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Re: [BKARTS] People's Interests On Book Arts List

others have offered good replies, but let me give this a try. I don't think
I'm going to be able to answer all your questions though.

Let me out myself. I started the list in '94 because after having lived in
some great book arts towns (Chicago, and New Haven with its proximity to
NYC, Western Mass, and Boston) I ended up in centrally isolated Ithaca, NY,
where I worked as a conservator (my primary profession) and found myself
missing the kinds of contact I had had with other like-minded individuals.
I had been subscribe to CoOL (Conservation Online)
<http://palimpsest.stanford.edu> and had found that a great means of
keeping aware of professional developments, but it was a conservation
centered list and probably one of the best resources in the field there is.
So anyway, here was this medium, email, and working at Cornell (as here at
Syracuse) I had access to this great tool, listserv. So, I started a list
so that I could interact with like-minded others in an asynchronous free
wheeling kind of way. That was 8 years ago, and here we are now...

>    1. What is a book artist? Also is this the type of person the list was
>started for.

A book artist is any person interested in the book <see also
http://www.philobiblon.com/whatisabook.htm>, and I use that term loosely.
There are traditionally trained binders, conservators, artists working with
books, printers, papermakers, publishers, collectors, librarians, teachers,
vendors, students, amateurs, professionals, hacks, prima donnas... The
World. The list was started for all of these.

>    2. What are artist books? Non commercial books? Books of art? Books with
>artistic covers?

See <http://www.philobiblon.com/whatisabook.htm>. In general I would say
that artists books are books by artists often exhibiting "non-traditional"
structures. Ther are often for sale but appear as one of a kind works or in
small editions. They can have art in them. Books with artistic covers can
be artists books, but may more often be classified as "fine bindings," i.e.
with more traditional structures and materials. Non of this is absolutist
however. Richard Minsky has written some good articles/essays. Some can be
found at <http://www.minsky.com/sharpaper.htm> and
<http://colophon.com/gallery/minsky/intro.htm>. There are also others,
almost all linked to from places on the Book Arts Links and Gallery pages
at <http://www.philobiblon.com>.

>    3. What are traditional binding techniques. Lots of discussion about this
>on the List. Is a year 1930 double-fan glued commercial book in this group.

Yes, as are books sewn in an unsupported style, around cords, over
tapes,... Some would also put scrolls, palm-leaf books, concertinas in this
category. All this is debatable, and has been debated.

>    4. What about modern commercial books and bindings. Is there little
>interest in this topic on this list? What about new improved commercial
>bindings or new limited production bindings.

There has been, and it has been discussed. The membership of this list is
very varied however, with the majority (my guess) not being formally
trained in those methods or working in those areas. Much of what you have
been asking questions about might better be answered in a "library binding"
or "commercial binders" forum. Haven't looked into those, however.

>    5. What about lithography and toner based printing. I suspect this isn't
>something welcomed on this list, rather one should be doing more traditional
>letterpress printing?

We've had plenty on that, and it's not unwelcome.

>    6. Is the List largely about traditional methods only?

No, we cover it all.

>    7. Do Book Artists spend most of their time going to workshops and
>traveling to non-profit Book Arts meetings? Is this sense of community what
>Book Arts is all about? I don't even now what this is about.

Some do, some don't. I spend far too much on membership in professional
conservation, binding, and allied groups. Provides me with information, and
network in which to ask questions, exhibit, or just plain interact
socially. I go to conference, mostly Guild of Book Workers
<http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byorg/gbw>, and in Canada there is the
Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild <http://www.cbbag.ca> which has
most of its members in the East, though there are also quite a few in B.C.
Community is were we find it, or desire it. Some of us are social
butterflies and others misanthropic recluses. Most are right in the middle
and shift depending on mood.

>Just trying to find what this Book Artist List is all about. There is a very
>particular bent to the messages and thinking and I can't put my finger on
>what that is all about. I am into new improved more limited production
>commercial books with touches of good old stuff revived. On that basis I
>like to hear about traditional processes. Of course I am very interested in
>all kinds of book bindings, both old and new. But it seems that new is not
>that welcome on this List, one should be into the old. Am I right? I am not
>critical of what the List is all about, I just can't figure out how so many
>people can think alike when I can't even figure out what "this stuff" that
>everyone is talking about on the list is all about. I feel like an outsider
>in many of the questions I am asking, yet it is hard to find any better
>information on book structure than on this List.
>Ben Wiens...applied energy scientist

Ben, let me be honest here. I think you're being too analytical about all
of this. All related topics are welcome on this list, the "old" as well as
the "new." Most of the "new" has its roots in the "old" and even the most
traditional techniques have been influenced by one trend or another. Much
as I would like to categorize this field, I find it increasing difficult. I
served a formal apprenticeship in Germany after having been
motivated/mentored by an English trade binder turned
conservator/preservation librarian, love the look and crisp design of
traditional French binding, have worked with two of the best American
binders/conservators, and return to my German binding roots when I feel I
need to (traditional binders love to discuss "nationalist" aspects of the
field, but that's another debate. I also buy every exhibition catalog and
manual I can get my hands on, good, bad, and ugly, "freaky-foldy" and
traditional... I even buy books by others. Many working in artists books
adapt traditional structures, some predating the codex, to create new
forms. It's almost impossible to categorize everything. That won't stop us
from trying though. We'll even argue it. It's all part of the game, and
surprisingly we stay mostly civil to each other which says a lot about this
group. In some respects you are an outsider, but that's something you have
in common with many. You may just have different interests, and that's
alright. While I appreciate your comment about the list, this is not the
end all. There are also other lists out there, there are many resources on
the web, trade groups,  books, ... which may help you more. Absorb as much
as you can, ask questions, search the archives and Book Arts Web
<http://www.philobiblon.com>. There's a lot there, but not everything.

Does this help?


 >>    In schoen gebundenen Buechern blaettert man gern.   <<

Peter D. Verheyen
<Email>            mailto:verheyen@philobiblon.com
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