Sunday, May 14, 2017


Fifteen members of NORBAG attended this year's festival, two of whom were also instructors. It is a wonderful experience just being with fellow book artists who understand what "book art" really is. Have you ever tried to explain what you do as a book artist? No one really understands – wish we could all just carry samples of our creations to share with the world.

Nye Beach on a sunny day...we only had one of those this year.
Here are just a few of the observations of this year's adventure and some miscellaneous photographs.
Margaret B (all the way from York, England):  Another weekend of crazy fun! Norbaggers do know how to have a good time and learn new things at the same time. Once again our condo was the hub for our nightly show and tell. Michele K shared sink art secrets and it was a place to catch up at the end of our busy days to exchange techniques, or just to watch the sun go down.  Nye beach at Newport is a delightful place and for the fifth year I was lucky enough to take a class in the room overlooking the beach on the one sunny day of our stay. Surf rolling in, families enjoying the beach, the lighthouse on the distant point and the seagulls overhead. The organization of the festival was first class as ever. Almost 100 attendees took 18 classes from 16 tutors over three days. And I was lucky enough to be one of them.

Examples from Marilyn Stablein's Explosion Class

 Pat C: I met a lot of nice people and the classes were fun and I've always learned a lot! Newport Paper and Book Arts Festival has something for everyone and is well worth the effort to attend.

One of Marilyn's books from the Instructor's Show
Edge G: Newport has been an inspiring, encouraging and fun experience for me. I've attended the last two years and plan to continue. Even though the instructors are well known and top notch I don't feel out of place as the instructors make everyone feel welcome and the classes are geared to a range of experience levels so everyone comes away satisfied. The setting in the Nye Beach area is beautiful and comfortably small, but not lacking in good restaurants and places to stay.  I feel very fortunate to be able to attend!

Examples of Tacket Binding from Margo Klass
Dolores G: Of the 14 participants in Margo Klass' two-day "Tacket Binding" class, seven of us were Norbaggers! Margo, who lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, is also a member of NORBAG. We always feel fortunate to be in her class as we come away with such scrumptious books. Michele K will be teaching one of the four variations we learned from Margo at our June workshop.

Dolores's beautiful book from the Instructor's Show
Bonnie J: Now that I'm an out-of-town member of NORBAG I really appreciate the opportunity to meet up with local members in Newport. It's almost like old times being able to attend workshops together again.  Several of us had rooms at the Condos so it was very convenient to get together in the evening to share techniques, get advice for finishing projects, and show off what we made in our workshops. Although it was a bit more wet and windy than we would have liked, some dedicated walkers still took a morning hike on the beach.

Mary Maisch's Word Bird from the Instructor's Show
Michele K: Newport was a great time as usual and made livelier this year by the addition of our member from York, England, Margaret. I always think of Newport as time for an art blast with my friends/art tribe. Kind of a prolonged slumber party with almost non-stop fun. At one point after all day workshops, Margaret remarked during our evening sink art session in the condo that the management would be quite shocked if they walked in right now. Fortunately we keep a clean scene with plastic covers and newspapers to keep the mess to a minimum. Fun times with creative outcomes.

Michele K's book made in Margo's Tacket Binding class
Cindy S: I took two days of workshops with Heather Fortner in Toledo at her studio. First day was "Beautiful Botanicals" and second day "Eco Dyeing." I enjoyed both classes and came away with such beautiful papers from the eco dyeing class that I will want to do more of this on my own. Loved the spontaneity of it.

Another Tacket Binding book
Carol S: This was my fourth year to attend this festival and it was such a fun and creative experience! I left feeling like a super saturated sponge. The event was well organized and the instructors had so much to share. Put NPBAF on your 2018 “to do list."

Baskets by Kathy Karbo in the Instructor's Show

Many thanks to Dolores for soliciting comments and writing this article. The dates for next year's NPBAF are April 20, 21, and 22. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017


Lara Cox will lead the May workshop to make marbled paper using shaving cream (that's right, SHAVING CREAM) and colorants such as food coloring and acrylic paints. You will come away from the workshop with many sheets of beautifully marbled paper for use in book arts. This art project is easy and fun!

A note on the shaving cream: Please avoid the super scented ones like Barbosol as the scent may linger on your paper for months. Also, since we will be working in a large group with lots of shaving cream we don't want to create a perfume scented overload for our senses. Please see the brand suggestions in the list below.

Here are examples of Lara's shaving cream marbled papers

What to bring:

  • One can of Shaving cream (NOT GEL!) Lara recommends these brands from the Dollar Store: 1. Assured Men's Shave Cream (sensitive). It comes in a red can and has just a slight soapy smell. 2. Assured Ultra Rich Women's Shave Cream (sensitive). This is raspberry scented but not too strong and it comes in a fuchsia colored can.
  • Colorants: Food coloring. Also, liquid acrylic paints for added interest.
  • A shallow glass or plastic pan big enough to hold an 8 1/2 x 11" sheet of paper.
  • A spatula to smooth the shaving cream.
  • Chopsticks, Popsicle sticks or other similar tool for stirring.
  • A small paint brush for spattering paint.
  • Cardstock of various colors, including whites, pastels and brights.
  • Paper towels
  • Rubber gloves and an apron (not necessary but helpful)
  • Mixing bowl sized container to hold used shaving cream

Meeting Details:

When:    Saturday, May 13 at 12 noon
Where:   Eureka Methodist Church, Del Norte & F Streets 
Room:     Fireside Room 8 - a different room than usual
RSVP:     YES! to Lara by May 10. Her contact information is in the newsletter.
Bring:     See the above list
Cost:      50 cents

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Margaret Beech Workshop - Part 1

On Saturday, April 28, we had a delightful workshop with Margaret Beech. Margaret is from York, England and has been here five times since 2000. This year she came for the Newport Book Arts Festival, returned to Eureka, gave a workshop for all of us and then returned home on May 2nd. 
Margaret is a calligrapher and uses her calligraphy in many of her books. Her signature style is a simple structure in red, black and white with her calligraphy creating drama.  Margaret also works a bit ahead. She decided to save on postage and brought her exchange books for the rest of the year.  It was fun to hear from her about how these were made.

Our workshop started at 9:30 am and continued until 4:00 pm with twenty-seven attending. We had four books to construct: a double-sided flag book, an origami wallet, a double-sided two color cut out maze book and an origami box with a Tato lid. We had plenty of time to not only make the structures but also to have a very social meeting.

Many thanks to our members who arrived early to set up and stay late to take down all of the tables. We can't have meetings without their help. The workshop will be shown in two parts. The second part will be published on approximately May 15.

Margaret Beech at the table with her exchange books
 for the rest of the year.

From left to right, Kay C, Margaret, and Sandy V looking at Margaret's exchange books.

These are a few of the books that some of our members made
 at the Newport Paper and Books Arts Festival.

Double Sided - 2 Color Cut Out Maze Book

Our first book is a maze book made from a single sheet. We started out with a single sheet folded into 16 equal parts. We then folded a second slightly smaller sheet into another 16 parts and cut them out and glued them onto the first sheet.

We put all of our sheets into a press and finished them off in the afternoon.

Everyone had a different method of punching holes.

More and more holes.

Fold it up and this is what the little book looks like with
 different colors peeping through the holes.

Here is our table full of maze books.

Origami Box with Tato "Lid"

This lovely little box was a combination of two different structures. You can start with a "classic origami box" that can be found using that search term on the internet. The top of the box is called a "square origami envelope". Glued together, it is a delightful little structure that was originally done in an exchange book by Mary Elizabeth Nelson that Margaret received.
We will forgo showing you the classic origami box or how the square origami envelope is made. It's best to look at the instructions that can be found online. Instead, here is a look at how this delightful box opens.
The classic origami box is the pink base and the square origami envelope is slitted on the bottom and glued to the box. The top of the box is interwoven to hold it closed.

When you pull those top pieces apart, you end up with something like a pinwheel and see for the first time the colors on the reverse side of the paper (yellow)

Pull out those little pinwheel points and the whole inside of the original origami box shows.
Margaret doesn't let a single box be enough. She has nested nine boxes together and it is really quite lovely. Each box is made from paper one-half inch smaller than the previous box and is closed completely before closing the next one.

Here is a table of the little boxes and lids along with some of the flag books we made. On or about May 15 the blog will feature the flag book and "strip tease" wallet from Margaret's workshop.  

Don't forget. On May 15 (approximately) we will feature Part II of the workshop.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

SPRING Library Kiosk Display

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Edge Gerring will lead the April workshop to make a very clever structure sent by Margaret Beech. In the workshop everyone will start by coloring papers using ink spritzing. Then you will proceed to make the village book and a sleeve to contain it. There will be two sizes to choose from: 3" tall and 6" tall. Edge says to be prepared to use your whimsy!

Tools to bring:

  • Sharp cutting knife and cutting mat
  • Metal ruler
  • Bone folder
  • Awl
  • Pencil
  • Needle
  • Strong thread--Perle cotton or embroidery floss
  • Decorative elements such as punches, colored paper, rubber stamps, ink pads, and colored pencils etc.
  • Apron or wear old clothes (ink stains!)
  • Gloves

Instructor will provide:

  • Ink and spritzers
  • Paper for both size books
  • Pattern and instructions

When:    Saturday, April 8 at 12 noon
Where:   Eureka Methodist Church at Del Norte & F Streets
RSVP:     YES, to Edge (contact info in the newsletter) by April 3
Cost:      $2.00
Bring:     See above list

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Conversation with Julie Chen and Lois Morrison

“Intersections of Art and Life: A Conversation between Julie Chen and Lois Morrison and moderated by Sandra Kroupa”, the Book Arts and Rare Book Curator in Special Collections at the University of Washington Libraries in Seattle, was held on March 18 at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and attended by NORBAG members Robyn Teske and Bonnie Julien.

Left to right: Julie Chen, Lois Morrison, Sandra Kroupa

Julie Chen, a professor of book arts at Mills College in Oakland, CA, is an internationally known book artist who has been publishing limited edition artists books for over 30 years. In 2009 she was a guest artist for a NORBAG workshop.

Julie met Lois Morrison 40 years ago when she dated Lois’ son. Although that relationship didn’t continue, the one between Julie and Lois did. Lois was already an artist and Julie was intrigued by her work. Lois’ background comes from fabric—first quilts and eventually fabric books. Later she began making paper books as a way of making her work more accessible since she can make an edition of 25 whereas she only makes two fabric books, one to keep and one for sale. Julie and Lois have worked together on three artists book collaborations including their most recent work: A Recuerdo for Ste. Ostrich.

Snakes Are Not Nice by Chen & Morrison 2005

When Julie first began teaching she mostly taught book structures because book art was still new and there weren’t many “how to” books, classes, or instructions (via the Internet) on how to make artists books. That has since changed and she now concentrates more on content in her classes. Teaching is very important to her as she strives to foster interest in book art as well as how to express oneself through text and imagery. In one of her artists books she defines a book as an experience. Her books definitely appeal to the senses since some are games or require some manipulation besides turning pages and reading. When asked what comes first for her with a new book she mentioned several factors. It could be something in the news, student comments, or life experiences. It’s a process involving text, images, and structure and there comes a point when she says the book itself takes over and “tells her how to proceed”.

Both above photos are works by Julie Chen

 Lois said that it is easy to teach someone how to draw, but what she inspires to do is teach “how to see”. She seems to always be thinking about art. It isn’t really conscience thoughts but just little ideas that come to her and she collects them until inspired to put them together into a book. Like Julie, whose books “tell” her how to proceed, the text/story for Lois’ books seem to flow from her brain like a memory, even though it isn’t.

Deep In The Yellow Woods by Lois Morrison, 2015
When asked if they will continue to collaborate on books, they left the prospect open. It seems that when the right subject comes up, both of them will realize it and they will just naturally come together.
For anyone interested in taking classes from Julie at the Mills College Summer Institute they will be having four five-day workshops this June. Classes will be taught by Julie (The Mother of all Boxes, June 5-9); Karen Kunc, (Innovations in Color Woodcut Printing, June 12-16); Kathleen Walkup, (a Suite of Broadsides in the Letterpress Studio, June 5-9); and Colette Fu, (Popping Up and Out: Advanced Paper Engineering for Book Artists, June 12-16). For more information check this link: