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Monday, November 12, 2012


Thanks to Tiger Lily Press artists for again inviting CBAS to participate in their annual sale. This year the new venue at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center was a wonderful one. The crowds were there and came to shop! Our 2 tables were filled and were most ably staffed with volunteers Linda, Judith, Veronica, Lou, Janice, Susan, Sara and Cecie.
Visitors seemed delighted to learn about us as well as purchase some of the great selection of books and book-related materials. A laptop played a slide show loop of Booksworks 12 and 13 entries to promote the variety of work by our members and friends. Kudos to all our artists (Judith, Sara, Cody, Jo, Lou, Judy, Susan, Mark and Cecie) and volunteers who made the day so successful.

Monday, October 22, 2012

CBAS to be at Tiger Lily Press Print and Calendar Sale, November 3

Tiger Lily Press is a fine art printmaking studio, the only one of its kind in the city, that is open to local artists and the community. The annual print sale will feature original prints for sale from Tiger Lily members and the ever-popular fundraiser calendar. Tiger Lily is also pleased to have work for sale from the talented Cincinnati Book Arts Society artists.

This year's sale will be at a new location: Clifton Cultural Arts Center, 2nd Floor Gallery, 3711 Clifton Avenue. The Autumn Air Arts Fair will also be happening at the same time on the first floor at the Center, so there will be lots to see and some great shopping opportunities. Come support your talented local artists!

Monday, October 8, 2012

CBAS to be at Books by the Banks, October 20

A mother helps her daughter make an "I love books" pop-up at 2011 Books by the Banks

CBAS members will again be introducing Books by the Banks visitors to the joys of a handmade book. Last year it was simple pop-ups, and this year it will be rubber band books. Don't know what a rubber band book is? Then make sure to stop by our table between 10 and 4 on Saturday, October 20, at the Duke Energy Convention Center. We'll help you make one of these simple and useful books in just a few minutes. You can check out the event website at www.booksbythebanks.org.

Another proud book artist at the CBAS table in 2011

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Library Announces Acquisitions from Bookworks 13

Thanks to Jeanne Strauss-De Groote for sending us this post:

As the library liaison for the Cincinnati Book Arts Society, and the curator of artists' books at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, I am very pleased to say that this year, the library acquired three books from the CBAS Bookworks 13 display, that will be added to the library's rich collection.
Paper Burns at 451 degrees Fahrenheit: Books Transform at 1800 degrees Fahrenheit by Carol Freid is a very mysterious piece that was created after dipping a book into paper clay slip several times. The book was then dried and fired in an electric kiln. All that is left of the original book is white ash. Carol Freid lives and works in Kentucky.

Fragments of Capri, by Karen Hanmer, will complement the library's nice collection of books made by this Chicago based artist. In this small dreamlike visual object, Karen Hanmer photographed, digitally printed, and deconstructed images from a painting of an Italian landscape that hung over the artist's childhood sofa. Images were then bound into a book using the drum leaf structure.

Uncle Melvin Looks Back, by Janice Kagermeier, is a lovely accordion book with a very strong local connection: the artist captures, in a joyful and materially very satisfying way, the many stories that her uncle, Melvin, told her about growing up in Cincinnati's West End. For the covers of the book, Janice Kagermeier used images of older Cincinnati fire insurance maps, found in the library's collection.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


A studious group
After the popularity of last year's Grandparents Day program at the Mercantile Library, CBAS was invited to hold another workshop, this time for adults. On Saturday morning, September 15, a full house of 12 participants came prepared with scissors, pencils and rulers to make TWO IN TWO (hours), a dos-à-dos booklet and a small leather bound notebook. Janice, April and Cecie found the students, many of them novices, to be quick and able learners. Everybody went home happy with what they had had produced and ready to fill those blank pages.

CBAS teachers are there to help
This was the first in what we hope will be an expanded community outreach program for CBAS in the future. Judging from the enthusiasm and interest of the Mercantile participants, our efforts are right on time.

Special thanks to CBAS member Jo Diamantes for prep of our materials and to Mary Gruber at the Merc for her able assistance.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Folding signatures
Fourteen Study Group members spent a fun afternoon at the Art Academy making a small "fat book," co-instructor Trish DeMonge's self proclaimed favorite book. After learning how to make it, I suspect this decorative little book may well become the new favorite of lots of Study Group members, too.

Using complete kits made up by Trish and with help from co-instructor Nancy Hignite, we began by folding and assembling 12 signatures from card stock. In this case, that phrase was especially apt since the model we constructed used 3"x 5" index cards for the text block.
Busy hands
The folded signatures were sewn individually, half in pamphlet stitch and half in a figure 8 stitch, with extra thread left on the spine for beads if desired. Included in the kit was a length of decorative yarn or ribbon which was then woven through the exposed stitches on the spine. This was the most time consuming part of the project, but Study Group members are never at a loss for conversation, sharing what we've been doing lately and what projects are on the horizon.

The challenge now? To make enough fat books for everyone on our gift lists! Many thanks to Trish for organizing and Nancy for helping with a great session.
Trish's examples

Sunday, September 16, 2012

First CBAS Purchase Award

2012 CBAS Purchase Award—Veronica Sorcher's Gone

After the Bookworks 13 exhibition closed on September 2, CBAS judges Kate Kern (visual artist) and Jerry Bellas (art faculty and gallery director, College of Mount St. Joseph) met to select one work from the exhibition to be purchased by CBAS and donated to the artists' book collection of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in memory of Keith Kuhn, past Chair of CBAS and former Library Services Director. The work chosen was Gone by Veronica Sorcher. It is hoped this will be the first of many CBAS purchase awards from future exhibitions.

Veronica is a Conservation Assistant at the Library. A native of Canada, she has lived in Cincinnati since 2001 and has been an active CBAS member since 2006. Here is her artist's statement about her memorial star book:

My friend David was a terrific collage and zine artist and a powerful influence and inspiration in my life on many, many levels. In this homage I have tried to use some of the techniques, ideas and materials he used in his own work. I used my personal photographs of him and copies of letters he wrote me as well as an e-mail informing me of his sudden death.

Final Bookworks 13 Walk-through

Susan Rench talks about her book, At Ghost Ranch.

Sunday, August 26, was the final walk-through at the annual Bookworks 13 exhibition at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. These artists shared their insightful comments with visitors: Maxine Seelenbinder-Apke, Judith Serling-Sturm, Susan Rench, Patty Bertsch, Diana Duncan Holmes, Timothy Riordan, Jeanne Clark and Cecie Chewning. Thanks to Dianne Dennis and Jo Diamantes, CDs of the works in the exhibition have been prepared for participants in Bookworks 13. We are most grateful to one and all for such an amazing display of talent.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Nine CBAS members spent a beautiful Saturday visiting Lexington for our annual field trip.  Jim Birchfield, Curator of Rare Books at the University of Kentucky’s King Library, was gracious enough to spend part of his day off with us.  The group first viewed the Guild of Book Workers’ Horizons exhibit, an impressive and varied collection of fine bindings from its members all over the country.  With the glass cases open, we were able to get a great close-up view of the intricacies of many of the bindings and the insides of books, a rare treat for a book arts display.

Our next stop was two floors below, the King Library Press, truly a hidden treasure in the region.  The press was founded in 1956 after a group of librarians, working on their lunch hours, produced a small hand printed book.  From that unimpressive beginning, the press has grown to be a first class producer of finely printed books and broadsides.  In a room full of presses of all sizes and kinds, the first to attract our attention was a beautiful wooden common press built by legendary Austrian printer, painter and typographer Victor Hammer based on an ancient press in the Laurentian Library in Florence.  “Gutenberg would be very comfortable with this press,” Jim Birchfield commented as he demonstrated its workings, definitely an operation requiring some serious upper body strength.

Everyone in the group was dazzled by the number and variety of antique presses, every possible accessory, and drawer after drawer of type, among them the American Uncial typeface seen frequently today and one of several created by Victor Hammer.  If you’ve never visited the King Library Press, make a point of doing so next time you’re in Lexington.  Until then, check out their website: http://www.uky.edu/Libraries/KLP/tour/

After a fun lunch at nearby Alfalfa restaurant, we headed to the Bluegrass Printmakers Cooperative where Liz Foley and Lauren Wilder showed us the facility and discussed how it operated.  Members of the co-op have a variety of classes to choose from, and for only $5 an hour, use of the co-op’s equipment and space.  What a great deal!  The majority of our visit was spent informally comparing notes about the challenges small arts organizations like CBAS and BPC face.  Everyone agreed that sharing information and support are among the best things we can do to ensure the health of our organizations.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Member News

CBAS Treasurer Jo Diamantes sent us this summer vacation post. More posts about CBAS member activities are welcomed. Send us a few images and your story.

This is my report about "what I did" during my summer. I went to Taos, NM as a participant in "The Art of Keeping a Sketchbook Journal in Taos, New Mexico" workshop offered by the Art Academy of Cincinnati and taught by Amy Bogard. We stayed at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, a National Historic Landmark. We enjoyed fabulous breakfast and lunch meals there and I stayed in the Willa Cather room. That should whet your interest in this historic inn and conference center. We visited Taos Pueblo, Earthships, the Rio Grand Gorge Bridge and Rio Grande River, and the very famous (because it is the subject of so many paintings) St. Francis de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos. We had lovely dinners at such places as The Love Apple, Guadalajara Grill and Doc Martin's to name a few. 

We watched one of those wonderful New Mexico sunsets and many of us watched sunrises over the mountains behind Taos. This was my second time taking this workshop and I'm ready to go back again!

I stayed in NM an extra day and took in the tour of Georgia O'Keeffe's house in Abiquiu. Making the reservation to be one of 12 on one of the tours several months ahead of time was well worth it. We saw her main house where she lived in Abiquiu, NM. It was pretty much as she had left it in the 1980s, including herbs in the jars in the kitchen and a Kenmore mangle. Did you know her property has water rights for two hours every Monday?

So I had a great summer—what did you do? Love to hear about it. And now I've got to get back to making some books for the November sale and thinking about my entry for the CBAS "Bookworks" exhibition next year.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bookworks 13 Gets a Great Review in Citybeat

Veronica Sorcher's Gone
Judith Serling-Sturm's Amendments Project #4

Have you seen the Bookworks 13 exhibit at the Main Library yet? Citybeat reporter Selena Reder did and was impressed. Check out her great article in the July 18 issue.

Two views of Janice Kagermeier's Uncle Melvin Looks Back (outside, above; inside, below)

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Study Group members met on July 14 to make the Crossed Structure Binding developed by Spanish book artist Carmencho Arregui. Longtime Study Group member and Art Academy of Cincinnati faculty member April Foster did a great job leading a productive and enjoyable session at the Northside Branch Library. About a dozen members, at first daunted by what looked like a complex and difficult structure, left inspired to explore some of the many variations downloadable from Arregui's website www.outofbinding.com.

Everyone came prepared with a pre-cut and folded text block and decorative paper for the lining. Using the template above (made from a single sheet of paper), we cut vinyl for the covers.

 April then showed us how to set up our workspaces using only a cutting mat, metal ruler and binder clips. Everyone concentrated on stitching the signatures together, linen thread over the straps creating a beautifully decorative spine.

 One of the session's highlights was learning about April's ingenious sewing frame, made using a design by Carmencho Arregui. Anchored to the table with C clamps, the frame is made from a single strip of aluminum, bent to specifications. Study Group members were impressed by its portability and minor expense compared to traditional sewing frames.

By the end of the session, almost everyone had completed a beautiful crossed structure binding. We left Study Group with lots of new ideas for variations using heavy paper or leather for the covers, and endless possibilities for embellishment. Many thanks to April for a really inspiring session!
                                                              [Thanks for Janice K. for this post.]

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Looking & Learning at Bookworks 13

Sunday afternoon was the first walk-through of Bookworks 13, the annual CBAS exhibition at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Eight CBAS artists discussed their pieces in the show with library visitors. A big THANK YOU! to CBAS members Nancy, Janice, Jeanne, Paula, Carol, Peg, Veronica and Cecie who shared stories about what led them to create their books, the messages they hoped the books would convey and information about materials and processes. Visitors had good questions to make it a lively conversation.

The exhibition is a feast for those who love book art, with everything from scrolls to accordions to star books to traditional book structures and much more in between. There are fine bindings, altered books and even a Jacob's ladder. Content ranges from the personal to the political to the universal.

Thanks to the library staff—Jeanne Strauss-DeGroote, Kate Lawrence, Cindy Benesch and the graphics department—for again delighting us with the installation.

If you could not make it to the first walk-through, you will have another chance to hear from different artists at walk-through number two, Sunday, August 26, from 2-4 p.m. in the atrium space at the library, 800 Vine Street. Bookworks 13 closes on September 2.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012





“What a wonderful workshop - and such splendid folks to spend two days with.” 
“Want to give everyone a big THANKS for their grounding influence in my life as we stitched our way thru history this weekend.”  “You all created a great environment for intense learning.  I'm exhausted but so proud of all that was accomplished.  Amazing to me that so many different skills and techniques were learned!”

These are a few of the comments from the participants at the “Stitch in Time” workshop with Indianapolis book artist Bonnie Stahlecker, an unqualified success and really energizing learning experience for a dozen CBAS members.  


From the moment we walked into the room and saw how carefully the room had been set up and everyone's workshop kit prepared, we knew this was going to be a great workshop experience.
During the course of two non-stop 9-5 days that went like lightning, participants learned the history of and made 7 historical book structures: a tacket binding (the most ancient binding form), an Ethiopian variation on Coptic stitching bound in beautiful red oak boards, herringbone stitching on goatskin supports, raised double cord binding with packed sewing, French sewing and catch stitch sewing - both on linen tapes, and a longstitch book.  For a group where it’s not uncommon to leave with one or more unfinished projects, the fact that all of us finished all 7 structures was extraordinary and a testament to how well organized and perfectly timed Bonnie’s workshop was.

The Art Academy’s Community Education room was an ideal, light-filled setting for the workshop, and everyone was thrilled to learn that the Art Academy has offered the room for regular meetings of the CBAS Study Group.

Thanks to Cecie Chewning for keeping track of reservations and for hosting a post-workshop pizza and salad dinner; Jo Diamantes for taking care of all the details including set-up and providing that essential ingredient - snacks!; Janice Kagermeier for hosting Bonnie during her stay; Bobbi Vallery for making arrangements for us to use the Community Education Room at the Art Academy; Bonnie Stahlecker for a perfectly organized, enjoyable and truly inspiring workshop; and most of all, an enthusiastic and eager-to-learn group of CBAS members for putting their all into learning an enormous amount of information in just two days.

And now it’s time to practice all those stitches we learned!

Monday, June 11, 2012


Dianne snaps a photo of one of Alice Balterman's books
Tuesday, June 5, was the big day for photography of all the pieces that will be in Bookworks 13, the annual CBAS exhibition at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, 800 Vine Street. Library Liaison Jeanne Strauss-De Groote had reserved a meeting room for the photo shoot and had all the books ready on rolling carts. Intrepid artist, photographer and CBAS member Dianne Dennis again donated her time and expertise to snap images for a CD that will be available at the end of the exhibition. Jo Diamantes and Cecie Chewning worked as Dianne’s assistants to help the day go smoothly. It was truly a team effort. The entries this year are outstanding. They will be installed in the library’s first floor atrium on Monday, June 11, and the exhibition officially opens to the public the following day, June 12. Up throughout the summer, the exhibition closes on September 2.

Packing up the equipment

NOTE: Be sure to mark your calendar to attend one or both of the walk-throughs of Bookworks 13 on Sunday, June 24, and Sunday, August 26. Artists will be on hand from 2 until 4 those afternoons to talk with the public about their books.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

News from the CBAS Study Group...

Bobbi Vallery's Star Book
Study Group Member's Shine
The CBAS Study Group has been on a roll this year, and our May 12th meeting kept us moving right along. Bobbi Vallery did a great job simplifying what everyone had thought would be a really complicated structure, the star book. Bobbi's beautifully illustrated example of the form, inspired by a vacation in a cabin in the woods, was one of the highlights of last year's Bookworks exhibit.
Peg's star book
Bobbi made up kits with pre-cut boards and paper, which made assembling the structures possible in a short meeting. That left us with enough time to add dimension to our books by cutting through the book's four layers. From the same basic kit of blank paper, the ten study group members present at the Northside Branch Library, showed their creativity by completing different and wonderfully imaginative books.
Sara's star book

Robin's star book

Thanks to Bobbi and to all who came - you are what makes the CBAS Study Group a success!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

BOOKWORKS 13 - submit your book today!

The deadline for BOOKWORKS 13 is here
 but it is NOT too late to bring your book to the downtown Main Public Library, Cincinnati.

CBAS is seeking handmade, hand bound unique and small edition artists’ books, fine bindings and sculptural books, to portray a diverse and representational showing of the region’s book arts. The exhibit is open to all CBAS members and non-member artists.

Field Journal by Judith Sterling-Sturm

Last year we had an amazing exhibit and we are sure we can have an equally if not better exhibit this year! We need you to participate. This is the area’s only opportunity to showcase the thriving and talented book arts community in our region.

Italia by Patti Graman-Hanaghan
You can download a BOOKWORKS 13 entry form from the CBAS website if you don’t already have one.
We can’t wait to see what you are making!

Friday, April 20, 2012

CBAS annual meeting and its future renewed again....

Tudor Book from the Tower of London
Before I post an article about CBAS's annual meeting, I want to share a small photo of a very massive book I saw at the Tower of London. The book which is exceptionally wide at the spine is from the Tudor era, you know, the most famous of famous, Henry VIII. The book is an inventory of all the armaments owned by the Monarchy, a massive book for a massive list. Weapons aside, I like the stitching on the straps on the spine. (Diane Stemper)

And now news of the Annual Meeting written by Janice Kagermeir, which I am sorry to have missed ....

About two dozen CBAS members and guests spent a great afternoon together at the CBAS Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 14.  While rain poured outside, we gathered at the Hyde Park Center for Older Adults at noon to share a truly exceptional potluck.  Not only is CBAS a group of exceptional bookmakers, it turns out we’re also wonderfully imaginative cooks.  Sharing lunch was a great opportunity to meet new members and their guests, and to catch up with book-loving friends.  Several people brought show-and-tell items, always a highlight of CBAS gatherings.
CBAS member's books

 After lunch, outgoing President Jack Campbell chaired his last official CBAS meeting, summing up the group’s accomplishments in the past year and letting everyone know about plans for the future.  Jack introduced and members voted to approve the slate of officers and Board members:

OFFICERS: Chairperson-Cecie Chewning, Vice Chair-Janice Kagermeier and Treasurer -Jo Diamantes.  The position of Secretary is currently open.                  
 NEW TRUSTEES:  Lou Kroner, David Umbenhour and Bobbi Vallery.
 RENEWING TRUSTEES: Robin Henderson, Mark Palkovic, Diane Stemper and Jeanne Strauss-De Groote.

After Jack reviewed the list of CBAS committees and urged members to become more involved, Bobbi Vallery volunteered to chair the Program Committee and Lou Kroner volunteered to serve as CBAS Historian/Archivist.  Thanks to both of them.

The highlight of the meeting was a wonderful presentation by guest speaker Matt Kish.  A Dublin, Ohio resident, Matt kept everyone in the group engaged and entertained while he recounted his journey toward creating Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page.  

Matt Kish's Moby Dick illustration
A librarian who has drawn for his own pleasure since childhood but has no formal art training, Matt first talked about the importance of images in his early memories of reading and how he continues to be a very visual reader.  In 2009, unsure if he should continue making art, he decided a challenge was what he needed for his 40th birthday.  Working in studio space that had once been a 4‘x7’ walk-in closet, he undertook the massive project of illustrating Moby-Dick, one of the books that has been most influential in his life.  For 552 consecutive days he drew one illustration for every page of the novel, influenced by text on that page.  The result is a massive and beautiful book, and it was wonderful to hear the story of its creation.   We are so happy that Matt Kish could take time out of his schedule to spend the afternoon with CBAS.  We look forward to his next project, an illustrated edition of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
Matt Kish speaks to CBAS members
Special thanks to all the CBAS members who volunteered to help make the meeting possible, to Mark Palkovic for making arrangements for a projector, and to the Hyde Park Center for letting us use their beautiful facility.