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Re: Book Art vs. Book Arts

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I don't think this was about putting down the hobbyist at all, or being

How do we define "elitism" and why is it considered such a negative term by
some. I don't think this necessarily about "putting down the hobbyist" but
more about an aiming for higher standards for everyone. I know of plenty of
"hobbyists" or amateur binders who take their work VERY seriously and
strive to be the best they can. It really doesn't take more effort than
just (for exaggeration) muddling by, or does it?

However, once we consider selling / exhibiting our work, at whatever level,
we are elevating ourselves (whether we like it, or not) to a more
"professional" level. At that point we are holding ourselves out as
representatives of the craft, and role models for those interested in
learning about our field. We need to put our absolute best foot forward and
show how it can/should be done (and I'm not talking traditional vs. non). A
very simple structure can be done elegantly, or not... By doing that we
will attract more people to the craft/art.

Those attracted to our craft/art will also, hopefully, be critical and
demanding in deciding what appeals to them. At the same time, we also need
to be much more critical of our own work. That means realizing that not
everything we create is good, and being able to learn from our mistakes. We
also need to resist the temptation to "dumb down" what we do, and how we do
it. We need critical teachers which I mean in the good sense. By this I
mean the need for feedback, good and bad, as long as it's constructive.
Only then can we move forward and show what this craft/art/whatever can
really do.


>I hate to see an elitism develop in book art especially to the point
>where we put down the hobbyist so much that they no longer practice book
>making and never develop and interest in nor an eye for the piece of book art
>we may wish them to someday buy.
>Patricia Grass

Philobiblon: Book Arts, Different By Design
Hand Binding, Conservation, and Project Websites
Peter D. Verheyen

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