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: https://millsbookartsummer.org/.

Friday, March 17, 2017

2017 March Workshop - Triangle-pierced Slip & Slide Accordion Book

This month Lynne GurneĆ© presented a structure called “Triangle-pierced Slip and Slide Accordion Book” which covered all of the parts of this structure.  It’s interesting to see the way in which this structure has evolved. Margaret Beech commented to Dolores Guffey after seeing a closure shaped like a triangle that might be translated into a book. Dolores Guffey moved it along with a different variation and then Lynne GurneĆ© applied her own variations to bring it to us for a workshop. Lynne frequently works (plays is a better word) with Edge Gerring on their books and Edge made a sample with several additional variations that we could use. It is a delightful example of how creativity works.

This is Lynne's sample book.
The structure name is also an example how structures get their names. The book has a tag with a triangle shaped end that slips into a slit in a folio and through accordion spine. The triangle has a piercing that has a thread running through the piercings to hold the book together in a loose and slidy way. That word picture does not explain in any way what the book looks like but it is a delightful naming process. 

These are the samples that Lynne brought

And now for the results!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Lynne Gurnee will lead the March workshop to make this Triangle-Pierced Slip & Slide Accordion Book. Inspired by Dolores G's November 2016 exchange book, this book is a variation created while thinking about last month's Pocket & Tags theme. Using multiple brightly colored cardstock will make this a lively looking book, but subtle colors will also look nice. The example shown in this photo has the same cardstock for the cover and spine, but you may choose different colors. 

Tools to bring:
  • Metal ruler
  • Craft knife/X-acto
  • Cutting mat
  • Scissors
  • Bone Folder
  • Pencil
  • 1/8" hole punch or Japanese punch
  • 5 paper clips
Materials to bring:
  • Folios (a folio is a single sheet of paper folded in half): 5 pieces of 11" x 3" cardstock
  • Tags: 5 pieces of 6" x 3" cardstock
  • Cover: 2 pieces of 8 5/8" x 3" cardstock
  • Spine: 1 piece of 11" x 3" cardstock
  • 18" piece of Perle Cotton
  • 1/8" wide double stick tape, or strong glue
  • Optional: decorative beads (for ends of Perle Cotton)
  • Optional: rubber stamps, collage materials to decorate the papers (time permitting)
What will be provided:
Instructions and examples

When:   Saturday, March 11
Where:  Eureka Methodist Church at Del Norte & F Streets
RSVP?    YES by March 6 to Lynne - contact information in the newsletter
Cost:     50 cents
Bring:   See list above

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

2017 February Workshop - Valentines

We met on February 11 for an unusual workshop. Instead of learning how to make a structure or a new design technique, we made Valentines. Lorraine Miller-Wolf hosted her annual Valentine card making party with us. She collects cards from various groups and then delivers them to folks at the Senior Nutrition home delivered meals, senior lunch sites, dialysis patients and in convalescent and board and care homes.

It was interesting to watch our members making the cards. Some people are regular card makers and brought all kinds of materials to use: stamped and embossed cutouts, precut decorations and sayings, stickers and stamps. Others came and sat down carefully looking at all of the snippets of paper and attacked with scissors and glue. No matter which style, the cards are delightful.

Edge G and Lynne G making Valentines with paper doilies.

JoAnn E and Beth M are playing with a table full of supplies!

 We received a note from Lorraine who said she delivered 590 valentines made by several groups including ours. It was a delightful play day. And now, here are some of the cards we made (imagine a sound like TA-DA!).

See the heart in the middle with the woven spine,
 Michele K gave a recent workshop on this technique.

The card with the pop-up hearts is a structure from a recent workshop
 given by Edge G.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentine Library Kiosk

The latest kiosk display at the Humboldt County Library features valentines from past NORBAG exchanges. The annual February exchange of valentines is always one of the most popular exchanges of the year. The "cards" are often very sculptural or more like books than cards which adds to the fun. If you have the opportunity, take a trip to the library to see this lovely display.

Once again thanks go to Lynne Gurnee for maintaining and updating the kiosk displays.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

VALENTINE MAKING with Lorraine Miller-Wolf

It's valentine making time! Once again Lorraine will lead February's workshop to make valentines for our friends and families as well as people in the community. This is the 12th year that Lorraine has spearheaded this very worthy project to distribute original valentines to senior lunch sites, kidney dialysis patients, people living in local convalescent and board and care homes, and participants in the Senior Nutrition home delivered meals program. Last year Lorraine distributed 950 valentines...many made by NORBAG members. If you aren't able to come to the meeting/workshop, but would like to contribute your own handmade valentines, please contact Lorraine, her contact information is in the newsletter.

Materials to bring:
  • Miscellaneous papers suitable for valentines
  • Paper doilies
  • Ribbon, lace, and other adornments
  • Bone folder
  • Scissors
  • PVA glue or glue stick
  • X-acto knife and cutting mat
  • Stamps and stamp pads
When?   Saturday Feb. 11 at 12 noon
Where?  Eureka Methodist Church, Del Norte & F Streets
Bring?    See list above
RSVP?    No
Cost?     None

Friday, January 20, 2017

2017 January Workshop Photos

On Saturday, January 14 we had our monthly meeting and workshop. This month we had 16 books in the exchange for the "Tag and Pockets" theme. Five were from out-of-towners and the rest were local.

Our workshop was called "Three-fer" because we had three presenters of "cards" made for the 2016 Holiday Exchange. Each of the cards were quite different. 

Bobbie Hayes brought the instructions for making her "Northern Lights" and had templates for home use and paper for use during the workshop.

Bobbie had three samples for us to use. During the presentation we used a blank template. Here are some samples of what different decorations can look like.
Edge Gerring showed us how to make the twist and pop panel card. We had a bit of time to decorate our panel before putting the card together because it is not as easy to decorate after the construction.

This is Edge's card from the Holiday Exchange.

We folded the mechanism to put into the card.

After gluing the mechanism into the card we attached the decorated panel to the mechanism.  The card when closed looks quite simple. When you open it, the decorated panel twists and opens! Wow!

Michele Kamprath used a delightful woven Spine Card from our NORBAG Compendium Vol II, Pg. 49.

This is Michele's card from the Holiday Exchange
 (she made the stamps for the front too).
Using a template and contrasting card stock, we cut out Vs that interlocked.

These are the samples of the books we made.
This structure also works on a flat surface. This bookmark is an example.

Don't forget, the Holiday Exchange Cards are on Flickr... all 30 of them!