There has been much time between my last post and this one but it is all for good reason. First, I’ll fill in on the time I spent at PBI (Paper and Book Intensive). I will have a hard time doing justice to the two great weeks I spent with so many amazing people so I will do my best.
After landing (well, parking) on Ox-Bow’s secluded campus, where PBI was held this year, I slowly acquainted myself with the surroundings. Bordered by a lagoon and woods with great hiking paths, Ox-Bow is composed of a collection of buildings centered around the Inn. After dinner that night, we were all introduced to the each other, the instructors, and our schedule for the next two weeks. The first week, everyone would have two classes (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). The second week would be one class for the whole session.
The classes each participant took varied, but my first class was a Pop-up class with Carol Barton. She is was a cheerful start to each morning with such a great attitude and fun structures to work on. There was a great balance of instruction paired with time for experimentation. Below are a few of my “experiments.”
The second class, of the first week was ConText with Susan Skarsgard. Susan led us through some great exercises where we learned how to let go a little while creating written and visual content. Many of the shared responses to the class were astonishment when all of a sudden we had achieved some unexpected successes. Here are a few images of my book.
My third and final class was with Julia Miller who has been out and about everywhere due to her book Books Will Speak Plain. In her class, we learned a late sixth century Coptic binding referred to as “Codex C.” We each made a model of this historic structure. As we went along, Julia provided the context of this book in history. I was hungrily immersed in each step, beginning with the papyrus paste boards all the way through to the cold tooled leather. This is a structure I would like to revisit as well as some of the other structures that came before and after it. It was a satisfying book to make, especially since the tools we used are among those that most binders have in their studios.
It is one-sided to talk only of the classes taken because there was a lot going on outside of the sessions. There were some special events, like guest speakers, as well as an auction and banquet, both of which I had a close involvement with, but the experiences I had with everyone participating at PBI were just as important. I will not try to convey the content of these golden moments because I wouldn’t be able to explain just how big a part they played in the two weeks I spent there. What I will say is this: if you ever have a chance to spend an extensive amount of time with your peers, and I mean people who are not only important in the field but who have already lived through the experiences you will face as a beginner, you would be crazy to pass it up. PBI is something that I will try to participate in as often as I possibly can because it is a workshop experience unlike any other I have had so far. The people I met there have already made a difference for me, and I hope to continue to strengthen the relationships I started with them.
So there you have it. Go to PBI. You will be happy you did.
A few more photos here on the PBI flickr page.