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Re: Cuban Bookbinders

I know of two book groups of book artists, no bookbinders as such.
Ediciones Vigia in Matanzas is one, BIZ in Havana is the other. Both
groups (I've visited Vigia, but know about BIZ only second-hand.)

The best source for contacts in Cuba is the Center for Cuban Studies in
New York City. 212-242-0559.  They probably know somebody who would be
profoundly grateful for anything you can bring in.

As for the rest of your questions - Quality paper?? You've gotta be
kidding.  I brought tears to the eyes of someone (an author, not a book
artist) by giving him a ream of xerox paper. I wish I were kidding about
the tears, but I'm not. (Vigia appreciated getting some, too.  They do
some of their graphics by xerox.)

Vigia "prints" wonderfully interesting limited, hand-embellished editions
on recycled stuff that is roughtly equivalent to cheap garbage bags,
likely to self-destruct within 5 years, but they've developed an aesthetic
that makes this almost (almost!) a virtue.  They said they pay $90 a ton
for it, and clearly consider themselves lucky to get it.  I'm not sure
whether it's cheap when you earn a Cuban income, but at least it's
obtainable. They "print" on a 1950's-era mimeograph machine; they have
two, and I suspect they keep the second for parts.  Check the web - there
used to be at least one place with a display of their stuff, probably more
since I looked.

Almost anyone in Cuba with leather or cloth is probably selling it on the
black market to make shoes or clothing to sell to tourists, especially
shoes (a serious market in the art fairs).

If you want more information, contact me privately.  But CCS is really
the best source of contacts - they'll give you phone numbers, which are

|\        /|       /________/(
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|   Judy   |   (______________(/(
|  Kerman  |   (Mayapple Press(/(
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On Mon, 16 Feb 1998, Bob Muens wrote:

> I am planning a trip to Cuba in May.  As part of my trip there I would
> like to visit some of that country's bookbinders.  Unfortunately, I
> don't know of any so I am wondering if anyone on this list could help me
> contact some.
> I do remember a couple of years ago seeing an article, in the US press,
> about the difficulties that Cuban bookbinders had  finding materials as
> basic as quality paper, sewing thread, book cloths and adhesives.  Since
> I am going by boat I will be able to carry some supplies if I can find
> my way through the inevitable red tape.  Both the US and Cuban
> authorities are capable of throwing up hurdles to my bringing in raw
> materials, but I will try my hardest.
> Any information in this direction would be appreciated.
> Bob Muens
> Bookbinding and Conservation
> 513 Fleming St., Suite 5
> Key West, Florida  33040
> <Bob@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

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