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Bookbinding on the Internet

This is my response, printed in the Summer '96 issue of the Designer
Bookbinders Newsletter, to the Partridge article which was reprinted here to
a part of which Philip Smith replied in a thought provoking manner. The
original can be found at
> and Philips response to my "Whatness of Bookness" comment at
>. This is being posted in response to several queries by subscribers.



To the Editor:

I would like to comment on Chris Partridge's recent article in the DB
Newsletter, Bookbinding on the Internet. As the "list-owner" of a listserv
(email mailing list) dedicated to the book arts which has over  700
subscribers and webmaster for both the Guild of Book Workers website and of
those  for my list archives (and anything else relating to book arts on the
Internet) I can tell you that there is a much more to the book arts on the
Internet than the picture portrayed. Partridge's article left me with the
feeling that aside from searching in a very cursory manner he has taken no
time looking at the wealth of resources available. It would have been more
helpful if he had take the time to list the URLs for the sites he did visit.

Founded in June of 1994, Book_Arts-L has grown to become a virtual community
for bookbinders and book artists the world over. Members range from
recognized fine binders and conservators to students, artists, marblers,
papermakers, printers collectors, and those just interested. On this
listserv we exchange technical information, discuss projects, exchange URLs
where our work can be seen (all of which are included on the "Book Arts
Web"), and have had discussions about the "whatness of bookness" which could
make DB's seem tame by comparison. All postings are available in the
archives, which can be viewed and searched at
This is where one will also find subscription instructions. As mentioned
earlier the Guild of Book Workers is on the net, as is the Canadian
Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild
<http://knet.flemingc.on.ca/~rmiller/cbbag/CBBAGhome.html>, as well as most
of the academic (MFA) bookarts programs. The Guild of Book Workers' upcoming
exhibit PAPER, a set book exhibit which will be touring the US will also be
on display worldwide via the Internet. There are large numbers of personal
homepages which show a tremendous range of book works from the traditional
to artists books.

Also on the Internet are numerous exhibits of historical and traditional
bindings and artists books. The Philip Smith exhibit can be viewed via Simon
Fraser University's (Vancouver, BC) website at
<http://www.lib.sfu.ca/proj/psmith.htm> and is definitely worth a visit, as
are the Smithsonian exhibit  of "Science and the Artist's Book" or "Aldus"
at Brigham Young University. Letterpress printers I and printmakers also
have their own listservs. I have yet to find the site in Chile which
Partridge mentions, but real resources are out there one just has to look
for them..

The Book Arts Web contains arguably the largest and most comprehensive
collection of links to bookarts related sites with links to all sites,
mentioned here. It can be found at <http://web.syr.edu/~pdverhey>.

I agree, one might not win any prizes by following some of the techniques
available in some of the online tutorials. However, not everyone is vying to
become a Fellow of DB. They are but starting points. If I were to start over
in my binding career, I would certainly not look at some of the manuals
available which sing the praises of oversewing; however I would keep them as
reference works. The greatest resources are the individuals which are part
of this "virtual" bookarts community. Here real information and experiences
are exchanged daily and resources brought to each other's attention. We are
a diverse group of characters with egos big and small, but we are willing to
help each other with open minds, unlike the insular mindset which seems to
dominate DB at times. Poorly researched articles like Partridge's help
perpetuate this image of an otherwise excellent group.


Peter Verheyen

>>Drink and be merry, for our time is short and death lasts forever<<

Peter D. Verheyen                                   <wk> 315.443.9937
Conservation Librarian                             <fax> 315.443.9510
Syracuse University Library          <email> pdverhey@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Syracuse University               <www> http://web.syr.edu/~pdverhey/
Syracuse, NY 13244             <listmgr> Book_Arts-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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