North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

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

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)