Less than three years after Orville & Wilbur Wright made their first successful flight in 1903, the Guild of Book Workers was founded in New York City. After witnessing nearly a century of aviation progress, the Guild has joined the centennial celebrations by selecting the theme, In Flight, for its 2003 -2005 Triennial Exhibition.

The term "in flight" has multiple meanings in our language and, as an exhibition theme, it has inspired a broad interpretation, not limited to aeronautics or aviation history. The beauty of flight in nature is explored, as well as whimsical flights of fancy and fantasy; or by contrast, the definition of flight as fleeing from danger and escape.

The fifty-four works featured in this juried exhibition, made by GBW members, represent a diverse range of the book related arts, including fine leather binding, box work, letterpress printing, calligraphy, broadside posters, and, most popular in this exhibition, the creation of artists' books. When viewing the GBW In Flight exhibition, the question may arise: "What defines a book?" Is it more than the familiar gathering of folded and bound pages, that we call a book -- a concept, or a visual story told sequentially in a tactile manner?

A focus on the content and its execution is apparent is these book works. Beginning with the written word, a variety of applications have been used to present the text, such as handset letterpress printed type; hand lettering or calligraphy; text printed from polymer plates, allowing the use of computer generated typography; and the adaptation of modern inkjet and laser printing technology as a contemporary art medium. The text is combined with illustration created by painting, photography, collage, as intaglio images and monoprints, or by the popular use of "pochoir", the French technique of stenciling. Various binding styles have been employed to contain these texts from the traditional, sewn, codex format book, to multiple approaches to the accordion based structure.

While the advancement of aviation during the 20th century is unparalleled, the ability to fly has effected the Guild of Book Workers and stimulated grown to ten regional chapters. Flight has brought GBW members physically together, to gather at annual meetings and to exchange techniques. And it is through flight, the Guild of Book Workers In Flight exhibition is able to take off, to reach viewers in destinations nationwide.

Priscilla A. Spitler
GBW In Flight Exhibit Chair

Copyright © 2003 the Guild of Book Workers Inc.,
a not-for-profit corporation

521 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10175-0038


In Flight has had     vistors since February 18, 2004.

Last updated on by Eric Alstrom.