Guild of Book Workers

Some of my favorite works from the Guild of Book Workers.

Above, a swirly book by Adam Watson.

The archetype of Adam Watson’s ‘Skwirly’ books, the little dodecapod looks poised to scuttle off back to sea…. A blank book, bound in handdyed, contorted cow hide with calf spine. 30 x 27 x 27 centimeters. Created 2004.

What amazing manipulation of leather! This sort of book sculpture is so impressive in that it is a beautiful, organic form in of itself, as well as still a book. It reminds the viewer how transformative the experience of a book can be. Acknowledging how tactile and organic his work is, he says:

I like to call myself a maker of books, rather than bookbinder — I create books from scratch using techniques that have remained unchanged in a thousand years. I am led by my materials and what they can do: leather, cow-hide, linen, wood, paper, but nature is the foundation for my creativity. Sometimes this may be a direct visual influence, sometimes something much more subtle. I like to think there is a natural feel to my work — that the viewer will want to pick a piece up, much as one would pick up an interesting bit of wood on a walk.

“Bird Book” by Chela Metzger. An appropriate title for a book that looks like it’s about to take off out of a cozy paper nest. From the site:

Blank book covered in full goat parchment using a laced-case structure. The text is sewn on parchment straps laced through the cover, with a silk front-bead endband sewn on a flat parchment core. The covering parchment is attached to the case using mechanical non-adhesive methods. The wings and nest are cut from goat skin parchment. 15 x 10 x 3 centimeters. Created 2005.

“Outside the Realm of Time” by Nancy Leavitt.

Like music, sometimes a text does not have to be understood to be enjoyed, for literature can be as magical as music. My goal was to sing these texts with my hands. The text for Out of the Realm of Time is taken from lyrics of 18th-century Italian arias composed by Caldara, Handel, and Scarlatti. The book is written and painted in gouache on handmade paper by Katie MacGregor, Whiting, Maine. Joelle Leavitt Webber, Mermaid Bindery, Westport, Maine completed the wooden binding and box containing stones. Glass artist, Alison Thibault, Bucksport, Maine created the glass stones. 33.5 x 23 x 4 centimeters. Created 2006.

About Nancy Leavitt:

Nancy Ruth Leavitt, born in 1953, is a calligrapher specializing in hand-lettered manuscript books. Her work is represented in many prestigious private and public collections. As Calligraphy Correspondent for the Guild of Book Workers, she writes about lettering and book arts for the Newsletter. She has received several artist grants from the Maine Arts Commission for her research into the history of her craft, and in 2002 she received the Stephen Harvard Award for book design.

“Headbanded Strip” by Susan Joy Share (what a name!). A very cool mini-accordion book with a hand-sewn headband all along the top.

One in a series of twenty-one headbanded strips. Materials are handmade paper, waxed linen cord, crayon, colored pencil, photo, gel medium, acrylic, gut. The strips each have a sewn headband across the length of the top edge, cut-outs, insets, and drawing. 9 x 65 x 9 centimeters. Created 2004.

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Naomi Bardoff
Naomi Bardoff
In 2010 Naomi Bardoff graduated from Bard College, where she majored in fine arts and studied watercolor, ink drawing, and book-making. She has also taken classes at the Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts. Since moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, Naomi has been working on her illustration portfolio, working in offices, and volunteering and taking classes at the San Francisco Center for the Book. In addition to the SFCB blog, she blogs on her art blog, naomese - naomi bardoff's art blog; and pins to her Pinterest boards. Her own book work can be found on her website.

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