Tuesday, September 15, 2020


NORBAG is continuing our monthly workshops thanks to Zoom. Our September workshop was a great success due to the advance planning of our host, Bobbie Hayes, and facilitator, Edge Gerring. Edge led us through each step to make a box with a hinged lid, completely covered with decorative paper. She had provided us with directions and exact measurements ahead of time, so we were ready to begin when the workshop started. The assembly went smoothly since it was well paced from one step to the next. Bobbie did a fantastic job of monitoring the progress by watching participants on the screen to see when most of us lifted our heads to be ready for the next instruction. After we finished the boxes we held them up to the screen so that everyone could see the creative papers that were used. Thank you Edge for taking the fear out of making a box!

Covering the outside of the box

Covering the inside of the box

Attaching the lid

Lid attached

Edge's finished box

Showing our boxes

The September workshop was our fourth Zoom meeting and we've had around 40 members join us each time. While there isn't much good news about the pandemic, the upside is that all of us have the opportunity to gather together once a month regardless of where we live. It has been great fun to see and visit with members from across the country and the “pond” that we've only known by name. Currently 65% of our members live outside of Humboldt County and coincidently about that same percentage represents the out-of-town members who have been joining us on Zoom.  

It doesn’t seem possible that
25 years have slipped away since 15 fellow book arts enthusiasts gathered together to form the North Redwoods Book Arts Guild under the leadership of Shereen LaPlantz. Book art was a relatively new medium in 1995 and Shereen’s book Cover to Cover had just been published. This was one of the first “how-to” books to introduce the wonderful world of book arts to new artists.

Of the original 15 charter members, four are still members today. By the end of our first year we had 48 members. Today we number 160 from 15 different states as well as four international members from Canada and England.

Our monthly newsletter is the real “glue” that holds our guild together. September 2020 will mark the 300th newsletter produced by a team of very dedicated members. Besides this blog we also have a website and Flickr site where we showcase the beautiful exchange books each month.

One activity that has been constant since the beginning is our voluntary book exchange in which members can participate. Themes are suggested by the members and assigned for each month except December and February. In December members sign up in advance to participate in a card exchange where we make an edition of holiday cards, one for each member who signs up. February is always a Valentine theme where we make a single card to exchange.

We have no idea what 2021 will have in store for us, but for now we will try to stay connected through our newsletter, blog, and Zoom meetings. Twenty-Five Years…and still going strong! Here’s to all of us who share a love of book arts!

Monday, August 31, 2020


Our September workshop on Zoom will feature Edge Gerring teaching us how to make a basic hinged lid box. These basics will give you an understanding so you can move on to make any size box you want, or try different types of boxes. We will make the box shown below, which is 3" x 4" x 1 3/4" and was made to accommodate two decks of playing cards, stacked.

Once you RSVP for the class, instructions for preparing the box parts will be emailed to you, along with the Zoom link. In order for the box to be completed during the class, please have the cardboard and cover paper pieces cut and ready. We will glue the box together and apply the covering papers to the box during the class. A lift tab of some sort is optional. Edge used a paper bead rolled out of the covering paper on the box shown.


  • cutting knife with extra blades (sharp blades are essential)
  • metal ruler
  • pencil
  • bone folder
  • glue applicator (brush, foam brush or roller)
  • small, pointed scissors
  • damp rag (for cleaning fingers)

Optional Tools:

  • right angle (see through is best but not required)
  • sanding block with 100 grit sandpaper wrapped and glued to it
  • right angle with bumper guide to help with mitering corners of box
  • wax paper, or other no-stick paper or surface
  • jar of water (for cleaning brushes)


  • 7" x 8 1/2" piece of 1/16th thick mat board. Figure direction of grain and put pencil marks to indicate it on one side.
  • PVA (Tacky Glue is also okay for box assembly)
  • 2 pieces of 8 1/2" x 11" cover paper (the thicker the paper the harder to use on a small box)
  • rolled paper bead or other lid lift tab (optional)
Please feel free to call or email Edge for clarification on any of the tools or materials. Her contact information is in the newsletter.

September Box Making Meeting Details:

When:     Saturday, Sept. 12 at noon Pacific time
Where:    On your computer, tablet or smartphone via Zoom
RSVP:      To Dolores Guffey by September 7 to receive password
Contacts: To Bobbie Hayes regarding Zoom; Edge Gerring regarding the workshop. Contact information is in the newsletter.

Sunday, August 16, 2020


Once again we dipped our toes in the testing waters by having a Zoom meeting for our members. Dolores presented a plethora of hints, tips, & tools (although the difference between hints & tips wasn't fully explained). In any case, we had 42 members join in the meeting, 17 locals and 25 from outside of Humboldt County. Being able to Zoom has allowed us to connect with members both close by and far away during these trying times. We will continue the monthly Zoom meeting/workshops as long as we have members volunteering to teach from their computer to ours. Thank you Celeste, for getting us started and showing us how. And now it is time for NORBAG to set up our own Zoom account.


Here are some of the items we looked at…

Piercing Tools

Different types of needles

Background - DMC #5 Perle cotton (skein & box)
Other threads shown: bookbinder's linen thread; waxed linen thread;
buttonhole thread; sample card from Royalwood, supplier of waxed linen threads

 covered brick, sad irons, marble base from a trophy, soft leather drafting weight, small box filled with lead weights

Measuring rule set
 brass set of metal bars ranging in size from 1" to 1/8"
(available at hardware stores, look for K&S Metal Stock)

Centering Ruler 
 www.creativeimpressions.com (centering ruler #80003)

Glue Brush
Crayola So Big, on chopstick rest
When you don't wash out your glue brush and the next day (week or month) you find it hard and stiff...don't throw it out. Just soak it overnight in rubbing alcohol and the next day it is good as new. Just pick out a few glue strands and rinse well. If you leave the cap off of your glue stick and it is all hard...just use a craft knife to slice off the hard area and you're good to go (and try to remember to replace the cap next time).

At the end of the presentation we showed the July and August exchange books, and our members were able to discuss their book while it was on the screen. It was a wonderful way to share our creativity.

Special thanks to Dolores, Bobbie & Celeste and everyone else who contributed.

Sunday, August 9, 2020


What happens when technology and NORBAG meet? We have a tutorial about using Zoom for our meetings. On July 24, Celeste Chalasani led a Zoom tutorial on how to use Zoom for workshops. She talked about the technology we would need and it was a surprise to learn that we already have most of the technology needed...such as a smart phone, tablet, or desktop computer. If you plan to lead a workshop for NORBAG you probably only need to purchase something to hold a smart phone or tablet. It could be as simple as a goose neck cell phone holder that clamps to your desk (prices range from around $12 to $30-40). 

There are also document cameras made specifically for this kind of workshop that may plug into video systems or other computers. The prices can range as low as $100 and some are over $800. Some of our members are already giving classes over the internet and are using the more specific technologies. Either high or low tech, our NORBAG members can easily set up for workshops.

We talked a bit about staging of the actual workshop (Margaret did this very nicely at our June workshop) and how helpful it is to have a co-host who can direct questions to the speaker so things run smoothly. Celeste also spoke about how we can spotlight the instructor while eliminating other voices and noise that cause the camera to move away from the instructor. 

Are you interested in giving a workshop but missed the Zoom tutorial or want to refresh your memory of the information? Send an email to Dolores (email in the newsletter) and she will send you the necessary link to see the tape of the workshop. No excuses now...if you have an idea for a workshop we’re happy to help you through the first time.

Member Projects

This is a wet-cyan on a coffee filter.

Have you ever wanted to try making Cyanotype prints? Our member from Pennsylvania, Mary Elizabeth Nelson, has been doing just that with beautiful results. Here is what she shared. 

"Cyanotype and wet-cyan have taken over my life and the joy of waking up to a sunny day is the best ever. I think I must have done well over a 100 prints on paper and fabric. Thinking about book structures as I apply the chemicals for the cyanotype process, I have 5" x 14" papers and fabric for French folded pages to incorporate onto accordion fold spines and lots of other sizes to use however I wish. Many different weights and grades of paper, a sea of blue and white all around me."

Traditional cyanotype on Stonehenge paper

French folded pages adhered to mountains of an
accordion. Cyanotype and wet-cyan methods of
printing on Stonehenge paper. 3" x 5" size.

A Queen Anne’s Lace, a wayside flower belonging to
the carrot family. This cyanotype is on a cotton fabric
with French knots added. The fabric is 5 x 14, shown
here folded in half to be included in a fabric book.

Many thanks to Mary Elizabeth for sharing these photos and information of her latest project. We hope she'll give us a workshop on the process in the future.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020


The August Zoom workshop will feature Dolores Guffey sharing her book art Hints, Tips, and Tools. Having been one of the original NORBAG members (25 years ago this September), Dolores has amassed a wealth of great ideas learned from fellow book artists, her own discoveries, and from the many conferences she has attended. This “workshop” will be a time for sharing ideas. She invites those of you who join the Zoom meeting to bring your own tips and favorite tools to share with us. We all learn from one another and there is always something new to discover.

When:   Saturday, August 8 at noon, Pacific time
Where:  On your computer, tablet, or smartphone via Zoom
RSVP:   YES, to Dolores Guffey by August 5 to receive the password. Her contact information is in the newsletter.
What to have on hand:  Paper to take notes and your own tips & tools to share.

Projects from our members

Michele's Keith Smith books

Those of you who received the June NORBAG newsletter saw the information about how to purchase unbound copies of some of Keith Smith’s books to bind yourself. Our member, Michele Kamprath, did just that and shared with us this photo of her books. Like the examples Dolores Guffey shared in the newsletter, binding these books with a Coptic stitch or sewing over tapes is a perfect way to have them bound so that they will open flat…very helpful when trying to follow Keith’s instructions.

Bonnie's "books-in-sheets" classics

Did you know that it is also possible to find unbound copies of classic books? On the Volcano Arts website you can find “Books-in-Sheets” that are ready to bind with your favorite materials. According to the website, the books “have been formatted in content-appropriate fonts. They’re imposed into separate sections and copied onto good quality 70 lb. paper. You just fold and sew.” Some of the books that are available include A Christmas Carol, The Secret Garden, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and several favorites by Jane Austen. Bonnie Julien has bound several of these books with plans to give one to each of her grandchildren. Here is a link to Volcano Arts: 

Randi's Eco-dyed print

This print and the one above are available on Etsy

What else can you do with your beautiful eco-dyed or other surface designed papers besides make cards and books? Frame them! Our member, Randi Parkhurst, has refined her eco-dyeing techniques into an art form worthy of framing. Here are some photos of her work currently for sale on Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/shop/EcoPrintLove

Thank you to our members for sharing information about your projects. We're happy to pass along your photos and ideas.

Monday, July 13, 2020


Our July Zoom meeting featured a workshop and a bit of paper magic. It was a busy and lovely day.

As we settle in, there is a lot of talk and chatter.

On my computer screen, you could see either 25 pictures of everyone or just one photo taking up the screen. Meet Margaret Beech. She lives in York, England and Zoom has enabled her to have this workshop without a plane flight.

The ever smiling Margaret Beech.

For our July workshop she demonstrated how to make a paper pinwheel and turn it into these delightful nested structures.

This is the first structure we made. Please note that all of the openings 
have edges parallel to the one next to it.

Margaret is our first artist to give a workshop on Zoom, and she did a great job from an artistic, teaching and technical standpoint.  We started with 4 squares of paper of graduated sizes and a jig to measure with so we didn’t have to play with rulers. Using those things, we had the base form.

Using our jig, we measured and made the cutting lines on all four papers. 

We made and cut out the other squares and when finished, folded them on the lines per Margaret’s instructions. The smallest of the folded units goes inside the next larger size. The graduated paper size made this very simple. While we didn’t glue them to each other during the workshop, you can do that when making your final structure.

Each of the points is folded down with the last one slipped under
 the first to hold it together. The finished product can be seen above.

A Bit of Magic

Margaret gave us a bit of magic too by simply cutting the papers and putting the wrong side up on alternate sheets. If you cut all of the pieces and the diagonals have the orientation, you will make a structure with the sides parallel to the nested one below. If you turn every other one to use the back side of the paper, you can get a different look to your structure...like nested diamonds. These pictures show the diagonals and then the result of this minor change.

These are all cut and positioned so that the right angle of the pinwheel
 is on the left side for all colors . This will result in a structure with all 
 nesting edges parallel to each other.

This is the alternate placement. By turning the paper over
 to the wrong side on every other paper, the points alternate.
 (The orange and pink has the right angle on the right side.)
 This will give you openings whose points are at a 45 degree
 angle form the one above and below.

Many thanks to our always happy Margaret.

There is more

After the workshop Dolores held up each of the books sent for the March exchange so that each artist could give a brief description. Congratulations to Kenzie Mullen who had her first book in that exchange. She spoke about the process and materials. It was great to be able to ask a quick question directly to the artist. If you would like more information about someone's book, ask Dolores Guffey for a roster so that you have everyone’s email and phone. The July Newsletter shows a batch of dates for you to get your books in for the previous exchanges that we’ve missed. August exchange books must be received prior to August 8, the day of our meeting, to be in the exchange and allow us to share them at the Zoom meeting. 

ZOOM Statistics 

Who attended? There were 19 of us that could be considered “locals” in Humboldt county which covers 4,200 square miles. Ten other California members joined in along with 11 members residing in other U.S. states. Margaret Beech and Jill McInerney were our British attendees. It was a lively crowd of 42 people. By the way, Karen Chew just became a member of NORBAG and attended her first meeting with us. (When she sent in her registration form, she sent a tiny corona virus paper mask.)
The March Exchange books should be up on Flickr by Friday, July 17. Since Zoom is such a new experience for us, we are not yet sure what will be on the August 8 meeting agenda. If we have time in August, we will show more of the exchange books. We’ll let you know in the August, 2020 newsletter.


Our technical host for the Zoom meetings has been Celeste Chalasani.  She is offering to teach a class (via Zoom) to our members about how to set up meetings and how to go about giving a workshop using the devices they already have at home. This would enable anyone who is interested to offer a workshop. This class is open to all members. Bobbie Hayes (bobbie.hayes666@gmail.com) will be sending out a bit more information via email in the next week to those members who have previously attended the meetings. More info will be sent when we have more detail. If you are interested in the class and didn’t receive an email, please let Bobbie knowEveryone is welcome.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020


Thanks to Zoom, we're back in business NORBAGGERS! On June 13th we had a great "meet and greet" Zoom event hosted by Celeste Chalasani. It was so successful that Margaret Beech, our prolific member from York, England, graciously volunteered to lead our first Zoom workshop in July. Margaret will be teaching us how to make nested pinwheels that provide an interesting and dimensional effect. She wrote, "I am aiming for each person to make one pinwheel card and if all goes well, a second one."

Margaret said that this is a very easy project with a real piece of Paper Magic at the end and will not take long to complete, so there should be plenty of time for members to share some book art that they've recently completed. There won't be a slideshow this time so have your piece close by and be prepared to say something about it. If you have questions about using Zoom, refer back to the June NORBAG newsletter and/or email Celeste. Please email Dolores Guffey by July 8 to receive the password for this Zoom workshop. 

Tools to have for the workshop:
  • Cutting mat
  • Craft knife with a new blade
  • Double-stick tape or a glue stick
  • Pencil
  • Steel ruler
  • Scoring tool
  • Bone folder
  • Fine black marker pen
Pre-cut papers (construction paper or slightly heavier).

Please have these cut prior to the workshop!
  • At least two squares of paper (so you can make two cards) in each of the following sizes: 8", 7.5", 7" and 6.5". (It's best if each square for one card is a different color since contrasting colors will show up best in the finished fold). Please be sure these papers are truly square.
  • Two 4.5" x 9" cards scored & folded to 4.5" square for attaching finished pinwheels to.
  • Please make a ruler template 2” x 8” in stiff card before the meeting.  This will save much measuring when drawing the margins on the squares.
WHEN:       Saturday, July 11 from noon - 3 p.m. Pacific Time via Zoom
WHERE:     At home on your computer, tablet or smartphone
SUPPLIES: See above list
RSVP:        YES! before July 8 to Dolores to receive the password to enter the Zoom workshop (contact information is in the newsletter).