Bonnie Thompson Norman, The Windowpane Press

Seattle, Washington

Bonnie Thompson Norman, editor, A Primer for Democracy

A Primer for Democracy was created in a class just before the 2004 presidential elections. During one weekend, people who ordinarily have had no experience either with artist’s books or letterpress printing, and who bring differing perspectives, create content around a theme and structure I introduce. The main theme — VOTE — is repeated and reinforced: CALL, FAX. Essentially, this alphabet book can be constructed, reconstructed, deconstructed in countless ways. Like democracy, as a completed structure, A Primer for Democracy is a little bit wobbly and requires care in building and maintaining. 8 x 8 x 8 centimeters. Created 2004.


For Bonnie Thompson Norman books are a passion as well as a profession. She has been proprietor of The Windowpane Press, a letterpress printing and book arts studio, for over twenty years. She works full-time as a hand bookbinder in a commercial bindery. Evenings and weekends, she teaches classes in printing and bookmaking. Her studio has many things found in a traditional print shop and bindery, such as a variety of printing presses, hundreds of cases of type, a guillotine paper cutter, a Jacques board shear and, not the least, a wonderful library. Participants learn how to set type one letter at a time and hand feed pages into a press, or they learn the craft of binding a book by hand, or creating artistís books. These opportunities and pleasures, not diminished or replaced by the convenience and miracle of the computer age, celebrate the venerable crafts of letterpress printing and bookmaking in a manner both accessible and relevant today.