Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Geographies: New England Book Work, the New England Chapter of The Guild of Book Workers 2014 – 2015 Exhibition

It’s exciting as book workers to apply our hand skills and creativity in projects outside of the regular work we do day-to-day. For some of us it means rebinding a book in a more decorative way than usual, for others it is using the entire book form as a means of artistic expression, both inside and out.

Three members of the Preservation Services staff, Deborah Howe, Sarah Smith, and Stephanie Wolff, exhibit new personal work in the New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers exhibition, Geographies: New England Book Work. The exhibition highlights members’ recent work whose content has a New England connection. It opened March 3rd at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Fleet Library. It then travels to The University of Southern Maine, University of Vermont, Williams College, Dartmouth College, and ends at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, CT in the fall of 2015. Its Dartmouth College appearance is slated for April – August of 2015 in the Berry Library.

                                         Deborah Howe’s Reading the Forested Landscape

Deborah Howe bound a copy of Tom Wessels’ Reading the Forested Landscape. Deborah writes this about her book, “This is a rebinding of the text of Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England by Tom Wessels and images by Brian Cohen. The materials chosen reminded me of the nature which the book is about. I had the wood veneer waiting to use it for the perfect project and this seemed like the one. The colors relate to the woods on a quiet slightly damp day.”

                          Sarah Smith’s A Map of New England, which Being… (book view)

Sarah Smith’s artist book A Map of New England, which Being in Some Places Defective, Shewing Particular Features from the Curious Woodcut Map of John Foster for William Hubbard in 1677: Presented by Percival & Byron and their Favorite Cartouches is a single sheet hand-drawn pen and ink map of New England, which can be read as a book or laid out flat for seeing the bigger picture of the region.

Sarah writes, “This book—currently a prototype intended for editioning—is inspired by the visual language of maps dating from before 1900. William Hubbard’s 1677 publication including “A Map of New England,” a woodcut carved and printed by John Foster was particularly inspiring. Some favorite features from the map are displayed in this book along with some cartouches (decorative “frames” which typically held a map’s title). Various historic maps and cherubs influenced the drawing of these cartouches. Percival and Byron assist in arraying the images on a map of New England and its modern boundaries.”

                       Sarah Smith’s A Map of New England, which Being… (flat open view)

                                                  Stephanie Wolff’s Sweet New England

Stephanie Wolff’s Sweet New England highlights a selection of confections that originated in the New England region, including the popular commercial treats Sugar Daddy, Necco Wafer, and Charleston Chew, and of course the classic New England sweet: maple sugar candy. Pages consist of hand-stenciled illustrations and letterpress printed text bound in a drum-leaf style, cloth case binding.

For more information about the exhibition, check out the Guild of Book Worker’s New England Chapter website.

Written by Stephanie Wolff

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