Sunday, October 18, 2020


How many of us are intimidated by collage? Do you ask yourself "where do I start, what pieces go together, when do I stop, or how much is too much?" That is certainly the case for me, but it just seems to come naturally for others. One such person is Cheri Aldrich. For those of you who regularly attend the Newport Paper and Book Art Festival (NPBAF) you must know Cheri. She is a resident of Newport and has been involved with the festival in every capacity as one of the organizers, as an instructor, and as an attendee. Ever since the Coronavirus invaded our country and we have been asked to shelter at home, Cheri decided to challenge herself doing daily collages. Here is her explanation of how she got started and some of her methods.

This is the cover of Cheri's journal. It is a gelli
 plate brayer clean-off sheet with a gelli printed
 feather and a stencil of a bird.

"I am fully embracing retirement and am feeling like a kid in a candy shop! One of my new normals is joining online private art groups. Two of my favorites are Collage Artists Challenge and Crystal Marie: Canary Rising. After being on those two sites for awhile, I decided to make a collage journal just for me and to try and expand the types of collage techniques I would experiment with. I bought a standard Mixed Media journal, 7 1/2" x 10" and got started. I added a cover and did my first collage on that. That left 52 more pages for collages and I left the back page open to eventually write about the process. Those of you who know me are used to me selling everything I make, so planning on doing something just for me was a new experience and I found myself using those special papers we always save and it was liberating!

I pretty much made one collage a day, or if I was really motivated, maybe a second or third. I had a 46 year stash of supplies, plus I have been carving new stamps lately, so I had lots of collage fodder! Each piece took from 30 minutes up to maybe two hours at the most. Crystal Marie Neubauer had our group doing five minute collages as a warm-up exercise that gets you out of your head and allows your intuitive side free reign. This exercise helped me tremendously and I highly recommend it. If you join her group, there is a 'units' tab where you can go to see a list of videos labeled Sweet September. Crystal talked about making art, choosing papers, life stories, and then we all made a five minute collage together at the end of the session. These were live episodes, but are now available to look at for free. The sharing on both of the sites was almost like being in a class, which we all know did not happen this year. This has made being isolated not a problem for me, and I am grateful to be so immersed in my studio and creating just for the fun of it! I'm planning on making a video of me turning the pages of my collage book, so if you're a Facebook friend, it will be there. If not, I hope to be able to email it to you individually. I literally live to make art and make art to live!"

Here are more examples from Cheri's collage journal.

Landscape: torn paper with a tree punch.

Used painted tissue papers, Cheri's carved
ocean stamp, and cut-out gelli printed feather.

Various gelli printed mark making techniques 
on deli and tissue paper. The "e" is made from
puffy paint applied to a piece of plastic, dried,
and then peeled off and glued on.

Gelli prints and saved postage stamps

Cheri's carved crow and pebble stamps,
a strip of asemic (wordless, open writing)
writing done on a gelli plate. (Cheri has a
 short video of this process that she can share.)

A map segment, miscellaneous papers,
mark making from a section of a textured 
piece of a rubber ball and a frog punch.

Embellished eco print with pattern markings
and Cheri's carved inchie stamps.

Many thanks to Cheri for sharing her collage journal experience with us.

Monday, October 12, 2020


Our October Zoom Meeting with Donna & Corky LaVallee was a wonderful introduction into the collecting of miniature books. Although they couldn't share all 305 of their collection, they did show us various ones in the following categories: micro miniature; box books; pop-ups; great bindings; interesting/unusual bindings; stamps; marbled paper; rainbows; and original art. Many of the books fall into more than one category. While Donna held the books and turned the pages, Corky gave an explanation of each one. 

They collect both original books from book artists as well as a few commercially printed ones. Most of their collection consists of limited editions, but they also have unique books. There is a wealth of information about miniature books on the internet. For those of you interested in viewing and/or collecting, Google "Miniature Books." A good place to start is with the Miniature Book Society:

Donna and Corky LaVallee

We appreciate Donna and Corky's enthusiasm and generosity in putting together such a fun presentation. NORBAG members who missed the event may contact Dolores to see the recorded version. To see a few of their books, scroll down to the previous blog entry.

Sunday, September 27, 2020



A Brief History of the Ukulele by Peter and Donna Thomas

There’s something about miniature things that intrigue and delight many people. If you’re one of those miniature enthusiasts then you’re certain to enjoy NORBAG’s October Zoom event. Donna and Corky LaVallee have been collecting miniature books since 2017. Their collection now numbers over 300 books! They love to collect artist books, one-of-a-kind or small edition books and moveable books. In the United States, a miniature book is usually considered to be one which is no more than three inches in height, width, or thickness. Outside of the United States, books up to four inches are often considered. Donna is the membership chairman of the Miniature Book Society, an international organization of miniature book lovers, collectors, makers and dealers. As such she has gotten to know many of the makers of the books that she and Corky own.

The Mailbox: A Postal ABC by JoAnna Poehlmann

The Windhover by Pat Sweet

Here is a teaser of Donna & Corky's collection

In this Zoom presentation, Donna and Corky will do a show and tell of the oldest, smallest, and tallest of their books. They will showcase interesting structures, unique bindings and glorious papers. They will talk about how to start a collection, what sort of things other people collect and how to document a collection.

After Donna and Corky's presentation we will show the October exchange books and give participants an opportunity to share information about their book or just have their colophon read.

When:    Saturday, October 10 at noon PST

Where:   On your computer, tablet or smartphone via Zoom

RSVP:    YES, to Dolores (contact information in the newsletter) by October 5 to receive the password

The following notice was received from Pati Bristow, our member in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check out the link for a wealth of interesting events.

The Book Arts JAM is virtual this year (no big surprise), but the good news is it will run for the entire month of October. There are speakers ( live, which will be recorded for future viewing), online classes (for a fee), on demand classes (free with links to YouTube), Artisan Marketplace, resource list, and several galleries of members works. 

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 (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.