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Re: [BKARTS] Other book arts communities?

Jen -

I'm a big fan of artist's book exchange groups as part of an independent
study approach, expecially if you're geographically isolated. Years ago
there was a really good one run by Teri Daniels that several people on this
list participated in.

The basic idea involves a list of monthly themes that is circulated to the
list, some that refer to structure ("tunnel books", "single signature
bindings") and some to concept ("mother", "road trip"). Participants then
create a small edition of books using that theme as a departure point. A
group of books (number determined by the exchange rules, usually three or
five) are then sent to a central location with pre-paid return postage where
the "host" sends you back the same number of artists' books from other
participants. Participation is optional each month.

When combined with study at good quality workshops and independent reading,
I think exchanges provide a good structure for learning, as you basically
have an assignment each month. And the confidence and skills you acquire
through experimentation, problem solving and having to fix large and small
mistakes are invaluable.

Writing a critique of the work you receive in return - even if it's just for
yourself - is a very productive exercise too. It will help you build a
vocabulary for evaluating your own work.

It's important to find a (or build your own) group that has a level of
expertise and an approach to the artist's book that fits your work. Some
exchanges focus on decorative handmade books that house various quotations
and such, most public groups attract a mix of approaches. If you don't know
many other people who make books, joining a group like the "artist book" one
at Yahoo Groups is a very good place to start. If you already know other
people (either in real life or through the net) who are like you, you can
start your own group and build your own small community.

with best wishes,

Roberta Lavadour
Pendleton, Oregon

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