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Re: [BKARTS] Books without Words

In a message dated 1/9/2004 3:52:51 PM Eastern Standard Time,
ArtSurvive@xxxxxxx writes:

> I have long noted this basic difference between what I see as two extremes.
>  On the one hand, those who craft in letterpress and fine binding what they
> see
>  as important texts, perhaps with the addition of original illustrations,
>  on the other those who are using the text and images of their own
> experiences
>  to create something perhaps as yet unnamed or unnamable. The first group
> wants
>  to create sometimes narrow perimeters that define book arts, including
>  things they themselves do and excluding more experimental works. The second
>  group, mostly, doesn't understand why it is an issue, as art is art,
> whatever
>  form it takes.

>While we do need to educate people about the form generally in order to
>develop an audience for what we do, is it necessary to define it narrowly?

As a calligrapher, words are my art, and now I seek to find a home for my art
within a "book" structure. I am new to binding, and honestly, because of the
broad definition of "book," found myself in a class at a local arts center
that purported to be an "Introduction to Bookbinding Basics" but once paid and in
the class, found the instructor didn't know anything about what I would call
binding -- what greeted my eyes on the first night of the course looked like a
piece of something scraped from a barn floor:  sticks, unknown hard, black,
roundish substances, hay, bits of bone, held together with wax.

I am not saying this is not art -- the teacher has had exhibits at museums,
and suspending these things from the ceiling, calls them books. And she is paid
for this. So we began with a discussion of what IS a book??

I wouldn't have minded if I had known this was what I was signing up for --
my bachelor's degree is in studio art, but I was hoping to learn to sew pieces
of paper together, in a good, craftsmanlike manner, to enter into a juried
book exhibition for calligraphers. As it ended up, another person enrolled had
some books from the craftstore on binding, and brought them in, and we looked at
them --- the teacher (nice person, by the way) had no idea how they worked
.... aaaarrrrgh!!!!  For this, I had paid $100. (No refund unless the class is
cancelled.) Total waste of time.

I decided I could have bought a whole lot of materials and experimented with
them on my own for that kind of money!

Since then I have learned a lot from the wonderful people on this list, and
part of that has been finding out where to take classes to teach me what I want
to learn. Unfortunately, they are in "far away places" but I will go, as
budget permits, and learn.

I guess the point of venting my frustration here, is that I am fine with
whatever whoever wants to call a book, but please, if you are going to teach, just
"define it narrowly" in your course description so folks won't be
disappointed. There may have been others who would have happily signed on, had they known
the class to be more sculptural.

Thanks for your time. Now back to lurking.....
Ginger Meidel
St. Petersburg, FL

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