Book Art

Day 2 at the Cary

Rainbow Galaxy, Ed Hutchins
Rainbow Galaxy, Ed Hutchins


My first day at the Cary Collection at the library at Rochester Institute of Technology was in January. My second day was this past Monday.

I didn’t know that the Cary Collection houses a huge collection of artists’ books. What a surprise! When I asked the guardians of the collection if they had any unusual bindings, they sort of casually pulled out a remarkable assortment. for me to look at and handle. I was there only a few hours, and I wanted to linger over every book they showed me, so I didn’t see a great number of books, but what I did see what great.


Rainbow Galaxy by Ed Hutchins
Rainbow Galaxy by Ed Hutchins

Many of the books, like this one above by Ed Hutchins, are from a collection bequeathed to the Cary by Patricia England. For the most part I didn’t take note of how these books found their way to Rochester, but the name “England” was associated to so many of them that I eventually inquired about it.

Rainbow Galaxy by Ed Hutchins
Rainbow Galaxy by Ed Hutchins

My daughter stopped by when I was looking at this book by Ed Hutchins. Ed knows and has been helpful and encouraging to my daughter over many years so it was quite wonderful for her to see that Ed is represented (by three books) in her college’s collection. She was thoroughly delighted with this book and its message.

Angela holding Ed's Rainbow Galaxy
Angela holding Ed’s Rainbow Galaxy

I’m going to have to split these images of the books that I saw over several days so these posts don’t get too long. Because of the nature of artists’ books it takes multiple photographs to begin to give a sense of each piece. I took like a gazillion photos. I’m not going to post all of them, or even show every book I looked at. What I’m going for here is to give a glimpse of what I’ve glimpsed, wanting to let people know that this amazing collection exists.

Bible, Drums, and Bingo by Gloria Helfgott
Bible, Drums, and Bingo by Gloria Helfgott

Here’s the first two panels opening of this heavy mysterious box by Gloria Helfgott.

Bibles, Drums and Bingo, partially expanded, by Gloria Helfgott,
Bibles, Drums and Bingo, partially expanded, by Gloria Helfgott,

As the inner pieces swing open, accordioned rows flank another mysterious set of doors.

Bibles, Drums and Bingo, third set of double doors opened, by Gloria Helfgott,
Bibles, Drums and Bingo, third set of double doors opened, by Gloria Helfgott,

By the time this tunnel-like accordion center is expanded, I’ve now had to open up three sets of enclosures. This inner sanctum piece has another layer that one might miss. I saw this top-opening structure and wondered if they might be pockets. Turns out, yes, there is a card hidden within each pocket!

Books by Alisa Golden
Books by Alisa Golden

Just coincidentally I’m sure, I saw three separate artists’ books that used this tunnel-like accordion in its construction. It’s an interesting structure because it can be set up in number of different ways. Alisa Golden’s book above works nicely as a tunnel book, as it has an opening in the front when it’s set up like a tunnel, but it’s also lovely to see in this half-star configuration. The little book on the right is Golden’s wonderfully realized version of Hedi Kyle’s fishbone fold book….

by Alisa Golden
Words Collide by Alisa Golden

…which is housed in this remarkable little slipcase.

A Brief History of the Quill by Carol Schwartzott
A Brief History of the Quill by Carol Schwartzott

I also saw three separate piece by Carol Schwartzott, each a tiny masterpiece. These books are filled with content, both writing and images. Here’s one of her books, fully expanded.

 by Carol Schwartzott
by Carol Schwartzott

I was enchanted by every page, even the colophon page, of Schwartzott’s books.

Okay, one more book to show tonight…

Here’s another small treasure this one by Susan Allix.

18 Quotations from Shakespeare;'s Plays by Susan Allix
18 Quotations from Shakespeare;’s Plays by Susan Allix

This little book is full of writing and prints. I was intrigued by all parts of the construction of this book. I can’t sort out what’s going on with how the covers are put together. It’s got a great look. And here’s another surprise: the enclosure for the book is really unusual and stunning.

18 Quotations from Shakespeare;'s Plays tucked away in it's protective sleeve by Susan Allix
18 Quotations from Shakespeare;’s Plays tucked away in it’s protective sleeve by Susan Allix

There’s this little shelf inside the enclosure sleeve which the book slips under. What a cool little package!

That’s it for now!

More to come.

Book Artists

Art in the Mail

Dancer by Hedi Kyle
This is a piece of art that arrived in my mailbox a few years ago

Today I sent three packages of my of work out into the world via the United States Postal Service. There’s something I like about putting art in the mail. Fortunately, the post office works both ways. Sometimes I receive art in the mail. Thinking about this made me want to write about some of the comings and goings to and from my mailbox.

Card from Purgatory Pie Press
New Years card from Purgatory Pie Press

The most recent piece of art I received in the mail was from Esther and Dikko and Georgia and Polly at Purgatory Pie Press. This card was hand set by Dikko Faust with AlphaBlox. The card is printed on a gold paper. It shimmers and glows and catches the light in unexpected ways. I am very happy to have this building-block like number card here at my desk.

Holiday Card from Joan
Holiday Card from Joan

During the holiday season Joan, a woman I’ve known since high school sent me this handmade card. Although Joan and I had mutual friends in high school, she and I never specifically made a connection. She happened to marry someone I who I consider a dear friend, and, although he and I don’t communicate directly much anymore, Joan and I have gotten into this rhythm of sending each other a hand-made card every year. It’s a tradition that makes me very happy. Every card she sends me is more lyrical and charming than the last. It’s always a wonderous surprise to open the envelope that carries her designs to me.

Card by Ed Hutchin
Card by Ed Hutchins

Occasionally I will get knock-your-socks off card from Ed Hutchins. His envelopes are also distinctive and memorable. This was a card was one that he made for the WCC Art Club–can’t remember what that organization is, but he was telling me about it, then he sent me the card. I am grateful to have anything that Ed sends me, but this pop-up is a sight to behold. While folding and unfolding the card, the words THANK and YOU pivot in opposite directions, either fanning open, or nesting into each other as the card closes. Not counting the planes of the base of the paper, there are five popping up planes in this card.

Dancer by Hedi Kyle
by Hedi Kyle

This lovely little dancing book came to me from Hedi Kyle a few years ago. The sash extending from her waist says “spin  wheel  reel  twirl  swivel  swirl  pirouette”. I keep her hanging up high where she stays safe, but close enough that I can enjoy her presence. Sometimes she seems to glow.

Books to Fill by Paula B Krieg
Books to Fill

This set of books was sent today, from me to Tammy in Saskatoon, Sk Canada. Tammy teaches elementary school, and, from what I can gather, she runs a bookmaking club, and has been doing this for years. Her last note to me made reference to her bookmaking club that was meeting today at lunchtime. I don’t know Tammy, except through this blog, and it pleases me to be able to send her and her students these books.

sending out books
Heading out

Last picture. These two packages went out today, one to Minnesota, the other to Texas. Can flip-books be in Beta? These books are going out to teachers who have expressed a willingness to look them over and, hopefully, be able to give me some feedback on how students respond to them. This is the first time that I have asked for a collaborative interface with my books from people I don’t actually know. I’m really interested in seeing how this goes. I have a good feeling about it, and  I hope that I can find more ways to do this kind of exchange in the future.

Some of best things that come to me from afar don’t come through the postal service, nor can I even touch them. What I am thinking about now is a comment that was left here a few weeks ago. Iris wrote to me saying about my blog: ” It is sent and used recently to a refugee school in Indonesia, founded last year by friend from Afghanistan, refugees themselves. They made books with the youngest kids in an instant and are happy to be informed and taught.” What a gift it was to hear this!

Tomorrow I travel up to Bolton Landing to work on planning out projects with teachers and students, pre-k through seventh grade. These collaborations are the best.


8 1/2" x 11" Book Making · Book Artists · simple book binding

Making Books with Ed Hutchins

This past Saturday Ed Hutchins presented a three-hour workshop as part of the Book Arts Summer in Salem event. Ed is the kind of book artist and teacher that I would recommend taking a workshop with no matter what it is he is teaching. So of course I signed up.

As everyone’s style of teaching is different I am pleased when I can be a student in a book arts class. Ed chose to show us how to make four different books using half sheets of regular copy paper. He offered Canson Mi-Tientes paper for the covers. The photo above, shows how Ed “set the table” for this class.

All the books that we made were sewn with a basic three-station pamphlet stitch. Even though these books look nearly identical in style, don’t be fooled by the outside covers…

We made a book with a pocket in the cover, and a book with tabbed covers, based on a Keith Smith design as well as a simple pamphlet .

Here’s the tabbed and folded cover in-progress. Ed provided a template for the tabbed cover, and even scored the fold lines to help facilitate the creation of this cover.

We also made a book with two groupings of papers sewn in onto separate folds….

…and to give the inside a raison d’etre, we added place holders for an image.

After we made each book, Ed made a point of talking about content. His message was ‘These are not to be blank books. You have lots of interesting things to say! ‘

He asked us to brainstorm on what we would put into the books. Here are some of the things that we and he came up with

  • poems
  • jokes
  • recipes
  • details of last night’s lobster dinner
  • leaf prints,
  • drawings
  • autographs
  • collage of a trip
  • a big eye
  • weather report
  • weather response
  • photos
  • family history
  • overheard conversations
  • rubber stamps
  • stamps harvested from our fan mail
  • phobias
  • what stood out about today
  • plans for tomorrow

Speaking of plans for tomorrow, my plan for tomorrow is prepare for the workshop that I will be teaching on July 30, as part of BASIS. In the next few days I will be starting to write about the structure, Hedi Kyle’s Blizzard Book, that I will be presenting. I am looking forward to having this excuse to make one variation after the other of these Blizzard Books!