Vessel: A Guild of Book Workers Exhibition

The Guild of Book Workers has come a long way from its origins in 1906 in New York City. From that group of about 125 members an organization evolved that spans the continent and currently has over 900 members and nine chapters. The Guild has also grown in style and substance in a way that re ects the diversity of the members’ inter- ests and talents.

As you view the work for the Vessel Exhibition shown in this catalog, you will not see the same types of books that would have been submitted to the earliest Guild exhibi- tions. The first exhibition was held in 1907, soon after the founding of the organization, which shows the importance and value the members held in showing their work.

The Guild has always been a diverse group, with early members being binders, paper makers, calligraphers, printers and makers of nearly every aspect of book production. Still, early exhibits would have primarily been traditional fine bindings: books covered in full leather and decorated using traditional methods of binding such as gold or blind tooling, leather onlays, and gilt edges.

Clearly that is no longer the case. Though there are still a significant number of members practicing the traditional aspects of books as fine binders, calligraphers and printers, the past few decades have seen the rise of book artists. Their work uses the structure of a book in unique, innovative and beautiful ways. In many cases, they also redefine the definition of what a book is! It is an exciting time both for the creators and for their audiences. We know you will enjoy the work shown in this catalog. It certainly shows the diversity of the members of the Guild.

In addition to exhibitions, the Guild has active regional chapters that hold meetings and classes on all aspects of book works. We also produce an annual journal consisting of peer-reviewed articles, a newsletter, and host the annual Standards of Excellence in Hand Bookbinding Seminar. There is also a valuable lending library of books and other media available for loan to members.

We are grateful for Amy LeePard’s work in putting this exhibition together. Thanks also go to the jurors Sarah Bryant, Timothy Ely, and Deborah Howe for all their time and e ort in winnowing down so many worthy entries to the books that were selected for this exhibition.

Mark Andersson