Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Artists' Books at the University of Utah, Part 2

The Artists' Books class I am taking at the University of Utah is a bit different than I was expecting: less making of books and more exploring the philosophy of bookworks. There is a lot of reading and some interesting discussion of what is "book arts." We do have to create four major works and several quick books based on class demonstrations. I must also do a 5 to 10 minute oral book artist report on the 22 of February. I chose Johanna Drucker as my subject. The rare books department at the university has copies of three of her bookworks that I may use in my report. They do not have Twenty-Six '76 Let Hers: Not A Matter of Permission, but there is a fascinating  page from that book on the Internet that I will use.

The second week of the class, Luise Poulton, of the university library Special Collections/Rare Books division presented a History of the Book and Artists' Books (pre-1960), wherein we were able to handle and closely examine 21 books from the collection. That may not sound too exciting for some people, but it is like I told my wife when I spent as much time as I could in the art museums in Washington, D.C: It is one thing to view a work of art in a printed source or on the computer screen, but it is an entirely different emotional experience to stand before the actual, physical object and embrace the reality of the object. I took notes on several of the bindings and formats used by the book artists so that I can experiment with my own books.

Last week we participated in paper decoration: paste papers, stenciling, various image transfer methods, all of which I have done numerous times; and Suminagashi, which I had seen demonstrated before but had not yet done myself. We then made a small accordion fold book with the decorated papers.

Yesterday was session number seven. Bill and Vicky Stewart, owners of Vamp and Tramp Booksellers, brought a wonderful selection of the books that they travel around the United States selling to collectors and libraries. There were several that I would have liked to buy, but they are way out of my price range. I will just have to make my own.

In the second batch of readings that we discussed last night in the class, there were several lines and paragraphs that jumped out at me. The following is from Book Arts in the USA by Richard Minsky, founder of the Center for Book Arts:
A single copy of a book is a curious thing. Even when part of a large edition, it is rarely considered disposable. People have books on their shelves that they haven't looked at in years, yet they don't throw them out or even give them away. A passing glance at the shelf gives a reassuring feeling, a reminder of the knowledge one has absorbed. They are old friends, these volumes, and just seeing them reminds us not only of their stories or facts, but of the time we spent with them. ...
In Book Arts the container works with the content. ...


belann said...

Could you maybe show us some of your new creations? Sounds most interesting.

oldlibraryman said...

I need to take some pictures, then I will post.

Bridger Larsen said...

This is very nice mr. goodman thank you for having my honors reading and language arts classes learn how to do a small person of this. It made me open up my eyes about paper and books. Thank you a ton.
Bridger Larsen :)
7th Grade Boys Vice President :)