Paper and Book Intensive

Held in a different location each year for the past 27 years, PBI is an intense and packed two weeks of classes  focusing on the book arts, papermaking, printing, printmaking, and conservation.  Whether you are an experienced book and papermaker or a beginner, it is an excellent way to jumpstart your creative impulses.  This year PBI was held July 11-22, 2010 at the University of Maine, Machias and a total of 10 classes were offered to approximately 70 participants.

This was my first PBI and I was fortunate to be able to attend with RISD professor Jan Baker from the Graphic Design department.  Each participant selects two classes  for the first week and one class for the second week and the schedule is “intense”.  Folks were from all over the country (a few international as well) and ranged in age from their twenties to sixties.

Classes were taught by experts in their fields and were small enough for occasional one-on-one assistance.  Late hours were spent in the studio with the instructors and fellow students and a great spirit of mutual support and bonding resulted.

There were also interesting and informative evening presentations by the instructors and invited book artists.

On the Break Day between sessions, field trips were made to visit the studios of local book and paper artists.  Ancient parchment making techniques were demonstrated by Pergamena, a family of tanners since the 16th century.

Next year the Paper and Book Intensive will be held May 16- 27, 2011 at Oxbow, an artists’ residency near Saugatuck, Michigan.  Whether you are new to the book and paper arts or not, you will feel right at home with the folks at PBI.  You will acquire new skills you never thought you would be capable of learning and have a life-changing experience.  Once hooked, you’ll want to return again and again.

Session One: July 12-15, one morning class and one afternoon class

Paper Sculpture, taught by Frank Brannon of North Carolina, explored different processes for forming three-dimensional objects using a variety of fibers. Students made very organic shapes sometimes incorporating found materials in the structure.

Japanese Natural Colorants for Paper, taught by Tatiana Ginsberg from Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts, experimented with natural dyes from plant materials. Brushing techniques in single or multiple layers on unsized handmade papers were used as well as folded and dip-dyed techniques.

Readdressing the Built-In Groove Case, taught by Deborah Howe, collections conservator at Dartmouth College Library.  Two variations on this reinforced binding were taught, including a variety of endsheet techniques, spine reinforcements, spine coverings, and sewn in endbands. These types of bindings originated in Germany and were often used to create a sturdy but flexible covering for small publications.

Movables in a Book Format, taught by Emily Martin from the University of Iowa Center for the book, focused on volvelles, an early movable structure. Students made an assortment of movable devices and created an album to store and display them, using a Claire Van Vliet woven binding structure.

26 Letters, taught by David Wolfe of Portland, Maine, examined letter forms letterpress printed with wood and metal type and woodblocks. Layers of letters transformed type into image. Each student printed an edition in order to create a class portfolio of all the prints.

Session Two: July 17-20, full day classes

Beyond Inlays and Onlays: Tactile Books, taught by Melissa Jay Craig, formerly from the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, used found objects to embed in board covers and pages   Thick inlaid pages were then bound with a “checkerboard spine” binding to form a multidimensional book.

Pressure and Relief: Techniques in Letterpress Printing, taught by Ellen Knudson, special collections curator and instructor from the University of Florida, experimented with low relief materials printed in various methods on the letterpress to give layered and textured images. Collagraph relief prints were printed directly on the press bed type high, and pressure prints were achieved by mounting thin shaped  paper under the press cylinder packing.

Can You Match This?, taught by Katie MacGregor, a papermaker from Whiting, Maine, explored recipes for coloring handmade paper to achieve specific tinted or intense colors. Students kept records of the formulas and paper fibers used, enabling them to reproduce the same colors in the future.

Late 18th Century French Binding Structure, taught by Jeffrey Peachey, a conservator and toolmaker from New York,  reconstructed a typical full calf leather-bound French binding. This very traditional structure included sewing signatures onto cords, paring leather, coloring the text block edges with vermilion, sewing endbands, and decorating the leather covers by brushing or spattering chemicals.

Copper as Matrix, taught by Yana Van Dyke, associate conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, concentrated on the materials, tools and techniques for intaglio printmaking on copper. Students explored drypoint copper engraving tools using roulettes, needles, stylus, burins, and the rocker for mezzotint. Hard and soft-ground etching techniques as well as aquatint for half-tones were also used, creating layered prints.    lwc 07/10

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