The Penland Experience - Part 2

I'm still processing (what a clinical word that is!) my two-week book arts workshop at Penland. I signed up for the course because I wanted to explore content in bookmaking. I've been taking bookbinding classes for just over a year now, and I've concentrated on book structures. It seemed the way to lay a foundation in book arts, to build a vocabulary and establish a context. If you know me, it isn't news that I tend to be linear and incremental in my approach to things. So it seems that I've intuitively been developing a personal book arts curriculum over the course of the past year.

From the time I took my first book arts class -- at the John C. Campbell Folk School during a week's vacation more than two years ago -- I've been interested in the book as a whole, both form and content. I knew virtually nothing about artists' books at the time, and the more I learned, the more fascinating I found the concept and the books themselves.

It's too early to know how my own style will evolve. I love language too much to exclude words, so text will play a part. But what else? Who knows? I'm clearly attracted to paint and color and abstract forms. Art & Soul was a way to did my toe in this pool, in ways unrelated to book arts. The Penland workshop was a perfect next step, an opportunity to work on new book structures, but with an equal focus on creating imagery and working with paint.

Our instructor, book artist Laura Wait, has a bold, vivid style that attracted me to her work and to the class. She has a background in conservation, too, so she made it clear first thing that "books have to work!" In other words, technique matters. I knew at that point that I'd come to the right place.

More to come.

Laura Wait with one of her artists' books

Detail from another of Laura's books


Eero said...

Hi C,
Great description of Laura's work and approach. There is a book I love in regards to artist's books/journals: "Making Journals By Hand" by Jason Thompson. The author owns the Rag and Bone Bindery in Providence, RI. Not a lot of complex binding info, but great images of artists journals...inspiring imagery.
Love reading your posts: you write beautifully and so clearly!


Clara said...

I own the book you refer to, E. It'some of my favorites. In my post-Penland daze I've been doing little but straightening up my studio and looking through my book arts books, including this one.