A six hour drive brought me to this year’s Guild of Book Workers Standards of Excellence, in Cleveland, Ohio. Because I was attending in the temporary capacity of Chapter Chair for the Midwest this year, I arrived Wednesday in time for our evening meetings. Just before we got down to business though, I had enough time to peak at the goodies in the vendor room, then left before I fainted from excitement.
During the meetings, it was wonderful to witness, and participate in, the Chapters’ collaborative problem solving through shared issues. The Guild proves to be a huge resource time and time again!
The rest of the evening was spent catching up with dear friends in the setting of a surprisingly active city.
Thursday went by at a slow pace for me as I opted not to take advantage of the many tours GBW offered that weekend. Instead, I caught up with friends and colleagues as they arrived at the conference hotel. The perfect spot to do this was in the vendor rooms…it was for professional reasons that I spent so much time there…it is important to network and also to find key supplies for various commissions and studio work.
Later in the evening, the Guild was treated to an opening at The Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Educational Foundation. Beyond seeing the amazing facility that the Morgan has become, there were two exhibits open for the evening: Buoyancy – Featuring the work of Aimee Lee and Kristen Martincic; and a one-night-only Midwest Guild of Book Workers Member Exhibit.
Working with our wonderful site host, and fellow Midwest GBW member, we were able to put together a fantastic representation of work by our Chapter members. All weekend, I received several compliments. I am so proud of our regional talents! Below are a few photos of everyone enjoying the exhibit.
Friday brought the first day of sessions, and I was psyched for both! I was so excited, that I neglected to snap a photo of the first presenter, Andrea Peterson, who was able to show everyone how her life and her work is intertwined with the environment she lives in. I’ve had the privilege of working with and coming to know Andrea for a few years now, and it is no wonder that people are drawn to her personality as well as her impressive papers. One of the things that Andrea emphasized successfully is the way she works with artists to find the perfect papers for their projects. With her extensive knowledge of fiber, she can help match an idea with a paper that will perform in the way that the artist needs. As usual, I came away ready to delve into the next project that will utilize her well made sheets.
After lunch, the second session was given by Bill Minter demonstrating the Meeting Guard as it was used historically, in the book arts, and for conservation. This is a structure I have seen referred to in articles but haven’t had the chance to see it in person. It is perfect for heavy weight pages in that the guard takes on the burden of flexing where stiff paper cannot. I already have a few book ideas in mind that might benefit from such a binding solution. Luckily, Bill provided a detailed handout, so I will be able to replicate the binding on my own.
The bookstore itself is an expanse of shelves upon shelves of books that are full of great titles. On first entering the store, I thought for sure that some of our members would be lost to the countless spines. Not knowing much about the bookstore, I was surprised to find that it is home to the bindery of Midwest GBW member, Ellen Strong. It also has its own special collections book room, featuring more rare items, run by the Northern Ohio Bibliophilic Society (NOBS).
It was fantastic to view Vessel in this setting. Everyone, in the show, submitted really thoughtful and beautifully crafted pieces. The show was a great representation of work!
(below) Photos of two of the exhibit cases.
Saturday was the final day of the conference, and it began with Christina Amato’s demonstration of miniature books. Christina showed us a great range of mini books, how small they have to be to qualify as “mini”, and how to put one together in a way that will allow the book to open and close nicely. As a lover of all things mini, I naturally find myself attracted to these books so I was a captive audience. Needless to say, the structure Christina demonstrated will be put on the “to do” list.
The fourth and final session took on a different format this year. Instead of a fourth person giving a demonstration, we had the choice of three discussion panels to attend: Conservation, Bookbinding, and Book Arts. It was impossible to decide which one to go to, as I had a need to get the information from each one, so I sat in on parts of the Book Arts and Conservation discussions. There were grand intentions of popping into the Bookbinding discussion, but I lost track of time and all of a sudden the session was over. This format has huge advantages with one disadvantage…I couldn’t make it to them all! However, it is an interesting change and one that I think could serve our membership well as we are a big group with diverse interests. It isn’t possible to cater to them all with just four presentations, but this is a great effort to make more options available.
Saturday was wrapped up with the banquet and auction. As usual, neither disappointed. I am pretty sure I ate my weight at the mashed potato bar and had a great time squeezing out a little more time with the people I have had the pleasure to get to know over the years. I even came away with my first sewing frame from the silent auction! The live auction was lively and out of my price range, but I helped oooh and aaah at the right moments.
Sunday came with a lot of reluctant goodbyes and hopes to make visits to as many of these fine folks as possible in the coming year. The connections made in this one weekend fuel me through the year, and it is an event that is permanently on my calendar. Till next year, in Charleston, South Carolina…