North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

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Tuesday, February 13, 2024


Thank you Kris Nevius for teaching your Flag Book with Pull-Up Envelopes at our February workshop. Who knew that adding cute little envelopes with special pull-up messages or artwork to a simple accordion structure could make such a great gift card or book. A very nice aspect to this structure is that it can be made as just a single fold card or an accordion of any length. The sizes of the envelopes and the base structure are easy to change. Featured below are some of the books made during or after the workshop.

Cover of Mary Elizabeth Nelson's
 (aka Emmy) larger sized book

The accordion size is now 3"x30".

Emmy used paste paper for the envelopes.

A fun discovery was that it would stand up in a star shape.

Margaret Beech

Margaret used flower cut-outs from a card 
for her envelope inserts.

Bonnie Julien

Eco-dyed paper was used for the envelopes.

Cancelled stamps with flower photos
were used for the inserts.

Dolores Guffey used ponytail bands as a closure.

The poem, Monday's Child, was used in the inserts.

Dolores used her beautiful marbled paper.

Sherrill Story

Very cute plaid envelopes with flat paper "beads".

Notes from the Art Lab

by Bonnie Halfpenny

 Create a Little Magic! 
When I am involved in creating individual works, my piece sometimes seems too small a thing to spend so much time on.  I would like to share some quotes from Rick Rubin's book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being, that Michele Kamprath highlighted back in the August newsletter.  Although known mostly for his work with musicians, Rubin has insightful things to say about all forms of creativity.

  • "It's not unusual for science to catch up to art, eventually.  Nor is it unusual for art to catch up to the spiritual.
  • We tend to think of the artist's work as the output.  The real work of the artist is a way of being in the world.
  • The work reveals itself as you go.
  • Failure is the information you need to get where you are going.
  • A work of art is not an end point in itself.  It's a station on a journey.  A chapter in our lives.  We acknowledge these transitions by documenting each of them.
  • We are dealing in a magic realm.  Nobody knows why or how it works.
  • Living in discovery is at all times preferable to living through assumptions.
  • Making art is a serious matter.  Harnessing creative energy from Source.  Shepherding ideas into the physical plane.  Participating in the cosmic cycle of creation.  The opposite is also true.  Making art is pure play.
  • The reason we are alive is to express ourselves in the is a universal way to send messages between each other and through time."

I especially like the idea that art is about recording where you are at the moment.  It is hard to read this book without feeling that participating in the arts is essentially helping to create a better world, right now, as we work, one piece at a time. 

Monday, January 29, 2024


Our February 2024 valentine month workshop will be a wonderful little flag book with many envelopes to hold messages or small pieces of art. Our instructor will be Kris Nevius. Templates and paper suggestions for the envelopes and inserts will be sent when you register.


  • Accordion Cover: 2" x 18" grain short
  • Envelopes: 6 envelopes for inside of the book and, optional, 1 or 2 more for the front cover and inside or outside of the back cover.
  • Inserts: one for each envelope
  • Belly Band: 5/8" x 8 1/2"
  • Envelope folding guide: (on the envelope template page) and insert guide (on the insert sheet)
  • Thread: 8" or so for each envelope. Waxed linen is good.
  • Attachments for pull string: beads, at least 2 per envelope. Or use a 3/8" circle punch or 3/8" square punch to punch out 2 circles or squares per envelope. Or just cut out small squares.
  • Tools: scissors, Exacto knife, ruler, pencil, cutting mat, awl, bone folder, corner rounder, glue stick or other glue to glue the envelopes, scrap paper to glue on.


Print out:

  • Envelope template page onto cardstock or acetate
  • Insert page onto cardstock or heavier scrapbook paper or the like. Add content if desired.

Cut out:

  • Accordion cover paper: Mi-Teintes works well for this.
  • Envelope template and envelope folding guide
  • 6-8 envelopes, using envelope template. Use a paper that will fold easily, but not tear easily. Kris used paste paper done on Arches Text Wove.
  • Inserts: 6-8. Use a corner rounder on all 4 corners if desired.
  • Insert guide (on insert page)
Keep envelope template handy for reference during class.

When:  Saturday, February 10 at 10 a.m. PST
Where: On your computer, tablet or smartphone via Zoom
RSVP:   Dolores Guffey by Feb. 5 to receive the password & PDF's
Workshop questions: Kris Nevius,
Zoom questions: Bobbie Hayes
Contact information is in the newsletter

Wednesday, January 17, 2024


Thank you Carol Du Bosch for teaching us such a fun project for the first NORBAG workshop of 2024. The structure is so easy and adaptable that I'm sure it will become a favorite of our members. The fact that no glue or stitching is required is especially appealing.

This was one of the popular "books" we
made. It would make an excellent $5 gift
or favor for a grandchild. And of course
it could be made in any denomination.

Notes from the Art Lab

by Bonnie Halfpenny

It is always fun to find new a resource that helps us learn more about book arts, whether it is a new book, a class, or a web resource. I don't know how many of you are familiar with Four Keys Book Arts, but they have an amazing amount of free, low-keyed, well produced instructional videos on traditional book binding and related topics that have captured my attention recently. These videos run the gamut from a four-part series called "Book Binding Basics" (each about 1/2 hour), to an advanced five-part set, "Making Medieval Books".  Other single videos can be as simple as "Upcycled Pocket Notebooks", or as specialized as "Making Book Hardware""Making Tiger-Eyed Marble Paper", or "Hand Binding A Christmas Carol".

If you are looking for a refresher, or are wanting to try new techniques, this is an easy and accessible resource, available at no cost. Besides an Instagram account which provides much eye candy, the company also maintains an Etsy shop where they sell high-quality leather-bound journals, marbled papers, vintage papers, and much more.

Monday, January 1, 2024



Welcome to 2024! What will this year offer for NORBAG book artists? What are your goals or wishes for 2024? Do you hope to learn new structures or techniques, or are you looking to perfect the skills you currently possess? Probably it is a little of both. Have you made any resolutions regarding book art for 2024 that you could share with us? We would love to hear about your ideas, accomplishments or suggestions. Let’s make 2024 the year we all try something new and share it with our fellow NORBAGERS!

Our first workshop of 2024 will be an Origami-Fold Book taught by Carol DuBosch. This delightful, folded structure is made without sewing or gluing: the folds on the spine both secure the pages and hold the book together. If lightweight paper is used for the pages, two or more pages can be inserted into each spine section and folded together. The size and proportions of the book can be varied; however, the structure works best with a horizontal or square format. Regardless of the proportions of the Origami-Fold Book, the width of its spine is always equal to the height of its pages.

Supply List:

  • Printed PDF files: to be sent upon your RSVP
  • Bone Folder
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Cutting Mat
  • Metal Ruler
When:   Saturday, January 13 at 10 a.m. PST
Where:  On your computer, tablet, or smartphone via Zoom
RSVP:    To Dolores Guffey by January 8 to receive the password and PDF
Workshop Questions: Carol DuBosch
Zoom Questions: Bobbie Hayes
Contact information is in the Newsletter

A Book of Days

by Betty Steckman

Stuck? Out of ideas? Maybe a Book of Days is just the thing to get your mind in gear again. A Book of Days is like a small journal or scrapbook that you can work on for a week or a month or as long as you like, and put into it whatever pleases or comforts you. You can use scraps from your paper stash and odd bits and pieces that you've been saving for no particular purpose. You can get fancy with your book structure, but you don't have to--this book is just for you.

The discipline of making a Book of Days is to do something every day of the month. It doesn't have to be much--a rubber stamp, a sticker or two, a leaf, a limerick or a favorite quote. Or it could be more elaborate, like a tiny collage. Sometimes I've written about what happened that day or how I felt. I write about the weather sometimes, or the phase of the moon. Some of my books feature historical events or celebrations. I've included poems appropriate to the season, haiku that reflect my grief or joy, silly rhymes or sayings, a Biblical quote or two, a song lyric. the point is to put something, however small, on paper every day.

Sometimes my pages are all one color and type of paper, but often they're a hodgepodge of different colors and textures. You can add pockets, pop-outs, inserts, folds, pull-outs--whatever pleases you. You can bind your pages any way you like. Many of mine are bound as multiple signatures over ribbons, with hard covers. A few are stab-stitched; and two have a Coptic binding. Sometimes I do the pages first and then bind them, and sometimes I make a blank book with enough pages for the month, and fill it in as the month progresses. Sometimes a day takes a double-page spread, sometimes only one page.

The first Day book I made was in March 2012. It was a real mess in some ways because I made it quickly with odd scraps pieced together. I was in a hurry to get the structure made in February of that year because my favorite cat was dying, and I wanted a blank book to write in after she passed. Many of the pages include haiku or quotations about loss and grief, but there were also happy days, and I was sure to commemorate them as well. It's still a comfort and pleasure to turn those pages and remember those times.

And then there were the two books I made in 2020--May and December. It was important to me to chronicle what it was like to live through that first year of the COVID lockdown. Several of the pages feature cartoon images of knights in full armor setting off to go grocery shopping or run some other errand. I noted on two or three pages the terrifying statistics on hospitalizations and deaths. There were some dark cartoons here and there, like the iconic doctor of the Middle Ages, fully cloaked with his black hat, stick and beaked mask. These books are sobering to look through, not much fun but they tell an important story.

But I have the most fun with the books that focus mainly on notable events and people, with a sprinkling of quotes and poems appropriate to that month. Famous people's birthdays, holidays and commemorations offer many possibilities. All of the books I've made so far have given me a little project each day, supplied an outlet for my thoughts and emotions, and like a snapshot, have frozen in time things that were important or enjoyable. It's a very freeing exercise, to make a record of whatever you want in whatever format you want, and in the process use up some scraps and have a creative blast with just the nudge of doing something every day. 
Give it a try!

Monday, December 11, 2023


Our annual Holiday Card exchange took place on December 9. Once upon a time this event was a great opportunity for our local members to get together to celebrate the season and display the cards at Sandy Vrem's lovely home. Sadly the pandemic put a stop to that, but it also got us acquainted with Zoom so that we could expand the celebration to include our out-of-town members. Around 30 members attended the event to see the unveiling of the 22 cards in the 2023 exchange. The difference between this exchange and the rest of our monthly exchanges is that members sign up in advance and then make one card for every member in the exchange, plus one for the NORBAG library. We rarely have more than 30 participants so it isn't too difficult to get all the cards finished in time and delivered or mailed to Dolores before the second Saturday in December.

This year was another wonderful example of the creativity of our members. Some cards featured Christmas, some the New Year or the Solstice and some utilized recycling techniques. We asked each artist to introduce themselves by saying where they live and how they learned about NORBAG before they described their card. It was amazing to learn that some of us have been members for more than 20 years while others have just joined this year. Here is an interesting statistic from Dolores, the keeper of all the records. This year we had 22 members who made 22 cards each for a total of 484 cards. If we go back to the first year of exchanging holiday cards in 1995 and add up all the cards made since then, it is a grand total of 21,670 cards!  With members participating from the UK and Canada as well as across the US, we are truly a global organization! 

Individual photographs of each of the exchange cards will be on our Flickr site in about a week. Until then please enjoy these two group photographs of the cards.

Happy Holidays from NORBAG!

Monday, November 27, 2023


 Our December Zoom meeting will be the presentation of the Holiday Cards Exchange. Twenty-two members participated this year, and they will share with us their inspiration along with the structure and design of their cards. The photograph below of cards (from previous years) shows many different ideas that our creative members have found to illustrate the spirit of the season. As time permits, after sharing the cards, we will have a "visiting" time amongst us to exchange best wishes and hopes for the new year. May it be one of continuing creativity.

When:    Saturday, December 9, 10 a.m. PST
Where:   On your computer, tablet or smartphone via Zoom
RSVP:     To Dolores Guffey by Dec. 4 to receive the password
Zoom Questions:  Bobbie Hayes
Contact information is in the newsletter

Notes from the Art Lab

by Bonnie Halfpenny

I get excited every time the newsletter comes, but especially in November, when book themes for the new year are unveiled! I immediately photocopy the page and put the list where I can often refer to it. Eventually I rewrite it, as I find I need more space between each suggestion to scribble down my ideas. My first thoughts are pretty basic, but at least they get me going.

January - Old photos (Who can't wait to use them? Vacations? Kids? Historical?)

February - Valentines (There is always a new way to tell someone they are special.)

March - Junk Journal (Don't we all have plenty of "junk" or "treasures" waiting to be displayed?)

April - Book with a Surprise (Pockets? Boxes? Foldouts?)

May - Compendium/Project Page (From the vast assortment of earlier newsletters--almost any idea works.)

June - The Private Lives of Everyday Objects (Guaranteed to get your imagination going!)

July - Exquisite Corpse (I have loved these crazy mix and match books since I was a child.)

August - Pangram (A real mind stretcher for me!)

September - Second Chance (Who doesn't have a couple around to choose from?)

October - Leaf (So perfect for Fall; then, there is the other kind of leaf.)

November - A Fabric Book (An excuse to stitch and show off some of those fabulous threads, buttons, ribbons and fabric scraps that collect over the years.)

December - Holiday Cards (A favorite part of the season.)

Just thinking about the possibilities and what kind of structure fits these ideas is a fun thing to do. Meeting a deadline can be a challenge, but even if I don't finish I can usually apply those ideas or pieces to another project. Receiving an always interesting book in the mail a bit later and seeing how someone else took a completely different approach to the same idea just adds to the payoff.

Here's hoping we all have a happy & creative 2024!

Tuesday, November 14, 2023


 The November workshop provided an opportunity for us to make a small book that could contain monthly calendar pages for 2024. This little book could easily fit in your purse, pocket or not take up much space on a desk. It was a fun, easy structure to make that provided different ways to sew or glue the binding. Any artwork could be used on the pages instead of the calendar pages that were provided. Thank you Dolores Guffey for teaching us the Herringbone structure.

Here are some examples of our books.

Bonnie Julien

"Birds" book, only 2" tall, features bird postage stamps.

Calendar book with pamphlet stitch binding.

Margaret Beech
Butterfly book with Japanese stab binding.

Margaret Beech

Margaret glued the pages together first, then
punched holes with her Japanese screw punch 
before stitching over a strip of black cardstock.

Sherrill Story

Sherrill's book opened out.

Notes from the Art Lab

by Bonnie Halfpenny

Recently I was at Indiana University in Bloomington and toured the Lilly Library.  The Lilly is an exceptionally fine manuscript and rare book institution with a sizable collection of artists' books.

To showcase some developments in publishing, they had an interesting exhibit on the proliferation of book formats in Victorian times.  We saw stacks of penny dreadfuls with titles such as Black Bess, Knight of the Road, or The Wild Boys of London.  There were copies of the earliest "magazines" with serial novels, all printed on poor quality wood pulp paper to keep costs down.  Nearly every aspect of printing became mechanized during this period and demand for low-cost reading material was overwhelming.  At the same time, the development of inexpensive printing and color techniques helped make books more attractive.

From the rare books collection we were shown an exquisitely decorated medieval Book of Hours, a Gutenberg Bible, a First Folio of Shakespeare, a book on foot care from Marie Antoinette's library, and Thomas Jefferson's personal copy of the Bill of Rights (with some corrections).

Also available upon request are items from the extensive collection of artists' books at the university.  Some are housed in the Lilly, while the Wells Library, also on campus, has over 2000.  Lilly's website at has a wealth of information on various topics related to their holdings.

Below are a few photos of handmade books I saw there.  The first work was by an amateur artist, and the second set of three photos are images of work by Timothy Ely, a contemporary professional. Ely's work is readily searched online from Wikipedia, also from and other sources.

The photo below is of a long "letter" by a 19th century sailor to his girlfriend detailing his voyage, and asking her to wait for him.  Alas, he was rejected.


The following photos are contemporary books, unique and hand-drawn, by Timothy Ely, a Northwest native.