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Re: Book Art vs. Book Arts

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How do we develop a vocabulary to differentiate some work from others when
the difference sometimes has to do with hard to pin down things like intent?
That's a challenge, and surely open to calls of elitism. (Although everytime
I hear someone say, "...oh, so you make Scrapbooks?" I think there's not
nearly enough elitism in this world...)

I think that one thing contributing to the incredibly broad range of work
created under the umbrella of "book art(s)" is the unique way that
information is disseminated. While there are wonderful academic programs
that delve into the history, theory and practice of art in general and
artist's books in particular, there are one hundred fold more workshops
being offered where students are taught to make a structure or two in a day.

And people come to the art form from many directions - painting,
printmaking, conservation, rubber stamping, scrapbooking, and so on.

I'm not saying that academia is the only place to learn to make art - I'm a
big proponent of the value of working at making art as a way to learn. But
there is a certain body of knowledge that an artist needs to have to know
where their work fits in to the scheme of things.

Compounding the problem is the fact that the majority of the paying public
at small workshops don't want to be bogged down with the details - they just
want to leave class with a pretty book. (And next thing you know, that
one-time student is teaching a book making class at the local rubber stamp

I think that building a critical vocabulary that allows us to differentiate
between an artist's book and a decorative handmade book is necessary. I
appreciate calls for entry that ask you to describe the concept of each
piece and find having to describe someone else's work to be good practice

I think we have to be ready to take our lumps too. I really enjoyed it when
Paul was more active on the list (probably because he wasn't discussing MY
work...) because those barbs stuck in my head and come back when I'm
working, making me ask myself if what I'm working on would stand up to that

The question for me is how can people outside the mainstream loop
geographically receive the necessary critical feedback that would help them
take their work to the next level?

Best wishes,

Pendleton, Oregon

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