North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

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Sunday, December 16, 2018


The annual NORBAG holiday exchange card event was held once again at the lovely home of Sandy V. Members brought wonderful goodies to share and everyone enjoyed seeing the very clever and beautiful cards in the exchange. Here are a few photos from the event and a sample of some of the great cards. The complete set of cards will soon be up on our Flickr site (see the link on the left) along with the colophons so be sure to check that out.

The cards are arranged and set up for each participant to collect.

Exchange participants fill their bags with one card from each pile.

After everyone has their set of cards we go through them together
 so that each artist can share their colophon. Out of town participants
 are represented by other members.

Everyone is admiring one of the cards.


More goodies to share.

A sample of three card/ornaments

Dolores G's interactive greeting.

We wish everyone a very healthy and happy 2019!

Sunday, December 9, 2018


Over the past twenty years North Redwoods Book Arts Guild members have created many cards to celebrate the winter holidays and some are now on display in the Humboldt County Library kiosk.
Colorful cards were made using a variety of materials and techniques: collage, watercolor, gouache, origami, folded stars, flexagon trees, calligraphy, computer art, hand marbled and decorated papers, dimensional folds, miniature books, pop-up, and paper sculpture.

One shelf is made up entirely of tree art, including a wish to “keep friendships evergreen”. Another shelf displays holiday trading cards, a volvelle holiday mood selector, and a calendar year of happy wishes.  A paper quilt card celebrates the art of Hmong New Year, Diwali, Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, The New Year, Chinese New Year, Tibetan New Year, and Winter Celebrations. One hand lettered card from 2008 reads: “There are many paths. As we walk one, may we honor all.”

Enjoy this holiday season
and have a Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


     If it's all beginning to look eerily familiar, you're right--it is. Once again, Sandy Vrem has graciously offered her home in Arcata for our NORBAG holiday card exchange festivities...and remember:
We invite all of our members to attend and be part of the fun. Unlike the monthly book exchanges, you need to sign up for the holiday card exchange by the end of October. If you missed the deadline, please make sure to come anyway. We don't want to miss seeing you.
Everyone is invited and asked to bring a goody to share. Finger foods are requested, and please, nothing too gooey since we'll be handling the beautiful cards. We will not have the library with us at this gathering, but there will be a box so you can return any books you may have checked out. Or, you may keep checked out books until the January meeting. The directions to Sandy's home will be in the newsletter.

Here's an example of some holiday cards from past exchanges.

This is how the cards are laid out ready to be picked up
 by the participants in the exchange.

Hope to see you there!

What?    Holiday card exchange and get-together
When?   Saturday December 8, at noon
Where?  Sandy Vrem's house, directions in the newsletter
Bring?    A treat to share
RSVP?    No
Cost?     None

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Rubber Stamping and Heat Embossing

This month, Becky McAllister led the workshop about stamping, embossing and using a texture machine. Kathy Warren assisted her. Becky gave us a very complete picture of the various types of stamps, inks and techniques for using stamps. And we even looked at a texture machine using texture envelopes.

This picture looks from the leader's table onto the book exchange. 
Our regular room was not available.
Becky and Kathy getting started.

Becky and Kathy brought lots and lots of stamps and other materials to try out.
 In the window behind the table are even more supplies.

Closest to the front are some samples, then the clear plastic bases for cling stamps and rubber stamps mounted on wood. There are water color markers for coloring directly on stamps.

Frequently our instructions describe how things are made. 
Becky did it slightly differently. She explained each of the different inks 
and techniques so it is much more a reference than instruction sheet. 
Rubber stamps and inks can be used in so many ways that the reference
 is really appreciated.

The fish images are to show us different ways to use masks (post-its).
 For example, if you have stamped a fish, and want to use other stamps close to it, 
make a second print on a sticky, cut it out and place it directly over the stamp. 
Then you can stamp or spray and not disturb your original image.

Different materials can be fun to try. These holiday stamps
 were done on tissue paper with sparkles.

These two samples couldn't be more different nor more lovely. On the left, a clear ink is stamped on a piece of glossy paper. After the image dries (in this case the reindeer), you rub a water based dye ink over the paper and the invisible ink resists much of the color. On the right are the results of using two different colors of watercolor brushes to apply color to a stamp. Then Becky applied a quick spritz of water over it. The result was very much like a watercolor and it can be of different colors.
We also did more conventional stamping with pigmented inks and heat guns. 

We even had the opportunity to use a Sizzix. Lots of "thank yous" 
go to Becky and Kathy. They gave each of us several types of papers
 to use in addition to all of their stamps and other materials.

We end with pictures of NORBAG members doing what they do best...laughing, talking, and playing.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Bainbridge Island Book Art

The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) has a wonderful room dedicated to book art. Cynthia Sears has amassed a collection of books from artists all over the world as well as from local artists. The exhibit changes several times a year and features different themes and/or artists. The current display titled Bound to be Art, includes the work of Washington artists and some fabulous books from Iceland. Here is a small sample of some of these beautiful books.

NORBAG member Kathy Dickerson

NORBAG member Bonnie Julien

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


The November NORBAG workshop will be taught by Becky McAllister. First she will begin with general information on the various products for stamping and heat embossing, then move on to demonstrations of techniques. Next everyone will have an opportunity to try any and all of the techniques. Since the holidays are just around the corner (yikes!!) this workshop will provide great ideas to make cards, gift tags, and even wrapping paper. Also think about how you can incorporate them into pages for future books or interesting tags for book pockets. Becky will bring lots of rubber stamps, stamp pads, embossing powders, heat guns, and a variety of papers to try. Hope you will come to play!

Tools and materials to bring:

  • Ruler
  • Bone folder
  • Glue stick or double-sided tape
  • Cutting mat
  • Mouse pad or something soft like a magazine to lay under stamping
  • Scissors and x-acto knife
  • Waste paper
  • Stamp pads (if you already have them)
  • Markers and colored pencils
  • Cardstock and other papers for stamping

Our regular meeting room will not be available in November. We will be meeting in Room 8 (Fireside Room). Park on Sonoma St. between F & G Streets and go through the gate. There will be signs to direct you.

When:  Saturday, Nov. 10 at noon
Where: Eureka Methodist Church, see the room change information above
Bring:   See above list
RSVP:   YES, by Nov. 6 to Becky (contact information in the newsletter)

Friday, October 26, 2018


This month the Humboldt County Library kiosk presents the book arts of Dorothy Swendeman, a talented maker of books and fiber arts. She was a charter member of the North Redwoods Book Arts Guild (NORBAG) and a long time member of The Ink People. Dorothy passed away at age 88 in November 2016. She is fondly remembered as an artist and a teacher.

Examples of her work now on display at the library in Eureka include original poems and art, stories, an original serigraph, illuminated letters, disperse dye book covers and reactive dye papers, silk screen art, original carved rubber blocks, and a variety of book bindings, along with her clever book, Beasties of the Bindery, with original rhymes and rubber block art.
Also on display is one of Dorothy's well-known handmade calendars, a collaborative project made with her friends Carolyn Jones, Vikki Young, and Terri Tinkham. One of her works that was featured in The Art & Craft of Handmade Books by Shereen LaPlantz is Carnival Cats, an original design interwoven accordion book with each cat dressed in colorful paper costumes. Both of these items are in the kiosk display.
We are proud to celebrate the work of Dorothy Swendeman.

Monday, October 15, 2018

October 2018 NORBAG Workshop - Leather Bound Tiny Book

Kathy Warren attended the Newport Paper and Book Arts Festival (NPBAF) this year and took a class making a leather bound tiny book that can also be wearable art. Now Kathy has taught us to make one of those books and use jewelry findings to turn it into a necklace (or booklace if you prefer). Kathy made kits for each of us that included everything from the signatures through the beads and jewelry findings. 

This isn’t one of those little jewelry pieces that just looks like a book. Although it is only 1 ½” by 2” in size, it is a casebound book with four signatures, a leather spine, stitching on the cover and a leather and bead closure. We added a jump ring, a thong and closures to make it into a necklace.

Kathy brought several examples of what we could make,
 some as necklaces and others as simply tiny books.

Kathy brought excellent written instructions as well as diagrams
 for sewing patterns and how to affix the jump rings to the books.

We started by covering our tiny little boards. You can see by the pictures how small these books are and also the variety of decorative paper that Kathy supplied.

As with all book covers, we first cut the decorative papers
 to the appropriate size and then below, you can see the gluing.

We clipped the corners (above) and then glue and fold over the edges (below).

We ended up with two nicely covered panels (this is the inside of the cover).

Using the larger black leather (the smaller strip of black leather
 will become the closure) we glued the edges (below).

We then adhered the leather to the cover leaving an open space for the spine. 
Using a jig and awl, we pierced the cover for the decorative stitching
 (not only decorative, but it also ensured that the leather stayed in place).

This picture shows the sewing of the decorative stitches. 
The photo below shows the first side being completed. 
The stitching was mirrored on the opposite side of the cover.

The signatures were stitched through the leather and tied off.

Using the tiniest of beads, we made the closure. The smallest of tabs was glued
 and then sewn to the back of the book and then slit to make an opening for the bead.
Here are a number of photos of our books in progress. Each picture reinforces how small these lovely little books are.

This artist used different thread colors.

We had a great day. Wish all of you were there. Rather than a picture of the Exchange Books on a big table, they can be seen on Flickr after the 17th of October. Just tap this url: