Welcome to the Cincinnati Book Arts Society Blog

Please use and visit our blog!
Questions? Curious? Email CBAS at: cbasinformation@gmail.com

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Illuminated and Royal

As the admin person of the CBAS blog, I thought I would post a small report from London (I am away with my spouse leading a Study Abroad program) where a wonderful exhibit of Royal Illuminated Manuscripts is on display at the British Library. I always go to exhibits with my camera in hand however, in this case, there was no photography allowed and several guards keeping watch. Hmmm…take pictures, get thrown out and not see the exhibit….or… Unfortunately, I am unable to provide few images to go along with my explanation of the exhibit. The ones that are here are from a few postcards I bought! And one of the entry sign. I have posted below a link to the exhibit web site too.

The exhibit was spectacular and exhausting, my eyes burning after a while looking at such small and intriguing details. It had over 150 manuscripts as part of it as well as a few paintings and is drawn primarily from the Old Royal Library that was given to the “Nation” by George II. The works on exhibit spanned from religious texts, prayer books, historical genealogical works that confirmed respective Monarchs their status and authority to rule to French literary texts, books on how to be a king as well as bestiaries, early encyclopedias, atlases, books on health and a small book written in the hand of Queen Elizabeth I that she made for her dad, Henry VIII. All from the 8th to 16th centuries. 
Margaret of York and the Resurrected Christ
The marginalia was really great, fascinating, along with the usual floral and plant like scrolls and line designs were margins decorated with an abundance of fruit and flowers, including the thistle, butterflies, birds of all kinds, snails and bees. Dragons waving flags and little people moved along the edges. I can’t say that I had an absolute favorite but I am partial to maps and spent quite a bit time looking over the books that had various versions of the world from a 14th or 16th century viewpoint. One large atlas (18x24”) with a page that was open to a view of Brazil showed the coast line and had intricate, colorful drawings of people at work in the fields and clear views of the crops and the houses. I wanted to see more of course!
Lions breathing life into their new born cubs
It appeared that Bruges was a center for book illustration, binding and illumination as well as St. Albans in England. A fun little detail is that the collection, while contributed to by many kings over the centuries, had the largest number of texts added during Henry VIII’s rule, as he collected many religious and philosophical texts hoping to find evidence and reason to support his desire for divorce!
From the Psalter of Henry VIII
 The British Library has an engaging and wonderful permanent display too, AND an exhibit on Dickens, who is celebrating his 200th this year… I decided all that had to be for another day, as I my mind was swimming with plenty of little squiggles and beautiful illustrations for one day.

Click on the link and it will take you to the exhibit web site. You can view a few of the images and texts from the exhibit. Click on the “Turning the Pages” link (left hand side bar) and choose your application (I choose SilverLight, which my laptop has for Windows 7) and you can view a few texts almost in their entirety. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Study Group having a great winter so far....

Well, full disclosure, I (Diane - blog person for CBAS) have been away from the Ohio River Valley for the past few months and instead have taken up temporary residence in the vicinity of the River Thames. While I have been away the CBAS Study Group has been doing some wonderful things, teaching and learning together and Janice - the thorough and enthusiastic leader of the Study Group - sent this blog entry for January and February Study Groups.
Looks like great fun! 

Cecie teaching Japanese Stab Binding
The CBAS Study Group has started 2012 off with two wonderful programs, and everyone is energized for a varied and busy schedule this year.  It has been good to get together again to share our enthusiasm for the book arts.

On January 14 at the Northside Branch Library, CBAS Vice Chair Cecie Chewning led a workshop on Stab Binding.  After introducing the history, basics and many practical uses of this often deceptively simple binding, Cecie did an amazing job teaching the group of 12 how to do 4 basic stab bound stitches. 

Each participant received 2 pre-drilled and carefully labelled sturdy templates we then used to practice our stab binding stitches.  The templates were a great idea and will be easy-to-follow visual reminders of each of the stitch patterns. After learning these basic stitches, about half the group began work on a blank book as their first project. The other half, members who had contributed art to a 2010 collaborative effort, stitched a book of Spring Grove Cemetery images and words inspired by a tour Cecie gave us highlighting the art-rich history of that beautiful landmark.  
Template for Stab Binding
The afternoon’s last project was stitching a narrow ledger.  It was fun to think about its multiple uses: everything from list keeping to sketching to writing haiku.  Everyone left with some great ideas for new projects. 
 Many thanks to Cecie for all of her preparation and excellent instruction.  Our January meeting was a perfect start-off to the new year.

Study Group met again on February 11, this time at the Corryville Branch Library, to learn how to make a beautiful box for holding postcards, loose pages, a bound book or other treasures. 

Mark Palkovic - miniature book binder & instructor for the day

Mark Palkovic, longtime CBAS Board member and Chair of the Miniature Book Society, was the perfect instructor, able to made a project that looked daunting and labor intensive into an achievable creation for the afternoon.  

Each participant chose a packet of pre-cut boards and lining papers and then selected ribbon and complementary cover material: wallpaper, treated paper or treated leather.  Mark also distributed copies of his excellent instructions with illustrations by Cody Calhoun, CBAS workshop planner extraordinaire who is now living in Texas.  We miss you, Cody.   Thanks for helping in absentia!

Precise measurements and lots of PVA were the order of the day.  Forming the box was made infinitely easier because Mark had pre-cut all of the materials.

Here is a completed box, all of its pieces glued into place.  The fact that the box opens flat makes it a great choice for protecting books that might not fit easily into a slipcase, or for storing all kinds of loose pages.

A few finished boxes
Because of Mark’s great instruction, even those of us who are serious slowpokes were able to make a beautiful box that day.  Who knows what Valentine’s Day treasures might be stored inside? Thanks, Mark, for a truly inspiring workshop!