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Pressing Matter

The Publication of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers

October, 2011

Fall 2011 starts off with a bang! - Jennifer Rosner The Page Illuminates: Book Highlights from the Internet - Valeria Kremser Two Members / Six Questions - Meet DVC Members Claire Owen & Erin Paulson Exploring Wax Tablets - Nancy Nitzberg Pam Spitzmueller to Teach Workshop - Constructing Books with Foldout Plates/Maps

In This Issue:

From our Chair: JenniFer rosner

It is starting to seem like our chapter has its own seasons. The summer is always rather quiet and fall and spring are very busy. We started this fall season with a bang! Fifteen people showed up for our very first binding bee. Over the summer, Alice Austin, her husband Jon (who is now a DVC member more on that later) and I worked on the catalog for the Philadelphia Artists Books Travel to Venice Exhibit. We decided on a simple binding structure and thought it might be fun to gather a group together to bind it. Such a great turnout! It took us only two and a half hours to bind 75 books. It was fun seeing everyone and doing something together that we all enjoy so much. We will definitely have to do that again sometime. Every member will get a catalog. We are hoping to hand deliver as many as possible and mail the rest. Since I last wrote we have made some additions to the DVC executive committee. Valeria Kremser is now Webmaster and Alice Austin is Exhibitions Chair. These are appointed positions that will become elected positions next time we hold elections. Check out the newly updated website: Val has done a great job adding all kinds of things and keeping us up-to-date. She has added links to members websites and if yours isnt listed, please let her know. Val also got us up and running on Facebook, so be sure to check us out and like us if you are on Facebook. There is a link on the homepage of the website. And if that wasnt enough, Val also designed a logo for us. You can see it in this newsletter. Isnt it great? Over the last two years Alice has put a lot of work into exhibits and it seems only fair that she be officially recognized for it. She will still continue as Secretary/Treasurer for the foreseeable future, but that may change with our elections next year. I want to thank her for all she has done to make Philadelphia Artists Books Travel to Venice such a great show. And it isnt even over yet. She still has to carry all the books to Venice, install the exhibition there, organize an opening andyes-carry it all home again. If you run into Alice, please let her know how much you appreciate all she has done!
Binding Bee September 10, 2011

I learned recently that the Guild of Book Workers offers family membership. Two family members may join with a single membership fee and receive a single mailing, but have separate directory listings. Do you have a family member that would like to be a member of our chapter? Next time you send in your membership renewal, sign them up! Jennifer Rosner Chapter Chair

Delaware Valley Chapter oFFiCers

Jennifer Rosner Alice Austin Hedi Kyle Denise Carbone Sharon Hildebrand Valeria Kremser

The Page IllumInaTes: book

highlights From the internet

This trip down the internet tubes takes us to Paper Dragon Books is located in Brooklyn, NY, and was established in 2006. They specialize in fine binding, making boxes, and books for galleries, museums, and private collectors. They have been blogging their exploits in the world of fine binding since October 28, 2008. Their blog details different techniques used for fine binding and box making. Some the most exciting posts are about the box challenge. The challenge chronicles the design and execution of full leather clamshells in astoundingly short amounts of time. These posts discuss complicated leather altering techniques including craquele, airbrush, and egg shell patterns. A recent post revisits surface guilding. Besides being busy with the box challenge and many other projects, this year some of the folks over at PDB were also helping to found the Designer Bookbinders of America. Founded in June 2011, DBOA preserves and maintains the highest standards in technique and design used in the creation of design bookbinding, through teaching, discussion, and displaying the work of those members living and working within North, Central, and South America. You can find more info about the DBOA at and PDB at Valeria Kremser Box Turtle Press

Photographs from

uPcomIng WorkshoP Large Paper into Small Spaces: Constructing Books with Foldout Plates/Maps A workshop with Pam Spitzmueller*
Participants will construct a sampler atlas based on techniques used in historical atlases. The key components of a successful folding plate book are the type and order of folds in the sheet, the attachment of the guard structure to the map or folded plate and the book structure that binds, protects, and safely presents the plates to the reader. We will view images of historic maps, focusing on where damage has occurred and why and discover good techniques from the past. November 5 & 6, 2011 9 am to 4:30 pm The Library Company of Philadelphia 1314 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 *this workshop is currently full with a wait list.

Photograph courtesy of Pam Spitzmueller

Tour oPPorTunITy - exPlore Wax TableTs


nancy nITzberg

When Steve Jobs introduced the first iPad in January of 2010, soon followed by the various competitors announcing their tablets, some of us interested in early writing materials and book forms couldnt help thinking of the similarities between these devices and the historic wax tablet. Even earlier electronics such as the Palm Pilot with stylus inspired the comparison. Not to mention the blackboard in the form of a portable slate. . . Portable and great for making quick notations, the wax tablet predates the electronic form by almost 3000 years. Portability made it a very useful for correspondence, business records and for note taking by students. Information could be erased by smoothing the wax, and when the wax waned, it could be recharged by pouring more melted wax into the recessed areas of the wood or ivory support. The wax was used as a writing surface and it was inscribed using a stylus, usually made from wood, metal or ivory. Often, two wax-covered surfaces were bound together so that when closed, the wax sides facing inward. This protected the wax and any incised writing in it. Wax tablets were not only used for temporary notations, as wax tablets have been found containing information that was clearly intended to be preserved. The most recent documented use of wax tablets was in the 1860s, in Rouen, France, to maintain business accounts. If there is interest in visiting a collection of Roman era wax tablets in Philadelphia, reed pens and papyrii including one leaf from an early codex with verses from Matthew, please contact Nancy Nitzberg at NanNitzberg@ and a group visit will be arranged. Friday afternoons are best for the curator.
Wax Tablet, Louvre. (corrected)

Nancy Nitzberg

Two Members / Six Questions - Claire Owen & Erin Paulson

We are adding a new column to our newsletter with this edition: Six Questions. In each newsletter we will profile a member of the Delaware Valley Chapter by asking the following six questions. We think this will be a fun way to both get to know a little about a fellow member, and keep up with what they are working on. We will be contacting each of you in the near future! 1. How long have you been a member of the GBW? C.O. I dont remember the exact date I joined but I believe it was the late 80s. 2. Where are you from originally? C.O. I moved to Philadelphia from Rochester New York in 1976. The guild was a great way for me to meet fellow bookmakers here in Philadelphia. 3. When did you realize you wanted to learn bookbinding? C.O. I studied printmaking at Rochester Institute of Technology and it was there while in graduate school that I realized that as I developed prints in series, that books would be a logical format to use. I took a binding class while at RIT, and continued study here in Philadelphia.
Photo: Claire Owens printshop

4. What is your favorite book structure these days? C.O. Currently Ive been using box formats to develop dioramas in unique book works. I recently took Tara OBriens single tray box format which I have loved using since. 5. What are you working on right now? C.O. I am currently working in collaboration with poet Beth Feldman on the book Sage. I made four paintings for the book, and will be binding three digitally printed copies. 6. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us. C.O. I dont know how surprising this is, but a guilty pleasure of mine is watching the old tv show Dark Shadows. Its so NOT like shows today, that it seems Photo: Claire Owens studio a different thing all together. And I have a weakness for all things Gothic. 1. How long have you been a member of the GBW? E.P. I have been a member of the Midwest Chapter for one year; now that I have relocated to Philadelphia, I am excited to become a member of the Delaware Valley Chapter! 2. Where are you from originally? E.P. I was raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, but have lived in Chicago for the past nine years. 3. When did you realize you wanted to learn bookbinding? E.P. My undergraduate degree is in photography, and I began to be interested in making books to house my narrative photographs. It was my first Artists Books course with Melissa Jay Craig at Columbia College in Chicago in 2006 that really cemented the fact that I wanted to make books for the rest of my life. 4. What is your favorite book structure these days? E.P. I love all variations on the French Twist sewing structure, and am interested in making some wire-edge bindings this fall! 5. What are you working on right now? E.P. I just began the MFA Book Art/Printmaking program at UArts. As most of my past four years has been devoted to book and paper arts, Im excited to learn about printmaking, particularly etching and lithography. While here I plan to keep using embroidery in my artist books, sewing on handmade paper, and combining this with printmaking techniques and explorations of different book structures. 6. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us. E.P. I love paring leather so much that I would be perfectly happy doing it as my only profession for the rest of my life (and even happier if I were doing it in France).

Photo: Erin Paulson in her studio