Recently I was looking over the Bylaws of the Guild of Book Workers. Nearly 90 years ago the Guild was formed "...to establish and maintain a feeling of kinship and mutual interest among the workers in the several hand book crafts, by forming a center for the collection and distribution of useful and reliable information, by sponsoring lectures and field trips, and by giving exhibitions of the work of its members ...".
Has the Guild lived up to that purpose? A brief look at the events of the past year confirms that, indeed, the Guild is living up to its obligations.
There are a half-dozen publications associated with membership in the Guild; new Membership Directories have been printed and distributed; the Journals are now nearly on schedule; and a revised Study Opportunities List is due out momentarily. The Supply Directory is in the process of being updated and, during 1996, we expect to have a complete listing of all of the books available on loan from the GBW Library. The Newsletter, which is undoubtedly the most popular publication of the Guild, has gone through some pleasant visual changes this past year, and despite new homes, new jobs, new computers and the like, the Newsletter continues to appear in your mailbox without so much as a clue as to the enormous amount of work that actually goes into producing it.
Several of the various Chapters hosted exhibitions featuring their members' work. Since major traveling exhibitions occur once every two years, this may have seemed like a quiet year for exhibitions; however, preparations have long been in full swing for next year's exhibition, which will travel to several sites across the country, ending its run at Scripps College during the Standards Seminar in Pasadena, Calif.
The Standards of Excellence Seminar in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was well attended and offered the high caliber of presentations that the membership has come to expect. The faculty, students and volunteers of the Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama, and specifically Paula Gourley, organized every detail of this conference; we have to thank all of them once again for putting such effort into making it a wonderful event for everyone attending.
This year has been one of enormous physical growth. Membership is at an all-time high, in part due to the formation of several new regional chapters during the last 12 months. Our chapters are the vehicles that enable GBW members to stay in close touch with one another, and the various chapters provide the means for education, sharing and exchanging information among ourselves.
The Guild of Book Workers is, as far as I can tell, the single largest organization of its type in the entire world devoted to the book arts. This past year we have been offered some opportunities that will increase awareness in the Guild, not only in North America, but throughout the world: we have been invited by Designer Bookbinders, in the U.K., to write a feature article about the Guild for their annual journal; we have been talking to Art et Metiers du Livre, the French publication, about exchanging articles and information; and our counterpart in Australia has expressed interest in trading news. Additionally, several of our Chapters hosted a group of visiting bookbinders from Great Britain. This coming year should offer many new opportunities for us to share the talents of our members with the rest of the world and gain added exposure for the Guild.
Recognition within the U.S. is on the increase as well. Peter Verheyen maintains the Book_Arts-L list, comprised of over 575 hundred folk, worldwide, interested in the book arts who share information through a communal, computerized listserv. About once a month, a group of bookbinders with access to America On Line gather together to "talk" during a Bookbinder's "Chat" session. There are also postings about the Guild on various computerized Bulletin Boards, and once again, Peter Verheyen, our resident computer whiz, has put GBW on the Internet.
After 89 years, the Guild continues to successfully serve the needs of its members, always broadening its scope, but never losing sight of its original purpose. This past year was full of the programs, publications and events that are designed to serve you, its members. The coming year promises continued growth for the Guild of Book Workers.
Respectfully submitted, Karen Crisalli, President
I've recently read an article about an organization which offers loans to professional craftspeople who have experienced career threatening emergencies. CERF (Craft Emergency Relief Fund) is a non-profit tax exempt association which provides immediate support to professional craft artists suffering emergencies such as fire, theft, illness and natural disaster. They offer no-interest loans with flexible payback dates to qualified craftspeople. CERF is financed primarily through donations and fund raising efforts. For more information, guidelines, or a loan application (or perhaps to make a donation) contact: CERF, 245 Main Street, Northampton, MA 01060, 413/585-5898, FAX: 413/585-0688.
The 1995 GBW Membership Directory, which includes all members in good standing as of September 1995, was mailed out in early November. If you have not yet received your yellow copy of the 1995 Directory, please drop a note to the Guild office and another copy will be sent.
The Membership Directory is just one of the many useful publications included in your annual membership fee. Not only does it include an alphabetical listing of all members and how to contact them, but it also has two helpful cross-references: "Areas of Expertise" lists members by various categories, such as 'Bookbinder - General', 'Calligrapher', 'Conservator - Professional', and so on. "Geographical Listing" is especially helpful when traveling on vacation or business to put you in touch with members in other areas, national and international. Included in the back of the Directory is a copy of the Bylaws of the Guild of Book Workers.
Joanne Page, co-ordinator of the 1996 Standards Seminar, sends this word: The California Chapter has been busy making plans for the 1996 Standards Seminar, which will be held at the Pasadena Hilton on October 18-19. In addition to the Seminar, they are planning a special tour on Thursday, October 17 which will include a visit to Kater-Craft Bookbinders to see a library bindery in action, and a look at Mel Kavin's collection of fine bindings. Next, on to the Huntington Library for lunch, a tour of the conservation labs and a special showing of highlights from the Huntington Collection. Thursday evening will include an opening reception at Scripps College and a chance to see the GBW/Thomas exhibition at its first site. We promise good weather and good times -- plan to attend!
As reported by Secretary Louise Kuflik at the Annual Meeting held at the end of the Standards Seminar on September 30, 1995, 258 ballots were returned to elect the following:
35 binders have purchased Peter and Donna Thomas's book PAPER. In the coming months they will all be sent a formal entry form with other instructions such as where to ship the completed book to. There are no more copies of the book available.
Due to the ridiculous amount of work I have taken upon myself out of some twisted sense of martyrdom (grad school, this exhibit, the NEWSLETTER, etc.) I have decided that I will not be running for reelection once my current term expires in the Fall. In order to ensure a smooth an orderly transition and see to it that this exhibit opens as planned I am looking for a co-chair whose primary responsibility it shall be to assist fundraising for the exhibit ($7000 to go). I will hope that this person will then take over the reins for me in Los Angeles at Standards. Requirements for the job are a computer with internet access and a good business sense. Anyone interested should get in touch with me as soon as possible. My number at work is 315-443-9937 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is a position I have found very rewarding and enjoyed immensely.