Friday, June 17, 2016

Quarto's workshop with Paul Johnson

The following article was submitted by our member across the pond, Margaret Beech. Her UK book arts group, Quarto, invited Paul Johnson to teach a workshop this past April and here is her report.

Paul Johnson, book artist extraordinaire, has an international reputation, and many of his one off books are in American collections. My UK book arts group, Quarto, invited Paul to teach a workshop for our April meeting. While many NORBAG friends were having paper arts fun in Newport, OR, thirteen British book artists were learning from the 'master'. It was as a result of Paul's first publication A Book of One's Own that I got into book arts and I feel I owe Paul a great debt. Had it not been for him I would never have known about NORBAG, become a member and traveled to spend time with you all.

Paul Johnson

Paul was my house guest the night before and we were able to travel to the workshop together. How wonderful to properly meet the man himself. The workshop was a triumph. Together we cut and folded to create a maze book with slip cover. Then the real work began, as in a game of consequences. Starting with our own book we filled a double page spread in response to a given poem using mark making tools, collage, pop ups, whatever seemed appropriate. Then the book was passed to the next person for them to add their contribution on the next double page spread. The book continued to travel--each person was given 10 minutes--until it arrived back with its creator and the whole book was full. A Book of Ours. Very different from our usual workshops and despite some hesitancy to start we all enjoyed the process very much. Paul is a lovely man, a good instructor and more than happy to share his work and techniques.

Very special was the one off carousel book he brought to show us. The whole thing constructed in his trade mark wonderfully coloured papers with the addition of Paul's pen and ink drawings. The book would be around 12" high and when open each page would be about 9" wide. The whole thing is held with paper hinges which means the entire book folds completely flat for carrying. There really were gasps of delight and wonder when Paul displayed the book for us all to enjoy.

Paul brought lots of his small books for us to look at and/or buy. It really was a privilege to have him with us for the day. If you get the chance to take a workshop with him, don't pass up the opportunity.
~ Margaret Beech, York, UK

Thank you Margaret for sharing this wonderful workshop experience with us.

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