Sunday, October 13, 2019


All Stitched Up is an international juried book arts exhibition currently at Collins Library at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Curators Catherine Alice Michaelis, Jane Carlin, and Diana Weymar describe the theme as "to stitch is to join together, to mend, or fasten as with stitches--to sew. To stitch is to bring together fabric, paper, wounds of the body, or cultural divides. Stitching can be an act of healing, hope, practicality, creativity, and revolution. All Stitched Up recognizes and celebrates the work of book artists' where stitching has become an integral part of the visual design." This exhibit will run until December 11, 2019.

Trial by Fire - Catherine Alice Michaelis

Threads: Clothing Superstitions - Deborah Greenwood
Handmade paper from cotton jeans, vintage lace, and handkerchief inclusions.

Vanilla - Lynn and Gene Olson

And I Never Go Back on My Word - Clara Congdon

Women on the Water - Jan Ward & the WOWers

Hands - Patricia Grass
A Drum Leaf Binding

Bark Beetle Book Vol. XXII - Suze Woolf
Log with fir engraver galleries, iron-oxide dyed felt, embroidery,
 beads, brass grommets & binding post.

Nine - Naomi Velasquez
Flag book, vintage typewriter, found papers, embroidery floss

Cities & Skies - Alicia Bailey & Lauren Winges

Common Threads 101 - Candace Hicks
Hand embroidery on canvas

Revealing Invisible Patterns - Debbi Commodore
Fifty-nine (59) 1, 2,& 3 section non-adhesive exposed spine
binding signatures from a discarded reference book.

Stitching a Living: The WPA Sewing Rooms - Nancy Brones
Fabric book, 100% cotton muslin, batting, embroidery floss, silk &
metallic thread, vintage quilt pieces, reproduction quilt fabric, colored pencils.

Stitching the Forest Together - Lucia Harrison
Flexible forest floor rests on star-shaped piano hinge accordion.
Handmade & commercial papers, botanical printing, thread, oak, archival ink.

Friday, October 4, 2019


The October meeting will be a binding workshop taught by Donna Gephart. These three binding stitches were recently taught in Sonoma County by Kris Nevius, a NORBAG member since 2003 who lives in Graton, California and is also a member of the Sonoma County Book Arts Guild. Kris cites Keith Smith and Susan Longerot as her inspiration for the stitches.

Materials to bring:

  • Covers: Three (3) pieces of 5 5/8 x 8 7/8 paper folded in half. Canson Mi Teintes, or similar paper works well. The stitch is the "star" here, so a solid color spine shows it off best. For Mi Teintes, or other papers that might tear when sewing, bring a piece of the cover paper or another decorative paper 1/2" x 5 5/8" to glue onto the inside or outside of cover as reinforcement for the spine (one for each book). If you want this reinforcement to be a decorative element for your book, consider making it wider than 1/2". Bring decorative elements for your covers if you want to decorate them in class.
  • Signatures: Three signatures (one per book), with 6-8 sheets in each signature. Sheets: 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" folded in half to 5 1/2" x 4 1/4".
  • Thread: One piece of waxed linen or Perle cotton, color to complement your cover paper, 25" long (middle book in photo). Another piece 35" long (book on right) and another piece 45" long (book on left).
Tools to bring:
  • Piercing cradle, foam board or phone book for piercing
  • needle (s)
  • cutting mat
  • piercing tool
  • X-acto or craft knife
  • ruler
  • bone folder
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • glue stick to glue your reinforcement (or decorative) paper to the spine
Donna will provide instructions.

When:   Saturday, Oct. 12 at noon
Where:  Eureka Methodist Church, Del Norte & F Streets
Bring:    See above list
Cost:     $1.00
RSVP:    YES, by Tuesday Oct. 8 to Donna (contact information in the newsletter)

Saturday, September 28, 2019


This September, Kenzie Mullen led us in a “Quarter Stamp” workshop that built upon a workshop in 2018 by Judy Rishel (letterboxing and hand-made stamps to use in letterboxing). Quarter stamps are a single square stamp that can be rotated 90° around a center point resulting in a larger design.

Kenzie brought all kinds of samples for us to try as well as suggesting other places for design inspiration such as zentangles, construction tiles, and geometric designs. The individual stamps don’t always have to be used in a set of four, but can also serve as a border using one stamp or multiples.

These examples show that the lines can be either delicate or bold.

Kenzie showed us that the tiles can be in a four group set (left top and bottom) or lined up in one layer side to side for a border or even grouped in multiples for an overall design.
On the right, is an example of how the tiles don't need to be
 used to make a square. 

Three separate petal stamps make a flower. There is no limit to
the design possibilities.

More examples. These made by Cheri Aldrich

Kenzie also brought the material that we used for carving. She brought Moo Carving blocks that were one inch square and ¾” thick. Because of the thickness, we could actually use the underside for a second carving. She explained that we have many choices for carving, but she likes the Moo because of its softness and thickness (allowing us to carve on both top and bottom surfaces). Most of us brought our own Speedball carving tools and Kenzie brought some spares to share. We used a well-inked dye based stamp pad for viewing our results.

Kenzie stressed that we should take care with the carving tools because they are extremely sharp so we should always cut away from ourselves. The sharpness enabled us to make very bold designs and also some very delicate ones too. She brought ideas about how to store our stamps. She suggested a small notebook or pamphlet stitched book and have a single example of the stamp and then the variations below. Number the page and put the same number on your stamp to facilitate finding which stamp to use.

Kenzie with her examples.

Carving the block with a design marked with a Sharpie Pen.

In this photo, one of our members is using a pen nib holder.
It works as well as the other carving nib holders. 
Workshops are an excellent time to collaborate. 

Getting first looks to see what we can do with a stamp.

Trying different ways of putting the stamp on paper.
And the results!
(Click on any of these to see them in a larger size.)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


Now on display in Eureka at the main Humboldt County Library is a selection of handmade books and structures using the colors of autumn. A slinky-style book with each fall-colored page embellished with nature stamps is displayed near a Gocco print covered book titled “Afternoon Tea in Autumn”. Beautiful examples of eco-dyed leaves on handmade papers, and books with leaves embedded and encased also add to the autumn colors.

Accordion books include one with a paste-paper cover and original poem with paper birds sewn into each fold; another with faux-leather covers and pages of nature prints; and another woven accordion made with hand-painted art paper that is stamped with leaves. 

Also on display are books with a flexagon-fold and a wearable art book wristlet titled “If You Were a Book You’d Be Fine Print”. Other books display a variety of different binding techniques such as a bow-tie over ribbon; a herringbone binding; a floating picture book; a flag book; and a stab binding with macramé and beads. Welcome Autumn!

Sunday, September 15, 2019


Once again it’s time to wish a Happy Birthday to NORBAG.  It’s been 24 years since Shereen LaPlantz and 14 other Humboldt County lovers of the art of making books got together to form our guild. Now coming up on our silver anniversary year in 2020, we are widely known as a respected and innovative organization. I don’t know of any other book art groups that maintain a website, a blog, a rotating display of member’s handmade books at the public library, mail a monthly newsletter, AND hold a monthly book exchange and workshop all for the bargain price of $20 a year for members. Who does that? We do!

NORBAG members also support our community with projects such as making 1000 little books to sell with proceeds going to the Humboldt Literacy Project; making altered book notebooks for authors participating in the Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival; and supporting our member who annually organizes making Valentine cards to give to people receiving Senior Nutrition home-delivered meals, participants at the Senior lunch sites, kidney dialysis patients and people living in our local convalescent and board and care homes. 

Here is the display of the 1000 books during an exhibition of books 
made by NORBAG artists held at Eureka Books in 2010.

This kiosk display in the Humboldt County Library shows a few 
of the altered books made for visiting authors at the 2011 
Children's Author Festival.

Some of the valentines made this year at our February workshop 
under the direction of Lorraine Miller-Wolf.

Our members have been attending and instructing workshops since the beginnings of the yearly Newport Paper and Book Art Festival (NPBAF) and the biennial Focus On Book Art (FOBA), both held in Oregon. Some of our members have also given workshops at Humboldt State University’s OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute), and to other organizations in California, Pennsylvania, Washington, Nebraska, and York, England.

We currently have a membership of about 170 with nearly 70 % living outside of Humboldt County. Many of these members have joined other book art organizations in their new locations while still maintaining membership and participating in NORBAG exchanges.  Because of these “members from afar” NORBAG has served as inspiration for other highly successful book art groups such as the Northwoods Book Art Guild in Fairbanks, Alaska ( Recently the Puget Sound Book Artists (PSBA held their first book exchange which was patterned after NORBAG’s monthly exchanges. The 25 PSBA members who participated had so much fun the group now hopes to make it an annual event.

So, Happy Birthday NORBAG, may we continue to support our community of artists and find joy in the art of making beautiful books.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019


At the September workshop we will be making our own rubber stamps to decorate cards, books, or whatever your heart desires. This technique was influenced by Jon Arbuckle, and will be taught by Kenzie Mullen. The stamps will be 1" square. After carving, they will be stamped once, then rotated and stamped again, then rotated again and once more to make a 2" square design. These designs can be as simple or as complicated as you like. They can also be reversed to make a different design. The carving can even be done on both sides making four different designs with one simple 1" square.

What to Bring:

  • Carving might have a set from the workshop Judy Rishel did on letterboxing last year. Or, you can buy them at Ellis Art, Just My Type, Arcata Art Center or Michaels. At Ellis Art you can buy just the handle and a nib or two. Kenzie will bring three sets to share if you don't have one (please email her to reserve a set).
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Protractor if you want to be precise, but not necessary
  • Sketch paper and/or tracing paper
  • A well inked stamp pad
  • Scrap paper to stamp on to try out your designs
  • Handi-wipes ( your hands get inky)
  • Optional: A simple pamphlet stitched booklet to stamp your new stamps in and "collect" other people's stamped designs

What Kenzie will bring:

  • Three sets of carving tools to loan
  • Four 1" squares of Moo Carving Blocks for each member to carve
  • Examples to provide design ideas

   Saturday September 14 at noon

Where:  Eureka Methodist Church at Del Norte & F Streets
Bring:    See above list
Cost:     $1.50
RSVP:    by Tuesday Sept. 10 to Kenzie (contact information in the newsletter)

Sunday, August 25, 2019


On August 10, we were introduced to a new book structure by Dolores Guffey. This structure took a bit of a journey to get to us. It is a Hedi Kyle structure that does not appear in her BOOK, The Art of the Fold.  A book artist and teacher, Erin Sweeny, gave a workshop where she taught this modular book. Our NORBAG member from Pennsylvania, Mary Elizabeth Nelson, attended that workshop. Mary Elizabeth then shared this book (using her eco-dyed papers in the pockets) with Dolores, along with a diagram of the structure. A workshop was born and 15 more of us now are familiar with the structure.

This is a delightful little modular book. Each module is a single piece of paper that makes a pocket and and a page that will act as the base for the next pocket. The structure can be as brief as two pages or as long as your content demands. It can be a miniature book or as wide or tall as you have materials to make it. You can make it with all kinds of papers remembering that both sides of the paper will be displayed. And it is neither restricted by ratios for height and width nor specific measurements to work.

Dolores started the workshop with a great instruction sheet.
 We started with several soon-to-be pages sized 4"x 11".

Each of us did some marking, scoring and clipping.

We ended up with a total of four pages (modules) for our books.

The module, when scored, clipped and folded, made the pocket
 on one page and the support for a second page.

This photo shows how the orange and blue modules fit together. The orange pocket is affixed to the blue full page. The back cover will be a single module without the pocket portion.

This is a fun structure because the modules can be of a singular color or different colors or designs on one side. The pockets can be trimmed or punched or even collaged.

Take a look at our finished books:
These are the samples that Dolores brought to the workshop.

This is a completed structure with each module being a different color and the cards inserted were plain colored also. The first module is blue, the pocket is adhered to the second module which is orange, the pocket insert is purple. Each page displayed a different color combination.

This is a simple version of the structure with a window cut out to show part of the insert.

The front cover of this book has collage elements on it.

Both of these books have an opening in the pocket.

In this book, both the inserted card and the pocket have been cut to display various shapes.

Text is in this book.

This structure is really fun to work with. If you have paper with two different sides, it will look entirely different. The proportions of pocket to page can differ as well as the overall size.