Saturday, March 26, 2011

Book Arts from the Past: Sonia Delaunay

Last Saturday, Craft in America hosted an amazing panel discussion with Julie Chen, Carolee Campbell, and Harry Reese, with Kathleen Walkup acting as moderator. The discussion was greatly enlightening, touching on topics of digital printing, e-readers, collaboration, and the role of craft in their practices. In Kathleen Walkup’s opening remarks she touched on the history of artists’ books including the work of Sonia Delaunay, who, among other things created an artist’s book while collaborating with the modernist poet Blaise Cendrars.

 A small section from the artist's book Trans-Siberian Prose
 and of Little Jehanne of France, by Blaise Cendrars and 
Sonia Delaunay-Terk, published in 1913
Image Taken from Wikipedia

Cover of  Trans-Siberian Prose
 and of Little Jehanne of France
Image Taken from Wikipedia

I first learned about Sonia Delaunay when I was exploring art history and happened upon the "The Guerrilla Girls' Bedtime Companion to the History of Western Art”. The Guerrilla Girls are a group of art world activists who aim for greater equality in the art world in a playful yet wholly serious manner. They write "The time has come, once and for all, for the canon to be fired". I think the case of Sonia Delaunay is especially striking, due to the parallels between the lack of attention historically given to many female artists and artists working in less acknowledged mediums such as book arts, or even craft in general. What do you think?

Just an extra picture of some of Sonia Delaunay's beautiful designs
Photo taken from this blog

Craft With Us! - Security Envelope Journal, April 9th

We had a blast last month creating accordion style journals using vintage road maps!

Crafters Choosing Their Maps

One Group of Crafters Hard at Work!

In honor of the One by One exhibition the Study Center will be featuring another free bookbinding workshop on Saturday, April 9th. Join us to create your own journal using basic bookbinding techniques and collage elements made from the inside of recycled security envelopes.  

An example of the awesome journals we will be making!!

Drop-in Workshop
Saturday, April 9th, 12 noon-5pm
Class & materials are free.
All ages

The workshop will be hosted by Susie & Heidi Bauer, designers of Rock Scissor Paper stationery, creators of 
the blog & part of the Craft in America family of artists

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Craft Connections

When I first found out we were showing Book Arts here at the Study Center, the first thing that went through my mind was Marcel Duchamp’s Unhappy readymade (1919). This piece was created when Duchamp instructed his sister, Suzanne Duchamp-Crotti, to hang a geometry textbook from the balcony of her Paris apartment so that the problems and theorems, exposed to the test of the wind, sun and rain, could "get the facts of life”. This event is documented as a photograph in Duchamp’s The Box in a Valise and in a painting by Duchamp-Crotti.

A photo of Unhappy readymade

Of course Duchamp’s readymade is a far cry from the painstaking care given to the majority of artists’ books. The knowledge of technique and materials needed to create all of the books in our show are truly daunting, even though the results often feel miraculously effortless. For myself, I love to see my knowledge of craft grow and discover what connections can be made. What connections (perhaps unexpected or even unfitting) do you have to the art of book making?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

From the Library: Umbrella

Our Book Arts exhibition is officially up and ready for visitors! In honor of our exhibition I wanted to share the newsletter Umbrella, an amazing resource to learn more (or start learning) about book arts. Umbrella ran from 1978 to 2008 and was started by Judith Hoffberg. Phenomenally, every issue of Umbrella is online and it is completely free and accessible. Here are a couple of covers I particularly liked:

Clicking through the different issues it quickly becomes clear that the book arts were a passion of Judith’s and what better way to learn about something than from someone who loves it?

"When you saw that light blue issue in the mail, you knew what it was. The whole field of artist books became my life and I wanted to share it with all of you. Although marginal at the beginning, it has grown into a movement, a new chapter in art history, one which is recognized by art historians, artists, and all of you. It has become almost too much now, with so many conferences, book fairs, and symposia to attend. And as usual, it has spread globally."

Judith Hoffberg- From the last issue Vol. 31 Issue 3 

View Every Issue of Umbrella Here