PUR (Polyurethane reactive adhesive), though requiring a more expensive process and adhesive, is stronger and far more

flexible, and more able to lay flat than EVA perfect bindings. It is a non-reversible adhesive that

is not affected by heat or cold, and thus, the spine cannot be rounded.

Luann’s son, Aaron, runs his business, KSB Die Cutting, LLC, from the same location. He did hand binding for a while before starting this business. He has huge electric Windmill and Kluge brand letterpress press machines that can do things like die cutting, hot stamping, printing, and embossing, and a couple other machines that do creasing, microperfiing, corner cutting, and index-tab cutting. It is a time-consuming set-up, so he only does big runs. He also has a large laser cutter that can etch into most surfaces. When I visited, he was about to start a job of “debossing” on stainless steel coffee cups.

In addition to Luann’s son, her husband, Curt, and sister, Kristen, also work there as production

managers– truly a family affair. The place is clean, bright, and well organized. Miss Kittycat,

their mascot/brand, is playfully featured on their website.


I was curious about how Luann got into the business and what it is like to run a trade finishing bindery, so I asked her if I could interview her. She agreed, and the interview follows.

Luann interview 10/4/18

P-Thank you, Luann, for agreeing to do this interview.

I love your place. It is so friendly, and such a nice environment. Thank you for having us there for the Rocky Mountain Chapter Ethiopian Binding workshop.

L-It’s been fun having the different classes there. It’s a break away from what we do every day. Getting to know you people has been such a pleasure for myself and Kristen [Luann’s sister]. We enjoy the friendship in this group.

[Luann’s sister]. We enjoy the friendship in this group. P- I like the community of bookbinders.

P- I like the community of bookbinders. I think they are good folks. It has been fun for me to be a part of this world.

When I was at your place, I was excited about seeing all the equipment and all of your work. I feel like I should have gone into something like a trade school, or something that is about making things, instead of going to college. I feel happy in that kind of world.

L-I agree with you. That’s kind of what happened to me. I was pushed to go into accounting. I was supposed to get a degree in accounting management at University of Utah and be a CPA. In taking the classes, it just wasn’t there.

I had a teacher in junior high who was the coordinator for outside print activities, and he

would take a couple of us to local print shops in Salt Lake. I remember the smell of type wash – to this day I love the smell of type wash.

P-Maybe that junior high visit had something to do with how you got here. But you wouldn’t have known it at the time.

L-I had no clue. That was back in the late 60’s. We didn’t go into any of the big places. They were just small family-run shops. I guess at that point it made an impression in some way. Here

I am at a family-run business.

P-Did you go ahead and get an accounting degree?

L-No, I married my high school college sweetheart and thought being a stay-at-home mom was going to be my future. And being raised Mormon, that is what Mormon girls were supposed to do. It didn’t work out, so we got divorced. My mom’s family had moved to Colorado, so when I got divorced I came to Colorado. I truly liked Denver. I got into print. I was in in-plant printing for a few years, and I was a partner in a union print shop for a couple years. I ended up staying friends with my ex-business partner when I left the partnership. He sold the print shop

to a plumber and the print shop is doing really well now. After he sold the print shop he came to work for me here in the bindery until he finally retired.

P-How did you get your business started? Did your past work experience prepare you to take off on your own?

L- I thought I did at the time. I felt that I had enough experience. I did pre-press in print. I ran the presses. The two shops that I worked in were small enough that I learned all of the different

facets, so I felt confident enough that I could run a bindery. I like running a press to a point, but

I actually really like the assembly of the finished piece.

When I left the partnership, I told my partner that I wouldn’t compete against him in printing. I like to do binding. He thought that was great.

I was really nervous. We started in 1986, 32 years ago yesterday. Curt [her husband] and I had

a two-car garage, and we decided that we’d finish off our garage and that is where we would start and see if it would work out. We were in our garage for three years. We bought a collator,

a small cutter, a drill, folder, and worked that for three years and then decided, this is a point when we are going to move out and pay rent. That was scary. Since then, every few years we look at the services and what the printers are doing in Denver and add services. It has grown. We’ve been here [in current space] for 11 years.

I met Curt when I was still in print. He was an auto mechanic. I was a printer. In the 80’s I

ended up working for my grandparents, who sold offset printing equipment. I was an office manager. When they did installations in small presses I would go out and train the new equipment owners how to run an AB Dick, or what my grandfather sold, which was called a Davidson. When we built the garage, I quit my day job working for my grandparents to do the bindery work full time. He was doing mechanics during the day, and at night he would come in and help me. It got to the point that we decided that the bindery was strong enough, financially, to support our family. He quit his day job and I taught him how to do bindery work. He is one of the production managers. So is Kristen.

P- And your son, Aaron, works there doing letterpress. His letterpress equipment is very different than what I’ve seen before. His machines are so big and do so many things. What do you call what he does?

L-He still calls it letterpress. He does everything that can be done on a letterpress. He prints; he die cuts. He really enjoys what he does too, If he didn’t have to support his family, he would do some really creative things.

P- Is it difficult to find people to service your equipment?

L- Clint, the man who used to service our equipment, recently passed away. His loss is a great loss to the Denver area for equipment repair. Curt is really good, being an ex-mechanic. We had to reach out to a company in California. It’s not as easy as it once was. We used to call Clint anytime and he was right there, even on weekends. The whole community is experiencing that great loss. We made friends with a maintenance man in Commerce City and still have a

friendship there, thank goodness. We still have a support system going. It’s not as easy as a phone call anymore.

P-What are some of the other challenges of running your business?

L-The technology of digital print has really changed our world, though we have been able to work with the digital printed pieces. That, and the digital print, has also changed the volume of work for binderies in the Denver area. When our orders used to be many thousands, with digital, you could do a few hundred and not have to buy all that paper or worry about storage. It’s more of an on-demand world that has come about. Some of the big companies like Vistaprint are really big corporations and people can get things really cheap. They’ve cut into the print market in Denver. Those have been our challenges. Even competing against Mexico and China. People say they can get things for cheaper overseas.

P-How do you deal with that?

things for cheaper overseas. P-How do you deal with that? L-We’ve been doing perfect binding for

L-We’ve been doing perfect binding for 20 years. We first started out doing small folding and then bought larger folders so we could do bigger jobs and a bigger variety of folds. We bought equipment to do high speed punching for calendars where before we just had tabletop pieces of equipment. Also, we’ve purchased machines to do more volume faster instead of a lot of hand-labor work, so we can compete in the market. We’ve added the service of the short-run hardbound books. We’ve been doing that for the last five years. I’m trying to build that up more. Aaron added the laser die cutter. He did some invitations the other day for a Children’s Hospital big event where he lasered their logo, a child with balloons.

Another challenge for us is the work force, as I think it is for everybody. It’s changed over the years. Most of our people are 30 [year-olds] and above. They have more of an attitude of caring about their product. They are proud of what they produce. In the last 5-7 years, some of the people we hire are just there to collect a paycheck. I have a feeling that there isn’t a lot of self-pride in the younger people.

Aaron next to the laser die cutter

P- Do most printing places do finishing in their own shops these days?

L-That is another challenge for us. There has been the attitude that the print shop can have the added value and do more of all of the services for their customers in their location, but my counter comment to that is that I’ve already invested in the capital equipment; I have the experience, the expertise.

P-It’s hassle-free.


L-I like that one. It’s hassle-free. We stay in touch. We communicate with the production managers and the estimators really well to keep them informed as to the status of their job and let them know if we see any glitches. We’re helping them with their quality control. We would like them to keep that customer. That helps with them sending work back to us again and again.

P-Quality and kind service is worth so much.

L-That is what we really try to stress. Most of my customers feel that way. That is why we are here 32 years later, by giving them that attention to their project.

P-What do you love about your job?

L-I like the people contact. Curt and Kristen both get people contact, but I am usually the first person that is the initial contact. I like that. I like solving the different puzzles for bindery, coming up with solutions and sharing some of the different solutions for solving a bindery problem or what might be a problem to save the printer money and time. And I get to meet people like you.

P-Thank you. And now you’re branching out and having some binding classes in your space.

L-I really like putting the classes in there. Richard [Pollock-Nelson-RMC member] was having paper cut by my competitor a couple years ago. He came to us because we also fold and they can’t fold. We cut his paper and automatically folded the signatures for him and that started a conversation with him. He brought in some of his cigar journals he’s done over the years, and it just clicked an interest that way. [He is teaching bookbinding classes there now.]

P-That’s great, and this space is fabulous!

L-It is great. Kristen was asking when we are going to have another class. I think they will start again in January.

P- I like your mascot cat on your website. How did that come about?

L-Oh, Kitty Cat. We didn’t always have the kitty cat as a brand identification. We changed over from traditional EVA glue to the polyurethane glue [for perfect binding]. We name our machines, so with the PUR-fect binding machine we just jokingly said that it is purrrfect binding and decided to call it Miss Kitty. Someone brought in a stuffed animal kitty and we had that on top, and then several years ago our flyer was designed with a kitty on it. It just clicked, and since then we have been using Miss Kitty as a brand advertising tool. Now, when people

see advertising that has a kitty, people say they know it is us. We pat ourselves on the back. Nobody else has got Miss Kitty.

P-It’s playful and fun. Thank you, Luan, for sharing your story with me.


The Rocky Mountain Chapter blogsite, , includes a member page http:// and calendar calendar.html ). If you would like your contact information included or updated on the member page,, please send information to

If you have a picture of your book-work that you would like us to feature in the next issue, please send it to by January 15, 2019. Also, please send articles, tips, and book related news and event information to by January 15, 2019, so they can be added to the next newsletter that comes out February 1, 2019.

Warm Regards, Pamela Train Leutz, Communications Coordinator