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)