Book Art · Book Artists

Susan Share, Penland, and Me

Zip-off Fence, Susan Joy Share
Zip-off Fence, Susan Joy Share

This summer I get to spend a week with Susan J Share at Penland in North Carolina.

I went searching for Susan J Share a good many years ago when we were in our twenties  I had seen some of her bookarts pieces in a show at a Soho Gallery, and had found her work to be so compelling that I immediately wanted to be friends with her. Life-long friends.

I am a patient person. I reasoned that, since we were both part of a small swath of NYC people who were passionately interested in making books, that our paths would cross.

I remember the first time I saw her. She walked into the Center for Book Arts (original Bowery location), but I wasn’t able to BFF her at that moment.  Darn.

Above the Tree Line, Susan J Share
Above the Tree Line, Susan J Share

I started volunteering weekly at the bindery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, under Mindell Dubansky. Susan worked in the bindery as  well, but on a different day than me. She and Mindell became fast friends. Mindell would sometimes chat on the phone with Susan while I was in the bindery. I was so jealous.

At some point, though, Susan and I were at MMA on the same day. I don’t exactly know if there was a defining event in our friendship, but if there was, it was this: Susan was teaching a children’s bookmaking  workshop at the Castle in Central Park, and I asked if I could assist her. Which I did. My first book arts teaching experience. I loved it.

Steel Horizon, Susan J Share
Steel Horizon, Susan J Share

Susan and I went on to share many bookarts experiences. She got me started working with kids in schools through Franklin Furnace’s Sequential Art for Kids program. When she and Henry Pelham-Burns created the bindery at the New-York Historical  Society, I worked with them one day a week. When Susan was looking for studio space, I was able to point her towards a place to rent in the same building I was living in. It was such a gift to be able to chat with her when we’d bump into each other in the course of our days.

Be the Queen Bee, Susan Joy Share
Be the Queen Bee, Susan Joy Share

Eventually Susan married Paul and moved to Alaska, and I married Bill and moved upstate. Still, Susan I  see each other, support each other and remain close. As luck would have it, Susan’s brother Ike lives about 45 minutes from me, so I see her here when she comes for family visits.

Now here’s the absolutely most wonderful thing: Susan is teaching a class at Penland  at the end of August. She asked if I would come down and be her assistant for the week. OMG. A week with Susan Share.

Be the Queen Bee (detail), Susan J Share
Be the Queen Bee (detail), Susan J Share

If anyone would like to be there, here’s the class description:

Susan Joy Share
Books & Boxes

Books and boxes are a natural fit. They may be a set or structurally integrated. They can enhance each other and the experience of opening and discovery. We’ll experiment with formats, including books sewn on tapes, paper enclosures, cloth-covered folding boxes, and Jacob’s Ladder boxes. We’ll generate content with paint, pencil, crayon, and collage. Students will create unique pieces as we fold, sew, glue, wrap, reveal, and engineer. This hands-on workshop includes demonstrations, lectures, and sample books. All levels. Code 07B

Here’s the link

I haven’t been on an adventure like this in a long time. Am so looking forward to it!

OMG a week making art with Susan Share!

2 thoughts on “Susan Share, Penland, and Me

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