Guild of Book Workers Newsletter
Number 109
December 1996

Chapter News

California News: Closing at the end of December is the exquisite bookbinding exhibition now at The Book Club of California. The book, bound from 1962 to 1996 by nearly 40 binders, is Finishing in Hand Bookbinding, written in 1951 by Edna Peter and Herbert Fahey, the well known San Francisco binders. The Faheys were also teachers of fine binding. A number of the noted bibliophiles who are members of the Book Club of California studied bookbinding with them, among them S. Gale Herrick, Joann Miller, Duncan Olmsted, Stella Patri and Leah Wollenberg.

The opportunity for this exhibition exists because unbound copies of the book were passed along to several California bookbinding teachers, including Barbara Fallon Hiller, Theodore and Anne Kahle, and Margaret Lecky. They gave copies to students during their bookbinding studies, most often to be bound as a first "full-leather" binding project. The remaining unbound copies of the book were, in turn, passed along to the next generation of binding teachers, who repeated the process, giving copies of the unbound book to their students as binding projects. All of these connections are made clear by Tom Conroy's "California Teaching Genealogy" (GBW Journal, Vol. XXVIII, Nos. 1 & 2, Spring/ Fall 1990).

This exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Sheila Fiona Casey(1947-1996). Sheila began studying fine binding in 1968 with Mrs. Fahey. As Mrs. Fahey's health declined, Sheila helped to execute her books and became known as "Mrs. Fahey's hands". Sheila later studied and worked with Eleanore Ramsey, who curated this exhibition. Sheila's unfinished case has been included in the exhibition. Sheila died August 19, 1996.

It is hoped that the exhibition will travel to at least two more sites, to be announced later. The list of binders whose work is exhibited reads like a listing of past and present members of GBW, included are: Eleanore Ramsey, Stella Patri, Jeannie Sack, Constance Hunter, Ruth Ann Rohman, Janice Schopfer, Joanne Sonnichsen, Shannon Zachary, Tom Conroy, Don E. Sanders, Gary Frost, Victor Honig, Craig Jensen, Jane Aaron, Marilyn Bonaventure, Tim Ely, Signa Houghteling, Nysa Wong Kline, Elaine Nelson, Patricia Owen, Dominic Riley, Jana Pullman, Robert Rosenzweig, Gail Sulmeyer, Jill Oriane Tarlau, Barbara Wood and Sheila Casey. It is a beautiful exhibition.

Southern California Chapter members are catching their breath after all the work of putting on the Standards Seminar, but they have also organized a workshop with the British fore-edge painter, Martin Frost, at Mel Kavin's Kater-Crafts Bindery in early November. Mr. Frost gave another workshop in Northern California at the new Center for the Book in San Francisco in November.

The Center for the Book, which opened in San Francisco in September, has set up a busy schedule for the fall, with workshops in bookbinding, creative writing and book arts, preservation of family histories, reduction linocuts, photocopying as art, calligraphy, letterpress and other arts. Special guests recently were Louise Genest, Martin Frost and Sas Colby. The Center is the first space dedicated to the book arts that the book community in the Bay Area has had for exhibitions, meetings and workshops and is the brainchild of Mary Austin, Kathleen Burch and Susan Landauer. Charter member organizations of the Center are the Pacific Center for Book Arts and the Hand Bookbinders of California. It is located south of Market at 300 DeHaro Street. If you are visiting California, be sure to come see it. Call 415/565-0545, or fax: 565-0556.

The Midwest Chapter sponsored an Adhesive Binding Workshop with Peter Jermann, binder at the Friedsam Memorial Library at St. Bonaventure University in upstate New York (and new GBW member), given in August in Ann Arbor. Mr. Jermann has developed a new binding technology over the last 20 years, taking advantage of new materials, such as Tyvek(tm) and strong flexible glues. He recommends that we stop trying to adapt traditional binding methods to these new materials and, instead, adopt entirely novel means of making durable bindings, which he demonstrated. (See Supplies, this issue, for Cris Takacs' listing of various adhesives used at the workshop).

Members of the Chapter were given a private tour of the collection [of the Kelmscott Press] at the Cleveland Museum on October 8.

The New England Chapter held their fall chapter meeting in October in Easthampton, Mass. where Bill Streeter presented his research on 19th c. copy presses to the group, following which the members visited the binders' and printers' studios at One Cottage Street.

The New York Chapter has a busy schedule planned, as usual, for the fall and winter/spring seasons. Iris Nevins, who marbles in the traditional water-based manner and specializes in recreating early papers, gave a workshop on November 22; the Chapter Open House will be December 18th at the Gladys Brooks Book & Paper Lab at the N.Y. Academy of Medicine; there will be an Open House in February in Ursula Mitra's new bookbinding studio in Hoboken; Monique Lallier will give a lecture at NYU and Don Etherington will give one at the Grolier Club, both in March. In April or May the Chapter will host a Laura Young Memorial. A committee is being formed for the planning, which will include a workshop by Jerilyn Davis.

GBW members are invited to the Society of Scribes Fair on December 1, and to the holiday exhibition and sale Giftland V: Democra$y and a tour and talk at Printed Matter on December 14. Printed Matter, at 77 Wooster St., New York City, is the country's largest retailer and distributor of artists' books and related publications. It is a non-profit organization whose mission is to facilitate and encourage the dissemination, understanding and appreciation of artists' publications. The holiday exhibition and sale of affordable art works runs from November 29 - December 23.

The Southeast Chapter is now one-year old. They will hold an election of officers at their General Meeting on January 25 in Tuscaloosa. Following the business meeting, there will be a tour of the University of Alabama's MFA Program in the Book Arts facilities and Book Arts Gallery and a "book talk". They are planning spring workshops with Gabrielle Fox Butler , Louise Genest and Jan Sobota. The Chapter's October issue of their newsletter, "True Grit & other sorts", contains a report by Paula Gourley on the recent L'ARA forum in Montreal.