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Welcome to the 2015 Bind-O-Rama
The Book Arts Web annual online exhibition.
Celebrating the Art of the Blook
The 2015 Bind-O-Rama was devoted to the subject of BLOOKS,
objects made in the emulation of books. This was an opportunity for blook
artists of ALL creeds (binders, printer, papermakers, decorated paper
makers, …) to apply their creative energy and bookbinding talents
to making a book object that examines and expresses their relationship
with the book. Around the world, for hundreds of years, people have been
making book-objects that reflect their devotion and respect for books
and for each other. There are countless examples; they include bars, cameras,
radios, banks, toys, memorials, food tins, desk accessories, book safes
and boxes, vases, musical instruments, magic tricks, furniture, jewelry
and artworks. Blooks embody the same characteristics as books and many
take the form of specific titles and book formats. They signify knowledge,
education, taste, power, wealth and more. They have been treasured and
passed down through the generations, and many thousands reside in private
homes, public and private businesses and in museums and libraries around
the world. Blooks have been used to celebrate and memorialize important
occasions and personal losses and successes. They serve as reminders of
memorable visits to important places, as receptacles to hold valuable
and practical objects and are the source of great amusement.
The thirteen entries in the blook-themed Bind-O-Rama are
a diverse group of objects inspired by personal stories, real and imagined
texts and historic book objects. While some are closely related to known
book objects, others take a more abstract approach, reminding me of how
artists see a single challenge from many perspectives. Some of the entries
are more blookish than others. Barbara Hebard and Jana Pullman’s
entries are traditional blooks modeled on the leather-bound rare book
boxes made since the nineteenth century to protect precious bindings.
Jana’s boxes are empty, awaiting something precious to protect worthy
of the their beauty. Barbara’s box has a specific function as a
reliquary in honor of St. Anthony, patron saint of bookbinders. Paula
Krieg’s Phone Book is modeled on the traditional book safe. Her
work carries a strong emotional and social message, as well as performing
the traditional roles of protection, containment and secrecy.
Some of the works have been inspired by traditional multi-functional
book objects. Anita Balkun’s blooks are shrine-like pieces reminiscent
of cumdachs, medieval book-style reliquaries. Both contain relics and
reminiscences of the men she honors in these sculptures. Two works emulate
traditional book-style board and card games. Carolyn Leigh’s piece
Al-quirq/Checkers and Draughts is an intriguing cross-cultural variation
of the classic faux two-volume book-style game board, usually made for
playing chess, checkers and backgammon; Charlene Matthews' Traveling Dominos
is an elegant version of a traditional book-style card game enclosure
and Dorothy Krause’s wearable book Hanging Out, a souvenir of her
trip to Rome is reminiscent of many souvenir books, wearable and otherwise.
The remaining Bind-O-Rama works are more book art than
blooks; however, they all explore the essence of bookness, our relationship
to the book and historic book structures and the mysteries of the natural
world. Susan Share’s lovely book work, inspired by Hook’s
seventeenth century book, Micrographica, reflects her love of nature,
theater and the book; and in a succinct way it reminds us of the potential
of the book to change us and the world in the most surprising, subtle
and gargantuan ways. Jennifer Whitman and Kirsi Engles entries are luscious,
elaborate book works rich in color, form, playfulness and meaning.
In the New Year, you will have an opportunity to see
my Grolier Club exhibition, Blooks: The Art of Books That Aren’t
(January 28-March 12) in New York City. If you can’t come you can
obtain an illustrated catalog. In this first survey of book-shaped objects,
blooks are presented in fourteen themes. Throughout the experiences of
collecting and interpreting this subject, I have seen how book artists
could draw inspiration and ideas from the blook world, as they have from
historic bookbindings. I’d like to thank Peter Verheyen for sponsoring
the blook-themed Bind-O-Rama and the talented artists who have contributed
Please "right click" on images and select "view"
to see images at full size.
Anita Gangi Balkun, West Hartford, Conn. USA
F. Coiro - Paint Shop
Paint box; vintage stencils and postcards; gold leaf; linen scroll with
copies of Coiro's original letters of recommendation; digital scan from
1930’s original photo. 21 x 29 x 5 cm (closed).
My grandfather Francis Coiro was a fine artist trained in Casserta,
Italy before he immigrated to New Haven, CT. I never knew him, and I’m
fascinated by his work as a painter and muralist. His paint-box still
holds his original paints and I imagined this box as his marketing tool
– a way to promote his trade and skills, and also his source of
income that supported his large family. Coiro’s own stencils and
business card invite you in, and his paintbrush extends beyond the confines
of the physical box. Inside, Coiro greets you in front of his decorative
arts shop (established in New Haven in the 1930’s) with recommendation
letters he received after completing commissioned work (within the linen
scroll). You can also browse through his some of his European art-reproduction
post cards that hang hinged against a gold foil leaf background, all original
to his workshop, left behind and now part of my own artistic tools and
360° of the Word, (2015)
Found box, antique key, lock plate, brass stencils and glasses, hand-stitching.
Cover image design by Rafael Osés. 22 x12 x7 cm.
I teach visual arts in the Creative Writing Department at the CREC Arts
Academy high school. Rafael Osés is my department chair, and also
a thoughtful poet and artist. The major objective of our department is
to teach “360° of the word” – seeing and developing
the ‘word’ from all directions. Our students investigate a
variety of disciplines within the writing curriculum and in response to
our commitment to this exploration, Rafael painted this image of the ‘word’
for a community gallery event at school. He also recently gave me this
box, knowing my love for found objects in my own art process. So his image
and gift became a sculpture that embodies our perspective on teaching
young artists about the power of the ‘word’.
Anita Gangi Balkun approaches emotion and visual story telling through
mixed media artwork. Her work incorporates sensory experiences to spark
memory while incorporating found objects. The ‘everyday’ becomes
the catalyst that inspires Balkun’s interactive books and assemblages,
and the artwork articulates the quiet beauty, grace and playfulness discovered
within the transformation of familiar objects. The straightforward integrity
of the materials allows the sculptural and sometimes interactive aspect
of the artwork to highlight extraordinary qualities of the objects. Balkun
searches for content within the history of the object – its use
or its journey – and incorporates that information as a springboard
to the form. View more works by the artist at www.abalkunart.com.
Kirsi Anna-Maria Engels, Los Altos, CA
Accordeon book; Hand-made paper with monoprints, hand-made lace, and
acrylic paint. 60” x 9” height x 9” (extended).
The book can be "read"/viewed one page at a time, and as a
sculpture stretched out or arranged in a circle.
Folding book; handmade paper from kozo, onion skins, iris leaves, cotton,
cheesecloth; acrylic paint, bees wax. 20” x 25” (extended).
Folding book which shows how to draw a classical labyrinth, and when
the book is unfolded a big labyrinth is on the back side.
My love for our precious environment inspires me to recycle and reuse
discarded objects. I truly enjoy the process of “recreation”.
Through metaphorical images such as flowers, clouds, ocean, ships, birds,
and fire I express deep connectedness to the natural world. I create and
paint combining discarded objects and my memories and wide-ranging emotions
which arise from journey, exploration, and transformation. Creative processes
empower me as I reflect on personal experiences and universal themes such
as dislocation, separation, multiple identity, and intriguing events of
Barbara Adams Hebard, Melrose, MA, USA
Clamshell box structure; spine brown goatskin gilt tooled with title
and single rule; boards covered with hand-stamped Venetian paper; exterior
walls covered with hand-made marble paper. Box interior; left tray lined
with color printed collage made by the binder; silver colored metal crucifix;
right tray lined with decorative paper made by the binder with acrylic
paint; a glass bead secures a silver-colored metal disk holding a cloth
relic embedded in Lucite. 12” x 10” x 3.”
The clamshell box resembles a quarter-leather style book with marble
edged text block. When opened, it is revealed that the book is actually
a reliquary displaying a relic of St. Anthony. The collage on the left
tray contains the universe with angels and crucifix and can be used as
a devotional focal point. The right tray, lined with a background meant
to evoke the brown Franciscan habit worn by St. Anthony, also displays
a third-degree relic. Anthony, the patron of lost things, is dear to bookbinders
because the first missing item that he recovered was a book of Psalms.
Barbara Adams Hebard was trained in bookbinding at the North Bennet
Street School. She worked as Book Conservator at the Boston Athenaeum
for 18½ years before becoming Conservator of the John J. Burns
Library at Boston College in 2009. Ms. Hebard writes book related articles
and reviews, gives talks and presentations, exhibits her bookbindings
nationally and internationally, and teaches book history classes. She
is a Fellow of The International Institute for Conservation of Historic
and Artistic Works, Professional Associate of The American Institute for
Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, and Overseer of the North
Bennet Street School.
Dorothy Krause, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA
Paper pages toned with walnut ink, red leather, red jeweled paper fastener,
rubber necklace. 8.8 x 5.7 x .6 cm.
This miniature artifact was made in Florence, Italy from pieces of an
old book on Michaelangelo. Held together with leather and a jeweled closure,
it became a sculptured necklace -- a wearable reminder of the journey.
Krause is Professor Emerita at Massachusetts College of Art, author
of Book + Art: Handcrafting Artists' Books and Digital Art Studio.
She has been a Visiting Artist or Artist in Residence at the Smithsonian
American Art Museum, the American Academy in Rome, the University of the
Arts in Philadelphia, the Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic
University and currently on Oceania Cruise Lines. Her work, which is in
the collections of more than two dozen museums, combines traditional and
digital media in large-scale mixed media pieces, artist books and book-like
objects that bridge between the two forms. View more works by the artist
Paula Krieg, Salem, New York, USA
This blook is constructed with a traditional case binding: book board,
book cloth, decorative cover and end sheets. The block of the blook made
from a solid piece foamcore that contains a compartment hidden under what
looks like a page of math formulas. 22 x 16.5 x 2 cm.
No student was ever handcuffed while studying the quadratic equation.
While I believe that the overwhelming majority of educators denounce the
in the recent handcuffing and humiliation two students, one who was in
possession of a phone, and the other a clock, it occurs to me that some
students might feel a bit safer having a way to caring these items around
incognito. A Blook which has a compartment for a phone/clock hidden under
a list of must-know mathematical formulas seems like a classroom friendly
solution. Submitted, therefore, is this phone blook, an idea which just
might catch on.
Paula Beardell Krieg has making artist books and teaching book arts
for 25 years. Krieg is drawn to the building of books as a way to explore
how the relationship of elements evolves into structure. This same interest
in deciphering relationships has most recently including a revisiting
of formal math concepts and connecting them to artful expressions. View
more works by the artist at bookzoompa.wordpress.com.
Carolyn Leigh, Tucson, AZ USA
Al-qirq Checkers Draughts +
The Al-qirq Checkers Draughts + blook box and playing board
are constructed with acid-free Davey binder board and Tyvek hinges covered
with acid-free commercial book papers plus Ph-neutral PVA glue, Faber
Castell Pitt pencil, Golden and Daniel Smith acrylics; box sealed with
Golden Archival Gloss Varnish; box and board finished with Renaissance
Wax; game pieces are bottle caps plus aluminum sheeting, BBs and acrylics;
giclée printed pamphlet. 36.5 x 19.5 x 4.5 cm.
The Al-qirq Checkers Draughts + blook contains a board for
both international draughts and American checkers. The American board
uses the colors of the US and Mexican flags to represent the international
border and the divisions that color our borderlands. The lid of the box
has a game board for Al-qirq, the Arabic game that preceded draughts/checkers.
A form of that game came to the Americas as Alquerque. A variant, Awithlaknannai,
is recorded for Zuni Pueblo, NM. That board is on the inside of the box
lid. The game pieces are bottle caps with BBs inside so they rattle during
moves. These games are essentially war games, so the BB shot seem appropriate.
Their colors: silver and gold for Sonora, México, copper and black
(coal) for Arizona, USA represent the mineral wealth that drove the development
of the two states. The box contains a pamphlet, Al-qirq • Alquerque
• Draughts • Checkers, with the history and the rules for
Carolyn Leigh is a painter, book artist and author with studios in Tucson,
Arizona, USA and Sonora, México. She taught Scientific Illustration
and Photography at the University of Arizona until she joined her husband
as a tribal art dealer in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. She is the author
of Art Dealer in the Last Unknown and New Guinea Tribal Art eGuide, plus
Art-Pacific.com, CarolynLeigh.com and RimJournal.com. Her multiple formats
pulse with intense colors and dynamic forms that shape-shift between figurative
and abstract. Her work is represented in collections in the USA, Europe,
Mexico and the South Pacific. View more works by the artist at CarolynLeigh.com.
Charlene Matthews, Los Angeles, CA. USA
Leather case, leather lining, airplane linen headbands. Metal snaps.
Edge blind tooling. Original vintage pencil and vintage lacquered/gilt
Domino playing cards. 6.25 x 3.75 x 2.5 cm.
I found the original leather case with the cards and pencil, but the
case was too decrepit to repair, so a new one was made. The headbands
are of a specific design to hold the book in a semi-closed position when
opened, so the cards do not slide out on their own.
Charlene Matthews in a professional Bookbinder in Los Angeles. View
more works by the artist at charlenematthews.com.
Jana Pullman, Minneapolis, MN
Rounded clamshell box
3 quarter leather clamshell boxes with rounded spines with false raised
bands and handmade marbled paper. The trays are wrapped in a cream-colored
book cloth to give the appearance of pages of a book. 22 x 15 x 4 cm.
When I first saw a photograph of a rounded spine clamshell box I wanted
to make one. I have tried several variation of making this type of box
and enjoy the look of it. I have a blog post on making this here.
Jana Pullman began working with books in 1983 while pursuing her BFA
and MFA degrees in Art. She is currently the owner of Western Slope Bindery
in Minneapolis, specializing in custom binding and repair of books. She
focuses her artistic energies on fine binding and participates in book
exhibitions. During many years of working in book arts, she has been a
printer, papermaker, bookbinder, illustrator, conservator and instructor
in the book arts. View more works by the artist at westernslopebindery.com.
Susan Joy Share, Anchorage, Alaska USA
All panels of Hooke’s Eye fold to the center with a gatefold.
Cut-outs and punches show under-layers in the title and interior panels.
Text appears on the foredge to simulate the pages of a book. Enclosed
within are illustrations and sculptural insect parts to be assembled and
arranged theatrically. This folder construction is made from laminated
layers of hand and machine made paper, crayon, pencil, hairpins, wire
and inkjet prints. 17.8” x 27.9” x 2.5” (closed).
The piece was inspired by Robert Hooke’s Micrographia
(1665), a descriptive, illustrated science book from the University of
Iowa Libraries. The meticulous, detailed illustrations, poetic language,
binding and decorative introductory pages caught my eye. I was most intrigued
by Hooke’s simultaneous investigations of the microscopic and the
telescopic, sparking the imagination. In the wings of insects, he saw
possible clues to human flight. My fantasy blook illustrates a white featherwing’d
moth carrying a man to the moon.
Susan Joy Share has made books since the mid-1970’s, with a focus
on their movement, sound and transformation. She has exhibited, taught
and performed nationally and internationally. Share is included in collections
at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Anchorage Museum and
the Jaffe Center. She worked in book conservation at the Metropolitan
Museum of Art, the New York Historical Society, and The Brooklyn Museum.
Share received grants from the Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska State Council
on the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts. She created public
artwork for Anchorage’s 1% for Art Program. View more works by the
artist at susanjoyshare.com.
Jenifer Wightman, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Asymmetric book with 19 signatures; Artist Proof (edition of 19, in
process); 2014. 23 x 36 x 8 cm.
Tree is a sculptural interpretation of a notable 1990 diagram
published by Carl Woese in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Science. In a brilliant scientific move, Woese and his colleagues compared
the ribosomal-RNA shared by all species and constructed a diagram that
depicts genetic variation between species as they diverged over time.
This genetic Tree of Life, was constructed as a book with 19 signatures
representing major branches of organisms. For example, the red signature
marks the branch that includes all animals. Pages are left blank to suggest
the unknown writings of the next-generation of species - a 'future conditional':
What will have been.
Two modified clamshell ‘books’ wired with Electroluminescent
(EL) tape and lit by a solar panel or AA battery pack; Artist Proof; 2015.
Each clamshell is 15 x 23 x 3 cm.
In a flurry of electron jabs, hooks, and blows, winning TITLE
is a bookish battle between a battery pack and a solar panel to illuminate
text. Each TITLE’d spine is lit by either a solar panel (weighing
in at $12.99) or a battery pack (two AA batteries weigh in at $2.50/pair).
The live bout played out at the Center for Book Arts (April 2015): six
gruesome knockouts left the battery pack in a financial black-out (6 bouts
x $2.50/pair of AA batteries = $15.00); the solar panel won the TITLE!
Jenifer Wightman is a scientist specializing in greenhouse gas mitigation
strategies at Cornell University. She teaches Sustainable Systems at Parsons.
Her art practice began in 2002 and employs scientific tropes to incite
curiosity of ecological phenomena. She is interested in forming an ecological
rationality by reflecting on the co-evolution of a culture and its supporting
ecosystem. Her work is in the collections of the Austrian National Library,
Bodleian Library, Bodmer Museum, Cambridge University Library, Danish
Royal Library, Gutenberg Museum, and Library of Congress. She lives in
Brooklyn, NY. View more works by the artist at www.audiblewink.com.