Guild of Book Workers Newsletter
Number 110
February 1997


Paper and Book Intensive '97 at Ox-Bow June 3 - 13, 1997

PBI, the well-known summer convocation of peers in the book arts, book conservation, binding, papermaking, and allied fields will be held this summer at Ox-Bow, in Saugatuck, Michigan, from June 3-13, 1997.

Ox-Bow, Inc. is a summer artists' colony and school of the arts founded in 1910 that now operates in association with The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From its earliest days, artists have flocked to Ox-Bow in search of a community that encourages artistic freedom and the exchange of ideas. Located in a unique natural setting near Lake Michigan, life at Ox-Bow is simple and rustic with the historic Inn serving as the hub for all activity. The studios are situated at the edge of the woods and overlook the Ox-Bow lagoon. PBI is very pleased the event will again be hosted by Ox-Bow, where the very first PBI events were held in the mid '80s.

The following instructors and courses are on the agenda for PBI '97:

Cathleen Baker (Bleaching Pulp and Paper)
Georgia Deal (Monotypes: The Total Happiness Package)
Glen Epstein (Songs Without Words: Untraditional Tools for Untraditional Expressions)
Cecilia & Gary Frost (Millenial Bookbinding)
Helen Hiebert (It's All in the Sheet)
Rick Hungerford (Ox-Bow Imposition)
Daniel Kelm (The Chemistry and Poetry of Book Arts Materials)
Hedi Kyle (Animating the Scroll)
Bonnie Stahlacker (Dimensional Books: Lessons in Movable Magic)
Pamela Smith (Paper Marbling: The Process and Beyond)

For a descriptive brochure and application information please contact: Steve Miller, PBI Co-director, The University of Alabama, Box 870252, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0252; 205 348-1525; or

Finely Conserved Finely Bound

from Sün Evrard:
Finely Conserved Finely Bound: Today's bindings on antiquarian books and documents, an international exhibition of fine conservation bindings.

Can the world of design binding come together with the world of conservation of antiquarian books? Can we save an antique book or document with a binding that uses not only good conservation techniques, but also contemporary design aesthetics? To encourage research in this field, to explore recent developments, and to inform the public at large, the Bibliothéque historique de la Ville de Paris is organizing an international exhibition of fine conservation bindings. This exhibition will take place in Paris from 15 May to 31 July, 1999.

A fine conservation binding is an homage paid to a valuable document. A binding of our time, bringing together conservation practices and aesthetic requirements, is an intelligent combination of old and new techniques that neither follows contemporary fads nor imitates old styles. It offers good conservation and safe handling, without neglecting the visual and tactile pleasure of the reader.

Considerable progress has been made in the past few years in the field of conservation. Today, few ignore such problems as the acidity of materials, or the technical requirements indispensable for storage, use, or exhibition of documents. In the fleld of bookbinding the needs of both curators and bibliophiles have grown considerably. Flexibility, ease of handling, a flat opening, for example, are increasingly becoming familiar notions. In the future, one will reconsider the use of adhesives and no longer cut even a small part of the original pages of pre-20th century books or fold their signatures by backing. Interesting research has already been done in several countries, and certain satisfactory solutions already exist; other solutions, however, have yet to be found. Conservation bookbinding practices abound, but they are rarely associated with modern aesthetics compatible with the spirit of antiquarian books and with a good understanding of the specific needs of each item.

Many books or documents which have not, or which no longer have, a binding could be waiting for such a treatment in the archives, libraries, bookshops, or on private bookshelves. There are, perhaps, documents which pose one or more specific problems - single section, large sizes, excessively thick signatures, signatures of different sizes, pamphlets, etc.

The aim of this exhibition is to show what kind of bindings today's bookbinders can imagine for them. An illustrated catalogue of the exhibition will show all the appropriate, practical, perhaps unexpected or surprising, solutions that might serve as examples.

If you are interested in this exhibition - whether you are bookbinder, restorer, conservator, librarian, archivist, bookseller, or bibliophile - if you already possess bindings which could be made part of this exhibition, or if you intend to make one for it, write to Françoise Courbage, conservateur en chef, Bibliothèque historique de la Ville de Paris, 24 rue Pavée, 75004 Paris (fax: 01

Jean Derens, Conservateur general de la Bibliotheque de la Ville de Paris.

Art in Contemporary Bookbinding

The Exhibition, "Art in Contemporary Bookbinding: Choices of an amateur of contemporary art" opened January 17, 1997 at the Bibliotheca Wittockiana in Brussels, Belgium.

This exhibition presents 64 bindings signed by eight international artists (French: Jean de Gonet, Georges Leroux, Alain Lobstein and Monique Mathier; English: Ivor Robinson; American: Timothy Ely, Donald Glaister & John Franklin Mowery). All these bindings, created between 1986 and 1995, were commissioned by the American collector Jan van der Marck.

Originally from Holland, Dr. Jan van der Marck lived for a number of years in the United States where he began his career as conservator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and ended as head conservator of the Detroit Institute of Art. A bibliophile, he also became a great lover of modern art and gives great importance to the original character of the graphic form in the 20th century book, created especially because of a number of well known editors who offered a new field of experimentation to brilliant painters and remarkable printers.

Jan van der Marck has collected private press books and 'livres d'artistes' that have been published over a period of a hundred years: from The Well at World's End of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, published in 1896 at the Kelmscott Press, given to Frank Mowery to bind, to the 1991 book, Les Chambres by Maryline Desbiolles, illustrated by Enrico Baj, put in the hands of the Parisian binder Georges Leroux .

The special occasion of showing the work of these eight binders together has led Dr. van der Marck to write a book , L'Art dans la Reliure Contemporaine, published by the Gerrit Jan Thieme Fonds, a Dutch foundation formed to encourage the study and appreciation of graphic arts. The book serves as the catalogue of the exhibition. Original text in English with French translation attached, 140 pp., 64 illus. Available from the Bibliotheca Wittockiana 21, rue de Bemel, 1150 Bruxelles, Belgium; tel: 02/7705333. FB 1600.

The exhibition will travel to The Hague, Germany, Paris, and possibly to the U.S.

Name Changes Here and There

The Abbey Newsletter is changing its subtitle "Bookbinding and Conservation" soon, to "Preservation of Library and Archival Materials" to reflect the Newsletter's present scope and emphasis. It will still cover bookbinding, because book repair, library binding and book conservation are an important part of preservation. It leaves book arts as such to publications like our own. ANL is switching over to PageMaker and will simplify the design of the Newsletter at that time.

Both ANL and Alkaline Paper Advocate are now on-line as a part of Conservation OnLine (CoOL), the web page sponsored by Stanford University, webmastered by Walter Henry (where the GBW Newsletter can be found). Their address: http://

The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities is changing its name to: The Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities. they will remain in Santa Monica until June 1997, when they will move to the new Getty Center complex in west Los Angeles.

Douglass Morse Howell Exhibition at MCBA

"Greenbox II: Handmade Paper and Art Works by Douglass Morse Howell, 1906-1994" will be on exhibit at the Landmark Center Auditorium of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis through May 15.

The MCBA newsletter says: "The rebirth of hand papermaking in America began with Douglass Morse Howell in the 1940's, and has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon. Until his death in 1994, Howell experimented with and formulated many techniques now considered basic to the vocabulary of modern hand papermakers. In addition to his well-known original art and collaborative works with Jackson Pollack, Robert Motherwell and Ann Ryan, he also worked with artists from two well known centers for printmaking: William Stanley of Atelier 17 and Tattani Grossman from Universal Limited Art Editions.

Between 1947 and 1948, Howell put together The Green Box, a collection of photos, notes and his early handmade papers. This work was sent to museums and libraries throughout America. The exhibition, Green Box II, on view at MCBA is an historical retrospective of Howell's work by curator Eugenie Barron, a papermaker and a student of Howell's for ten years. It contains prints, paper samples with technical data, handmade books, and his own artwork."

Lapback Book Structure Patented

Philip Smith has invented (1992) a new conservation binding for hard-back books that he has had patented in the U.S. (Patent #5,499,847) and Britain (EEC Patent #2279269) and which he hopes to sell to commercial binders. "The principle it applies is that the boards, by projecting rearwards protect the spine as well as the text block. It has a self-limiting opening sufficient for reading, with flat openings throughout. This is assisted by a special gusset endpaper construction and helps obviate the break-down which often occurs at the traditional hinge line. It may also avoid the problems of acid migration into the folds and sewing by eliminating back linings." For further information, contact Philip Smith, the Book House, Yatton Keynell, Chippenham, Wiltshire sn14 7bh, England; tel & fax: (0 1249) 782597, or Kessler Corp., North Town Business Center, 1525 Port Clinton Rd., Fremont, OH 43420; tel: 419 332-6496; 1-800-537-1133; fax: 419 334-5068.