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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

vintage postcard
CBAS member Diane Stemper alerted us again after she received this info below from Peter Verheyen (Philobiblon). She recommends it for a chuckle. Good cartoon about how one might better market print media with some choice descriptions.


CBAS is gearing up for a great 2014. Keep checking our blog!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Check out this article!

CBAS member Diane Stemper sent us this link to a recent New York Times article. As we already know, artists' books are alive and well. Still, it's great to see coverage in the media.

 Happy Holidays to one and all from CBAS!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A New Twist on Coptic Stitch

A record crowd of 19 Study Group members met in a sun-filled 5th floor room in the Art Academy on Saturday, November 9, to learn single sheet Coptic binding. Everyone was happy to see our presenter for the day, Jo Diamantes. Past Study Group Coordinator, Jo managed to wrangle a few hours from a busy work schedule to lead a great session.
Our teacher Jo
This variation on traditional Coptic binding, because it uses single sheets rather than folded signatures, is most effective with thick pages such as a few of the wonderful examples Jo brought.
Jo's example that uses painted foam core

Another model, a favorite with everyone, features collage on book board. The spine stitching features the prototypical chain stitch that makes the Coptic stitch instantly recognizable. And like other Coptic books, this version opens completely flat, a feature beloved by hand bookbinders.
Collage on book board
After untangling a few very long threads and studying the instructions, everyone soon caught on to the stitching pattern and completed a book using great vintage postcards Jo provided. As always, Study Group members are a cooperative bunch, ready to lend a hand whenever needed.
Helping hands
A special welcome to enthusiastic new Study Group members Anjali and Dora. We hope to see both of you often in the future. And many thanks to Jo for a huge amount of preparation, very comprehensive directions and an overall successful meeting. What a great way to wrap up a fun and productive year for Study Group!

Now...be sure to follow this CBAS blog for Study Group's 2014 offerings.

Thanks to Study Group Coordinator Janice for the info and photos for this post as well as shepherding us through a wonderful series of meetings for 2013. You're the best!

Monday, November 11, 2013

CBAS at Tiger Lily Print Sale

Once again, Tiger Lily Press invited CBAS members to join in TLP's Annual Print Sale on Saturday, November 2, at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center.
Tiger Lily Press sale draws a crowd
At the CBAS tables, Cody Calhoun, Cecie Chewning, Jeanne Clark, Jo Diamantes, Judy Dominic, Nancy Driesbach, Paul Kirk, Lou Kroner and Judith Serling-Sturm offered a variety of books, prints, cards, pastels and handade papers to patrons of the show.
Lou helps a customer
Veronica Sorcher and Janice Kagermeier joined Cecie, Nancy, Paula and Lou in promoting CBAS and selling members' work.
Shoppers at our tables talk with CBAS volunteers
At nearby tables were Peg Rhein and Sara Pearce, members of both CBAS and Tiger Lily Press, to offer their handmade paper works, cards, calendars and prints.

For more photos of the sale, check the Tiger Lily Press blog http://tigerlilypress.blogspot.com/
Thanks to Lou for the post info.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Come See Us at the Tiger Lily Press Print Sale

CBAS book artists will be showing and selling again as guests at the annual Tiger Lily Press Print Sale on Saturday, November 2, 11-5. Come find us on the second floor at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, 3711 Clifton Avenue. It will be a great time to shop for holiday gift-giving. This year GIVE ART! Or just treat yourself to something very special.

And the Autumn Air Art Fair will be hopping on the first floor. Lots to see and a fine time to support your local artists.

Thanks, Tiger Lily, for letting us be a part of your event.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


"I'm really glad I was here. It was so rewarding." That was the parting comment of a first time Books by the Banks (BBTB) volunteer at the CBAS table, and it perfectly sums up the experience. Watching the changing expressions on a child's face as she learned to make her own book was indeed a rewarding and fun experience for a dozen CBAS volunteers at this year's event on Saturday, October 12.

Books by the Banks, a free event in its 7th year, is always a busy day for CBAS and our main community event for children. This year we broke all previous participation records, helping more than 200 children and a handful of interested adults learn to make simple side bound books. "Controlled chaos" might describe the day, with thousands of book lovers of all ages and descriptions crowding into the Duke Energy Convention Center. More than a dozen book-related organizations (libraries, literacy groups, reading advocacy agencies) had tables with representatives to explain their missions, while in the central area a hundred plus local, regional and nationally known authors and illustrators signed books and spoke about their work. What could be more inspiring than a huge community turn out in support of books and reading? Recognizing children who'd come to BBTB as toddlers and were now in junior high and still in love with making books!
Helping Mom tie the ribbon to secure the new book's spine.
Especially popular at the CBAS booth was the side of the table devoted to decorating and adding content to the newly made books. Because Halloween is coming up in a few weeks, the holiday stamps and cut-outs were big favorites. While most of the younger children were happy to use as many rubber stamps as possible, many of the school age book lovers got so involved they wrote complete stories and carefully illustrated their books.
This young lady got completely engrossed in writing a book she entitled The Haunted House.
Everything CBAS does is fueled by volunteers, this event more than others. We're grateful for volunteers Beth, Dee, Janice, Jack, Jeanne, Judith, Lou, Mark, Nancy, Paula, Peg and Trish who gave up time on a beautiful Saturday to help, and to Cecie, Dee, Dianne, Janice, Jo, Judith and Judy who assembled the kits. Thanks also to the BBTB planning committee for providing funding for all of our supplies. And we were delighted that members of the Greater Cincinnati Calligraphers' Guild joined us again this year to create elegant personalized bookmarks for visitors to our booth.
A future illustrator in the making?
So what's on your calendar for mid-October next year? CBAS is already planning for BBTB 2014!
Thanks, Janice K., for this great report on a special day.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Note from a CBAS member

After visiting the current CBAS exhibition at Studio San Giuseppe gallery on October 2, CBAS member Jo Diamantes sent in this review:

I'm not going to name any titles or drop any author names, but you really owe it to yourself to see the book/ARTS/book exhibit at Studio San Giuseppe at the College of Mount St. Joseph. It will inspire you! There are accordion folds, scrolls, interactive, leather bound and all sorts of other book formats. The subjects are diverse and the colors intense. There are serious to whimsical subjects. All are done by artists who care about books and the art of an artist's book. The installation is great. The books are well displayed wtih the artists' statements right there to read and enjoy. You can easily spend an hour just browsing to find your favorites. AND, many of the books are interactive so, if you are gentle, you can peek inside them and admire the book in its entirety—not just the covers. The show runs until October 25; make plans now to see it before it closes. I went yesterday and it was a morning well spent.

For more details on the exhibition, see blog post of September 25, 2013.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Learning New Surface Design Techniques at Study Group

Fifteen Study Group members had a great time on Saturday, October 5, at the Corryville Branch Library learning surface design techniques from Lou Kroner, longtime teacher and current CBAS chair.

Lou started the session by talking about the many possibilities for using black walnut ink and showing us some examples of his work, the majority of which were on his own handmade papers. Since this is walnut season, be on the lookout for Study Group members around town picking up fallen walnuts to make their own ink. Seeing Lou's work was perfect inspiration for an entire session on using walnut ink being planned by a group of eager members for March of 2014.
A few of Lou's walnut ink papers
Two work stations were set up. The first surface design technique was one Lou learned studying at Arrowmont with legendary book artist Dolph Smith, master of the architectural book form. Beginning with book board, we glued on a selection of shapes with PVA glue.
The beginnings of a design
After allowing the glue to dry, we then painted the entire surface with a mix of half shellac half graphite. Gloves are definitely in order when using graphite, as several of us discovered! When the surface was dry, we buffed it with very fine (000) steel wool.
Buffing the surface with steel wool
The result is a beautiful piece that looks like pewter, but is as lightweight as book board. Endless possibilities for unique book covers!
Lou's graphite samples using Dolph Smith's technique
Our second adventure was with foam stamping using three different weights and sizes of foam, and a number of techniques to emboss designs in the foam. Participants experimented with using a heat gun to warm foam sheets to better accept an impression from one of the many great objects Lou brought: everything from a vintage aluminum tray to a piece of vinyl siding to a fly swatter!
Foam embossing work station
We also experimented with creating designs using a small wood burning tool to carefully carve patterns into thick foam blocks, a very different look from the impressions made in the thinner foam sheets.
Using the wood burning tool
Using our newly minted stamps, participants created some wonderful designs, again with endless possibilities. Almost as inspiring as the designs was Lou's unique method of filing samples of each of the stamped prints he's made. Who would have known that sheets designed for displaying collectible baseball cards would be a perfect way to organize decorative paper?
A brilliant way to save samples
Many thanks to Lou Kroner for presenting a truly inspiring Study Group session. The next weeks are definitely going to find lucky Study Group members busy experimenting with all they learned.
And thanks to Janice K. for sending in the news and photos.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

TLP Upcoming Opening and Exhibition

CBAS members are looking forward to viewing the exhibition of recent work by the many talented printmakers of Tiger Lily Press (TLP). As you can see below, the opening is at 5th Street Gallery on the evening of Friday, October 11. If you can't make the opening, stop by during the run of the show through November 2.
 And go right ahead and mark your calendars now for the annual Tiger Lily Press Print Sale at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center on Saturday, November 2. TLP has kindly invited CBAS members to participate again. More details as the event gets closer.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

New on the bookshelf...

Two new books arrived on our doorstep last week from Amazon. If you get a chance to look at either, you're sure to be delighted.
500 Handmade Books, Volume 2, (Lark, 2013) is just as inspirational as the first volume that came out a few years ago. Julie Chen was the juror for this one, so you can imagine the quality of the work. Every page is a visual treat. Don't miss the fine binding by CBAS member Karen Hanmer. In addition to Karen, who has taught workshops for us, you'll find books by other CBAS visiting artists Peter and Donna Thomas, Bea Nettles and Paul Johnson. There is also a book by NKU faculty member Julie Mader-Meersman.
Awake in the Dream World: The Art of Audrey Niffenegger (powerHouse Books, 2013) serves as the catalogue for the current Niffenegger exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC. Featuring prints, drawings, paintings and books, this is the first solo exhibition of the artist's work in a major museum; in case you're planning to be in the capital in the next few months, it will be up through November 10. The artist is perhaps best known to the general public as the author of the novels The Time Traveler's Wife (2003, later made into a movie) and Her Fearful Symmetry (2009). But she has also produced a number of artist's books combining her own words and images and is a founder of the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts.

And remember, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Avenue, NW, has an amazing and growing collection of artists' books, curated by Krystyna Wasserman. It should be on our pilgrimage route.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


A crowd of almost 80 gathered on Sunday afternoon, September 22, at Studio San Giuseppe, College of Mount St. Joseph (MSJ), to get a first look at the exhibition book/ARTS/book featuring 63 works by 33 CBAS members.
Visitors in hallway gallery
Everyone wandered through the installation to admire various interpretations of "the book" that included many non-traditional structures as well as easily recognizable forms.
Variety of book forms
An interactive book
At 2:30 the attendees moved to a classroom to hear Gabrielle Fox, a CBAS founder, share what she does as a fine binder and book artist. Next, Margaret Rhein shared her work as a paper artist, and Marianne Burke talked about her background in calligraphy.
SRO crowd for presentations
All three artists have work in the exhibition incorporating their specific talents in a variety of books. CBAS board member Kevin Grace introduced the panel and, following the presentations, moderated questions from the crowd that included thoughts about the future of the physical book in a world of rapid technological change.
Kennedy Heights Art Center group looks carefully
A group of novice book makers from the Kennedy Heights Art Center, who will soon be working with artist Jan Thomas on a collaborative book project, were a welcome addition to the afternoon and enthusiastic viewers of our work.
Diane Stemper shares her work with admirers Cran and Jack Campbell
Kudos for a beautiful installation and festive reception go to Velma Dailey, Gallery Director, to Jerry Bellas, Assistant to the Gallery Director and Art Department faculty member, and to MSJ student assistants. Thanks for making it possible for us to share our work at such a fine venue.

book/ARTS/book will be on view through October 25 and is well worth a visit...or two! For a MSJ press release about the exhibition, along with gallery hours and details, see http://www.msj.edu/about/facilities/studio-san-giuseppe-art-gallery/

Monday, September 23, 2013


Fourteen members of Study Group spent the afternoon of September 14 exploring possibilities for our planned collaborative book, inspired by a June field trip to the Vent Haven Museum. (See blog post of June 9, 2013.) One of this area's hidden treasures, Vent Haven is the world's only museum dedicated to the art of ventriloquism, and our visit is still the object of fascination.

First used by the French Surrealists in the 1920s as a writing exercise, the exquisite corpse process later developed as a book structure using pages divided into sections that flip back and forth. The resulting composite images can be humorous, eerie, absurd and are always just a bit unnerving. The figures at the Vent Haven Museum offer wonderful possibilities for using this book form.
Exquisite corpse examples
For September's Study Group, Peg Rhein and Janice Kagermeier brought in numerous examples of exquisite corpse books to generate discussion on how we might want to format and bind our collaborative book. Several members brought their own work to share, including Cecie Chewning who brought a portfolio of beautiful pastels and April Foster who showed photos of the magical marionettes built by her late father.
Cecie with pastel portrait of a Vent Haven dummy
April's photos of her father's marionettes
For the hands-on segment of the session, each member built a drum leaf book using prepared photos, cut the text block in half horizontally and added a cover.
Gluing up our drum leaf samples
Although we didn't finalize the details, the consensus seemed to be that the drum leaf structure would work for our final book, and the ability to incorporate text would add another fun dimension. Lots of possibilities were discussed, including distributing one basic image for each participant to color, collage or embellish in their own style. The next step will be to decide on dimensions and materials for the final book and to establish guidelines for submitting images. Stay tuned.

Thanks to Peg for guiding us through the process, and to Janice for her help.
Possibilities include adding text to images

And thanks to Janice for sending along this report and photos.

Monday, September 16, 2013

CBAS Exhibition at College of Mount St. Joseph

College of Mount St. Joseph's
Studio San Giuseppe Gallery
announces an exhibition of work by
Cincinnati Book Arts Society artists

September 22-October 25, 2013

Sabbath 2006 by Wendell Berry (Larkspur Press). Handbound in green & off-white leathers by Gabrielle Fox.

Artists' Reception: Sunday September 22, 2-4 pm
including a presentation & discussion: "What are the Book Arts?" 
Kevin Grace, University of Cincinnati Senior Librarian, Archivist and Head of the University's Archive and Rare Books Collection
Gabrielle Fox, bookbinder and author of The Essential Guide to Making Handmade Books
Margaret Rhine, handmade paper artist and owner of Terrapin Paper Mill
Marianne Burke, calligrapher and lettering artist

Studio San Guiseppe
Department of Art and Design, College of Mount St. Joseph
5701 Delhi Road, Cincinnati, OH 45233
Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday 10 am to 5 pm; Saturday & Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August Study Group Wins a Double Header

The Reds might have been out of town, but a dozen members of Study Group played a double header on Saturday, August 17. We began the afternoon with a visit to the Lloyd Library and Museum's Wounded Home exhibit, curated by CBAS member Kate Kern. A compelling collaboration by seven artists who used library resources as inspiration, Wounded Home explores the devastating effects of the Civil War on the homefront.
Anna answering Cecie's question
Many thanks to Exhibits Curator Anna Heran for introducing the group to the exhibit and to the Lloyd's fascinating collection of ancient and modern materials on pharmacology, herbalism, natural science, medicine, botany, scientific history and the visual arts. The Lloyd is one of Cincinnati's hidden treasures, and most definitely worth a visit.

After visiting the Lloyd, members re-convened at the Main Library for a very different exploration. Using old game boards as the base (Uncle Wiggly, anyone?), each of us made a collapsible punching cradle. A cradle is a must for bookmakers, and a collapsible one will be a practical addition to the supply kits we carry to CBAS meetings and workshops.
Busy group
Completed cradle
We were especially happy to welcome two new participants. Jenny and Jim, we hope you'll become regular Study Group members and join in our explorations.
Thanks to Janice for sending us this news and for being our instructor in making the cradles.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Library Purchases from Bookworks 14

This post comes to us from Jeanne Strauss-De Groote—

As curator of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County's artists books collection, I am delighted to announce that the library purchased some inspiring and very original books from this year's display. They will be added to the library's wonderful and always growing collection.
Retablo for Herb, Virginia Burroughs

Retablo for Herb, created by Virginia Burroughs, is a very personal and original piece in the form of an open box containing precious relics from the artist's late husband. Retablo for Herb is a memorial object that recalls traditional African American art made out of common daily objects, deeply charged emotionally.
Healing Not Whole, Cecie Chewning
Healing Not Whole, by Cecie Chewning, is an accordion book with photos of remarkably beautiful pastel drawings by the artist. Inspired by tree calluses observed in nature, the drawings are mysterious abstractions. The book, with its accompanying poem by J. A. Chewning, is rooted in the artist's personal experience and reflection on human suffering and healing, and their parallels in nature.
When I..., Janice Kagermeier
 When I... and Columbus Day are two books by Janice Kagermeier. Simple in appearance, they are deeply human and moving. Both are wonderfully crafted. When I... is a joyful memorial to the ceramic creations by Kentucky potter Greg Seigel that the artist has collected. Columbus Day is a book of memories, with images of older papers and photographs, celebrating the immigration of the artist's father from a Bavarian village to America. Both of Kagermeier's books mix text and images with a striking coherence and reveal the artist's great talent as a storyteller.
A page from Columbus Day, Janice Kagermeier
CBAS congratulates this year's artists and expresses its gratitude for the Public Library's continuing support of the art of the book.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Bookmaking at the Main Library

On the afternoon of Saturday, August 3, almost 50 curious folks stopped by the CBAS tables in the Atrium of the Main Library for an introduction to bookmaking. After doing a simple stab binding and a basic one-page book, participants were very interested in the examples volunteers had brought to display and had lots of questions about how each structure was made.
Some of our visitors were passersby attracted to the activity near the Information kiosk, but at least a half dozen had come specifically to find out about CBAS and learn more about making books. Included in our guests: a young man who wanted to learn bookmaking so he could bind some of his own writings, a very enthusiastic young couple with a million questions, a woman eager to share what she'd learned with the mothers' group at her church, a 13-year old who talked her Bengals jersey wearing dad into making his own book, a retired gentleman with a British accent who's been a weaver for 25+ years and is eager to learn Coptic binding, and a tattooed and multiply-pierced fellow in a Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt excited to learn he could make a book of his own drawings.

One of our goals for the year has been increasing community outreach, and this program was another great example of how eager people in Cincinnati are to learn about bookmaking and about our organization.

Many thanks to CBAS members Fran, Janice, Patty and Veronica for volunteering to share their enthusiasm for bookmaking, and to Jeanne, Cindy and Chris at the Main Library for arranging the program.

And thanks to Janice for sending us this photo and post.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

CBAS is really cookin'!

Judy, keeper of the pots
What do you get when you mix water, a few iron nails, a roll-up of linen, bits of spinach, marigold, onion skins and slices of avocado pits? Something wonderful if you were in the garage at Judy Dominic's house in Harrison this weekend. That's where she introduced 8 of us to contact dyeing.

Useful plant materials for dyeing
Bundles ready for the pots
Simmering pots on burners in the garage and Judy's deck were readied while we tied up our bundles of both cloth and paper as tight as we could. We had covered the insides of the bundles with lots of plant materials that Judy had prepared for us to choose from. Then we crossed our fingers and pushed our sticks and packages into the chosen brew of either iron or copper water. Some of us also played around with dipping and submerging our paper and cloth samples into a pan of lovely walnut dye. In addition, there was rust dyeing in baggies with vinegar water.
Walnut dye pot
Rust packets cooking in the sun
After the labor-intensive afternoon, we left things to soak overnight. Returning on Sunday, we were all eager to see what had happened. There were no mistakes, just gorgeous and even more gorgeous results.
April looks for her bundles in the crowd
Cecie's folded paper with plant material still adhered
Lou shows off a beautiful gauze piece
Our show-and-tell was fun and helpful at the close of the workshop. We're so grateful to Judy for sharing her expertise.
Carolyn loves rust
Violet and Louise got great results, even with blueberries
Carole produced 2 beautiful silk scarves

Jeanne shows her experiment with steel wool
Another group of CBAS folks will be the lucky ones next weekend when Judy again pulls out all the pots!
Watch for another report from weekend #2.