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Spring 2020

News from the Chapter Chair

Like all of you, I am sequestered at home during the COVID-19 pan-
demic. Though I still have plenty of work that I can do for my job and have
been tackling a writing assignment, I also keep myself busy by making
things. I like making all kinds of things and for me it has been the key to
staying calm. I enjoy knitting, spinning, sewing, cooking, and of course,
bookbinding. All these activities have been a distraction and a comfort. When
I’m not sewing masks for my neighbors, I have been honing my bookbinding
skills and teaching myself some new structures.
The GBW has met this need for bookbinding instruction by generous-
ly offering to waive the fees for the Standards videos on Vimeo. Such a great
idea, and as of this writing, 3,827 videos have been rented and watched 5,629
times! And speaking of digital resources, by the time you read this, the DVC In this issue
will have offered its first online workshop, taught by Rosae Reeder. Like
many of our members who teach bookbinding, Rosae had to learn how to p.2-4 Standards of Excellence
p.5 Once Upon a Book review
teach it online. No small feat! We are happy that we could offer this to DVC p.6 My Favorite Tool & Six
members free of charge. Questions
Though we have had to cancel two workshops, we are still making p.7 Valentine Exchange
plans for future chapter activities and are starting another DVC collaborative p.8 Member News, Bowling,
project. Now seems like a good time to do this, and since our relationship & Upcoming workshop
with food has taken on new significance of late and baking has regained p.9 Let’s Eat Cake! A New
DVC Collaboration
some popularity, we thought a food-related collaboration would be interest- p.10-11 Medieval Slinky —
ing. I won’t give it away – look for the details in this newsletter! Karen Hanmer
We held an officers meeting on Zoom recently and since none of us P. 12 Zoom! Live workshop
had much else going on, everybody was able to attend. I don’t think I was
ever so happy to see everyone’s smiling faces. It made me realize what a
Chapter Officers
sense of community we get from our chapter and how important this is, espe-
cially now. Jennifer Rosner
Chapter Chair & Workshop
Hang in there everyone! Stay safe and healthy. Coordinator
Jennifer Rosner Alice Austin
Vice Chair
Lisa Scarpello
The Guild of Book Workers promotes interest in and awareness of the tradition of Treasurer
the book and paper arts by maintaining high standards of workmanship, hosting ed- Rosae Reeder
ucational opportunities, and sponsoring exhibits. Secretary
The Delaware Valley Chapter–one of ten chapters in the US–is located in the Ruth Scott Blackson
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware tri-state area with activities centered in Kristin Balmer
Philadelphia. Our diverse membership includes book artists, book conservators, fine Exhibition Co-chairs
Valeria Kremser
binders, calligraphers, librarians, paper marblers, teachers, photographers, printmak- Webmaster
ers, and graphic designers. Sophia Dahab
The Delaware Valley Chapter offers a newsletter, workshops, lectures, exhibition Newsletter Editor
opportunities, tours, and social events. Membership is open to all interested persons Karen Lightner
and includes professionals, amateurs, and students. Newsletter Designer
Our website is:
Pressing Matter Spring 2020 p. 1
I am so happy to report that the 2019 Standards of Excellence
Seminar, held here in Philadelphia for the first time in 34 years,
was a complete and total success! Everything came off without a
hitch and I am so proud of our chapter and the good time that we
showed to GBW members here in Philly. SO MANY people told
me how much they were enjoying the conference and their visit
to Philadelphia. And every time heard this, I was happy to say
that I have an awesome team working with me and that I could
not have done it without them. I sent an email out to all of those
who helped (I sincerely hope I got everyone) and I would like to
share the gist of it with all of you. So here are some acknowl-
edgements and thanks. It's long, I know. But it has to be:

Kristin Balmer, Val Kremser, and Lisa Scarpello were on our

"Standards Team" and worked all of 2019 planning the confer-
ence. We suggested the hotel, designed the logo, planned the
tours, came up with ideas for SWAG, and planned the opening
reception. No small task! But actually, lots of fun. What a team!

One of the biggest challenges was to bring Formation to Phila-

delphia. Rosae Reeder was instrumental in making the deal and
securing a gallery at UArts. The exhibit arrived in crates in Sep-
tember and Rosae, Mary Phelan and Lisa Scarpello did the en-
tire installation. We should give them special thanks because the
gallery installer had a broken arm so this team stepped it up and
did it all! Kudos to Lisa for her oversight of the reception. That
was such a wonderful event. Great food, good beer, a wonderful

Also, there was the DVC children's book exhibit, and several oth-
er exhibits for the tour at the Free Library. Chris
Brown spearheaded all of this, installing 4 exhibits in a very
short period - all this with a broken ankle. (What was with all the
broken bones? An odd coincidence, for sure.)

SWAG! We had lots of fun making our special DVC swag. We

made buttons and magnets in a special Philly-themed package, a
handmade information booklet, and packed it all up with some
tasty Pennsylvania chocolates. A bunch of us got together and
had fun stuffing the bags the weekend before the conference.
Many people helped with the swag and I accidentally tossed my
lists of button-makers and bag stuffers, but many thanks to all of
you who helped! I would especially like to thank Sharon Hilde-
brand and Val Kremser for loaning us their button machines
and Jon Snyder, who very kindly came by with his station wag-
on and delivered the 200 bags to the hotel. Swag creating and bag stuffing parties

Pressing Matter Spring 2020 p. 2

And then we had to make sure that every conference attendee got their
bag! I want to thank all the people who covered the registration ta-
ble. And I am including in this list those who were scheduled to cover
but were released from that duty since by Friday morning everyone had
registered. I still appreciate that you offered! They are: Karen Light-
ner, Alice Austin, Sophy DiPinto, Rosae Reeder, Ruth Scott Black-
son, Henry Blanco White, Lisa Scarpello, Andrea Krupp, Denise
Carbone, Sharon Fickeissen, Coleen Curry, Lang Ingalls, Meg Ken-
nedy, Frances Osugi, Amber Hares, Rebecca Smyrl, Richard
Homer, Sophia Dahab, and Carol Caswell.

The tours had a lot of moving parts and there were many people working Kislak Center at UPenn
behind the scenes to make them a success. Alice Austin and Andrea
Krupp kept everyone on track for the tours to the new Charles Library
at Temple and the Wagner Free Institute. James Engelbart and Eriko
Takahashi led a group up the Ben Franklin Parkway to the Free Library
with Eriko giving great tour guide commentary along the way! Once
they got there Chris and James lead one group around and Eriko led
the other. A whole bunch of volunteers led a group on the subway over
to Penn for a tour: Val Kremser, Kristin Balmer, Eriko Takahashi,
James Engelbart, and Stephanie Westerland. I especially appreciate
that some of them offered to help at the very last minute to make sure
that everyone got on and off the subway safely.

There were also people who helped the presenters: Alice, Andrea, and
Kristin sat up front and did all kinds of behind-the-scenes tasks to help Elkins Room in Rare Books at FLP
our presenters. Beth Curren brought her tiny etching press from Wash-
ington, DC so that Rebecca had one for her nature printing demonstra-

And lastly, I want to thank all of you who cheered me on as I received

the Laura Young Award. Being the center of attention is not fun for me,
but it helped so much to have all those familiar faces out there! It was
such an honor and it couldn't have happened in a better place- right here,
at home, in Philadelphia.

Jennifer Rosner

Artists’ Books in PIX at FLP

Opening reception at UArts. Viewing Formation at Uarts. Viewing Once Upon A Book at FLP
Pressing Matter Spring 2020 p. 3
Andrew Huot, Hedi Kyle & Kristin Balmer, Val Kremser &
The vendor room
Rosae Reeder Eriko Takahashi

MP Brogan Julia Miller & Rebecca Chamlee

her historic codex models

Don Glaister & Peter Geraty James Engelbart & Brien Beidler & Bexx Caswell-Olson
Eriko Takahashi
Snapshots from Standards. Thanks to Eriko Takahashi, Val Kremser, Jennifer Rosner and Karen Lightner for the photos.

DVC members were very happy that Jennifer Rosner was

awarded the Laura Young Award at the 2019 Standards of
Excellence conference. Jennifer has been an active member
of the Guild for at least 33 years! In 1986 she organized
Standards here in Philly. For a long time she served as treas-
urer for our chapter, and for the past 11 years has been an
inspiring chapter chair. She has increased membership from
22 to 86 and has instituted many great activities for our
members. That’s just a little of what she has contributed -
she is valued by all our Delaware Valley Chapter members!

Pressing Matter Spring 2020 p. 4

Review of Once Upon A Book
Lisa G Scarpello

Once upon a time in a land called Philadelphia, Jennifer Ros-

ner cast a magic spell over 24 artists from near and far, to create
books for an Exhibition to be held at the Grand and Magnificent
Free Library of Philadelphia. These books were extraordinary
creations showing the versatility and skill of the artists, who
were all members of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Guild
of Book Workers.
And poof! On October 1, 2020, books with magic doors,
beasts, alligators, and dark coal mines appeared all around. Prin-
cess Polka Dot, Maidens and Knights from faraway lands, all
came to visit this enchanted place filled with children’s draw-
ings. There was a Magical Coloring Book and a Tunnel Book Thomas Parker and Mary Agnes Williams
through Venice, Italy. Star Books from the Ocean rose from the
water and a Pirate Mother safely sailed them back to Philadelph-
On Thursday, November 21st, Goldiloco announced a party of
much festivity and happiness, and as the clock on the 2 nd floor of
the Free Library tolled from 5-7pm that evening, the Marbled
Book came to life and swirled around on her book covers.
But sadly, come November 29th, the magic spell had to end
and the Happy Doll quietly wept. The Musical Book for Singing
went silent and all of the glorious books had to return to their
artists. But! Bradel the Bindery Cat had hidden away a little bit
of magic in his awl and you can visit all of the enchanted books
here, on the website of the DVC, where they lived happily ever
Photos of all the books in the exhibition can be seen at: https://dvc-

Lisa Scarpello

Paige Billin-Frye Kristin Balmer

Pressing Matter Spring 2020 p. 5

My Favorite Tool — Jennifer Rosner
My favorite tool is not one that I use all the time, but rather one
that is a sentimental favorite. It’s my very first bone folder that I
bought at Taws (remember them?) in 1976. Though the bone
folder briefly left me for another bookbinder – one much less ex-
perienced, I might add – I still love it very much. Here’s the sto-
Back in the late 1980s when I was teaching bookbinding at
UArts, I would tell the students during the first class of the semes-
ter that I would like to be generous, but they were not allowed to
use my tools. The reason was that I needed them to teach the
class! It seems that one of the students must have had a desperate
need of a bone folder, because at some point it went missing. And
though I mentioned this to the students, no one seemed to have it.
Two years went by. One day I was teaching a class when one of my former students came by and said
“Oh! I have something of yours!” She went off for a bit and when she returned, she had my bone folder! I
don’t think she ever meant to keep or even realized how much that thing meant to me, so I just let her know
how grateful I was to have it back. I scratched a big “J” on the bone folder, which now that I think of it, will
be of no use to anyone who is trying to find its owner. But that doesn’t matter, because this bone folder
never leaves my house and it never will.
Six Questions — Julie Stewart
1. How long have you been a member of the GBW?
I joined the GBW in October 2019, just after I moved back to
Philly. Chris Brown told me about it and about the artist book
exhibits (and valentines) at the Central Library and City Hall. I
felt it was Fate, to be welcomed back thusly to Philly.
2. Where are you from originally?
I have lived in Philly since 1976 and adopted it as my hometown
because I'd moved around from DC to Flint to Evanston to subur-
ban NYC as a kid. I returned to Philly last fall after living in Ann
Arbor, Michigan for 6 years.
3. When did you realize you wanted to learn bookbinding?
I was part of a creativity group in Ann Arbor where the assignments
were open-ended and you could work in any media. I found I kept
making bookish things to complete my homework. Then I bought a
bookmaking kit from Hollanders in Ann Arbor, made my first Coptic
stitch book, and was hooked!
4. What is your favorite book structure these days?
I'm very much a beginner so the simpler the better. I like accordion
books and books bound with Coptic stitch.
5. What are you working on right now?
An accordion book called Exit/Enter/Everywhere about my transition
from life in Ann Arbor and back to Philly, things lost and gained, and
what is constant, no matter where I am.
6. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.
I love to sing, and I once sang a parody of "My Favorite Things" on
NPR's "All Things Considered" as part of the New Year's Eve show for I went to Egypt in February 2020!
1990. My very own 3 minutes of national exposure.

Pressing Matter Spring 2020 p. 6

Valentine Exchange 2020
A happy zoom-on-by treat, a kitty cat in the driver’s seat!
Behold the eye of love! Blooming yellow daisy among zigzag crazy.
A little look at a tiny book, a stabbed heart spine stays in line.
Red hearts sparkle three, stripped sewing indeed! Love is all you need.
Muscled water-god, quench our hearts desire, sandals included but not required.
Banner shouts the truth! Radiating from a red heart, the origin of all needs is love.
Pictograph of affection, my heart returns the emotion, no longer fearing rejection.
Heart flowers of pretty papers, a gardener’s delightful harvest of affection.
Flirty fox, vivacious vixen, crafty canidae whispering a message of care.
Heart-shaped loss, don’t despair! Find it in the empty air.
Please set me free, I don’t want to be without Blake or thee.
Bold eagle! Armed with brush and palette, paint me a heart sequel.
Sugary treats accompany a safety pinned message; don’t mix sex and love.
Oh no! Woe is Poe! Thumping evidence pops up, lo!
Love to hold my place between the pages, perhaps for ages.
Comic valentine, loves innuendo cuts to the chase, pasted in place.
Purse of pink pleated pockets open and aim an arrow at amore.
Circle of affection, I open to a memo of reflection.
All I need is sun, because I have love waiting to shine.
Accordion book sends beautiful balloon up, up in the air!
How can I resist this heart? Part the red wash, crayon art.
A downpour of affection, a multitude of appreciations, an array of adoration.
Pleasant peacock loves spending hours with the flowers.

Kristin Balmer

Pressing Matter Spring 2020 p. 7

To the Garden: works on paper by Alice Austin. This ex-
hibit shares original artwork and books inspired by the
artist’s urban community garden, Bel Arbor, and the his-
tory that lies beneath the surface. On view until Septem-
ber 18th at the McLean Library at the Pennsylvania Horti-
cultural Society, 100 N. 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA
19103-1495. Opening reception Thursday, July 16th.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of its publication,

Karen Hanmer formatted Agatha Christie’s first published
novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, into twelve signa-
tures. This novel first introduced the mustachioed Belgian
Detective Hercule Poirot and his associate Captain Arthur
Hastings. The PDFs are available to download on her
The Annual Bookbinders, Beer and Bowling — 1/15/20 gallery=newwork&p=Styles_download


with Erin Fletcher
July 18 & 19, 2020
(We are hoping to run this workshop barring any
Covid-19 restrictions)

Embroidery has been used as a decorative tech-

nique on bindings for centuries. Today, embroi-
dery as a decorative technique is seeing a revival
in contemporary design bindings and artist
books. In this workshop, students will learn a few
basic embroidery techniques that are best for dec-
orating leather. Students will use these tech-
niques to design and embroider a simple cover
for a miniature blank book.

Erin Fletcher was introduced to the craft of

bookbinding under the instruction of Susannah
Kite Strang during her studies at The School of
the Art Institute of Chicago. Erin was traditional-
ly trained in historical and contemporary binding
techniques from the North Bennet Street School.
In 2012, Erin opened Herringbone Bindery,
providing hand bookbinding, box-making and
basic conservation for various clients and institu-

Pressing Matter Spring 2020 p. 8

Let’s Eat Cake
A Delaware Valley Chapter Collaborative Project and Exhibition
The idea for this project came during a visit to view the collection at The German Society of
Pennsylvania. They have a wonderful assortment of recipe books with beautiful illustrations.
Our collaborative project will be a “cookbook” of cakes. Each participant will be asked to
make an edition of pages that responds to the theme of ‘Cake’. It can be a recipe that’s been
in your family for generations, a favorite cake, imagery relating to ‘cake’, or it can be an im-
agined cake.
As is usual with our collaborative projects, we first need to determine how many members
want to participate. Once we know that number, we will ask everyone to make an edition of
that number of pages. Then we will exchange the pages with each other, and everyone will
bind or box their pages. The schedule is as follows:
Commit by May 15, 2020 at
Completed pages due - September 18th
Collation party - TBD
Finished binding - November/December
Exhibition at the German Society – Early 2021

Questions? Ask

Pressing Matter Spring 2020 p. 9

Karen Hanmer

I’ve had a hard time lately focusing on the some of the more pressing tasks in the bindery. Instead, I’ve been
doing some “comfort binding” inspired by my entry for the GBW DVC Encyclopedia Britannica Project.
Scholarly Slinky was a binding stripped down to its ancient, elemental structure: paper, linen, wood. Packed
sewing on double cords and basic medieval bead on the spine endbands produced a binding that was strong,
flexible, and sculptural. My volume of the encyclopedia yielded enough paper to make a binding a little over 6
inches wide.

I wanted to make an even wider binding to really showcase the strength and support of this sewing structure.
One entire plus about a third of a second Random House Unabridged Dictionary yielded enough paper for Un-
abridged, which is 15 inches wide. I’ve also made smaller bindings with a friend to see how much sewing
someone might be able to complete if limited to a workshop weekend (about 4.5 inches, depending on skill lev-
el); and the pair Supported and Unsupported, one sewn like the others mentioned above and the other a chain
linking stitch with Coptic endbands. This pair uses one unabridged dictionary apiece, and each binding is about
12 inches wide.

I’ve been asked to teach a workshop on this binding later this year. The structure is quite basic, but I’ve come
up with some tips to make it more functional and elegant, and its construction more efficient:

Text block prep

I’m using dictionaries for these bindings. It looks more interesting than blank paper, and a used unabridged dic-
tionary can be acquired online for less than $10 with shipping. I’m using thick sections to manage swell. The
dictionary paper is thin and strong, yet I’m still able to punch an awl through dense sections without much
trouble. It was prohibitively challenging to punch sections of the same thickness of new paper, even 60# text.

Test carefully for grain direction before cutting down a dictionary. The paper in most of the books I’ve repur-
posed is short grain, but one College Edition was long grain. To cut the dictionaries down, I remove the case,
clean off the old spine lining, stand the book up at the tail on the bench and slice through the spine into roughly
half inch chunks, then guillotine those to size. (continued on p. 11)

Pressing Matter Spring 2020 p. 10

Comfort Binding: The Medieval Slinky (cont)

My sections are about 20 sheets of paper. It took too long to count these out, and then I found that this was
about the same thickness as a piece of 60 pt board, so I now use that as a guide instead of counting.

When marking up, keep the kettle stitches well away from both head and tail, as a portion of the spine will be
cut away here to accommodate the endbands. A corresponding cut is required from the spine edge of the wood

Since the signatures are thick, there is a lot of creep at the fore edges. I’ve experimented with trimming the
sections before sewing. The text block still never lines up anywhere near brick-like at the fore edge, but the
sewn text block is too unwieldy to trim after sewing, so this is the only opportunity for trimming.

I add hooked endsheets of parchment to the first and last sections. A budget option is Pergamenata Parchment
Paper, 230 gsm. It keeps the first and last few pages safe during the binding process.

The thread size will also manage swell, but don’t go too thin since there will be no covering or spine linings to
supplement the sewing. I have used #18/3 and also some very strong #16/2 linen intended for weaving
(Bockens brand made in Sweden, availa-
ble in many online stores). These bind-
ings use a lot of thread, and the 16/2
comes in spools of 600+ yards.

I’ve been making my own cords with

the same thread I use for sewing. This
camouflages any less than perfect
packed sewing, and does not limit my
color choice to the usual white/beige

Keep the cords taut but not stretched on

the sewing frame. Pack the sewing tight-
ly, but don’t force too many wraps. You
will want to avoid creating an unnatural-
ly concave or convex spine.

I sew double kettles, first linking down

two sections, then linking down one be-
fore entering the new section. This
keeps the chain of kettle stitches from looking anemic compared to the robust packed sewing along the cords. I
did not do this in Scholarly Slinky, and wish I had.

Lacing on
If I’m vigilant about managing swell through my choice of materials and while sewing, there is no problematic
shoulder. To help keep the boards from flopping open far from the text block, I lace the cords (including end-
band supports), through diagonal holes in the board edge. The cords exit on the outside of the boards, then lace
to the inside through a second set of holes. The cords sit flush with the face of the boards in shallow channels
between the holes made with a sharp chisel (inexpensive hardware store chisels often do not come sharp and
likely need to be touched up before first use). I anchor the cords into the second holes firmly with triangles of
leather instead of the traditional wood pegs. I cut off the excess leather inside and out, and the cords at the in-
side. Take care not to lace the boards on too tightly or they will splay open.
This completes the binding. Enjoy your creation!

Pressing Matter Spring 2020 p. 11

Zoom! Live Workshop: Long stitch sewing through a slotted wrapper cover
DVC had our first live zoom workshop with Rosae Reeder on Saturday April 25th. She led
about 20 of us through the steps to make this variation of a long stitch binding. Rosae uses
this setup for the classes she teaches at UArts and PAFA. Members zoomed in from all over
the country, which is a great benefit of Zoom. We’re working on another one. We’ll keep you

More photos from Once Upon a Book

Karen Lightner Dee Collins Todd Pattison

Pressing Matter Spring 2020 p. 12