North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

If you are interested in more info or joining, please email to

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Joys of Monthly Book Exchanges

Valentine Card Exchange
Our guild provides many activities that encourage our members to become more involved and creative book artists. One such activity is our voluntary monthly book exchange. During a recent workshop members were asked what they liked about the exchanges. Here are their very interesting responses, regrouped and synthesized:
  • They are always inspiring. One: for new ideas. Two: It's always nice to have a deadline. (Editor: All three were mentioned more than once!)
  • I usually need some time to come up with an idea for a book. Knowing ahead what the monthly themes are allows me this 'thinking time'.
  • The books I receive are great to show friends who wonder what an artist book is. 
  • I love seeing the different interpretations of a theme.
  • The exchange pushes me to think, plan, do art work and calligraphy for the theme. The theme sometimes pushes me to learn about a subject I may not have explored during my life. 
  • The exchange helps me to 'turn on' my creativity.
  • Making books help me to remain sane. The exchange is very motivating. It's sometimes horrifying and sometimes a huge guilt producing machine but worth every minute!
  • Once a decision is made as to what you will have as a theme, the ideas of what to do with it explode.
  • Self confidence grows as each project is completed.
  • (I get) a new book for my collection. 
  • Making a books is one thing. Decorating it is another thing entirely. I love seeing how creative the group is and actually getting to take something home from someone else is so inspiring. 
  • I sometimes worry about my skill level, but it's fun.
  • I enjoy making Holiday cards.
  • I always learn something new that inspires me to try another structure, use a new product or tool, or complete a project that I was stuck on. 
  • The subject matter of some exchange books I've received have inspired me to visit a new place, read a certain book, or try a new recipe. 
  • When artists describe the creation of their book, I enjoy hearing about their problem solving process. 
  • Making a book based on a theme I didn't choose sometimes helps me to break through artist's block.
Pat describing her exchange book during a meeting.
The particulars of the exchange are highlighted on our website. This is a great opportunity for our distant members to be involved in the guild's activities. Participants are encouraged to work with the designated theme but it is not required. You do not need to sign up in advance, just bring your book and colophon at the start of the monthly meeting. You can choose not to have pictures of your book posted on our Flickr site or in the newsletter. If you live out-of-town you can mail your book and colophon to ( mail your book so that it arrives in plenty of time prior to the meeting, which is the second Saturday of each month):
PO BOX 225
CUTTEN, CA 95534

For more encouragement to participate in exchanges, read this!

"The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group: fifty pound of pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B", and so on. Those being graded on "quality", however, needed to produce only one pot - albeit a perfect one - to get an "A". Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay."
 From Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland

So, another item on the list of the benefits of an exchange might be:
  • We may go beyond our comfort zone, explore with wild abandon, and then present our books to an appreciative and supportive group of like-minded artists. Yeah.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November Workshop Report

About twenty members gathered today to make these calendars. Thanks Dolores for a well organized and fun workshop and a special thank you to Suzanne Stalder-Mansure, one of our out-of-town members, who sent this project to us. For those members who could not attend and would like the instructions, Dolores will be happy to send you the pdf file containing the layout of months and instructions. Just send her an email.

The following photos show the construction of the calendars in some sort of chronological order. Every book artist has picked the images for their calendar.
The calendar pages were provided but had to be cut to size.
Members had a choice of making a book with or without a cover.
Images were glued on for each month.
Several member used photo editing software to create their images.
Coordinated papers were selected for the months and cover.
Let the gluing begin. Burnishing the image with a bone folder.
Auditioning the photographs before gluing.
Other members used their granddaughter's art for the images.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

November Workshop, 2011

with Dolores Guffey

A special thank you to our member Suzanne Stalder-Mansur, who lives
in Folsom, California for sharing with us a fun project which lends itself to our
November workshop. Suzanne designed a desk top calendar using a carousel
structure. This little 5" x 3½" calendar would make great little gifts for the holiday season. The pages will be printed on white cardstock and have a 2" x 3¼" rectangle area at the top of each month for your creativity. You can decorate it however you desire: photographs, rubber stamps; decorative paper, collage, etc. You also have the option of attaching front and back decorative covers, allowing the calendar to fold flat; or eliminating the covers by gluing December back-to-back with January creating a permanent carousel. You may order more than one calendar and assemble them at your leisure. Members who are not able to attend the meeting (including out-of-towners) may email for the template and instructions which will be sent as attachments. Those attending the meeting need to RSVP no later than November 9th letting me know how many calendars you'd like to have ready to assemble.

Material Fee: 50 cents per calendar ordered.
Materials to Bring:
• Craft knife (with new blade) or scissors
• Cutting mat (old magazine can be used instead)
• Wax paper and waste paper for gluing
• Bone folder
• 12" metal ruler
• Pencil, eraser
• Large glue stick OR double sticky tape
• Decorative papers or whatever you will be putting in the rectangle. You
will need the following: 12 pieces 2" x 3-¼" for the months; 2 pieces of
5" x 3-½" (grain long) for the covers, if so desired. Note: Cut the cover
paper slightly larger than this size (about 1/8" all around) to allow for
trimming to fit the finished calendar.
RSVP (or request for template & instructions) to: Dolores Guffey

Samples thanks to Dolores Guffey and her wonderful marbled papers!