Welcome to the Cincinnati Book Arts Society Blog

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

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mark Your Calendars for BW XV

It's time to start planning for your 2014 Bookworks XV entries! If your creativity hasn't frozen solid in this cold weather, use it to come up with one or two great ideas and then get busy turning them into amazing books. Our annual exhibition at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County features work by CBAS members and non-members.
Artist Walk-through, June 2013
Please put these reminders on your calendar:
April 21—deadline for entries
June 10—Bookworks XV opens
June 22—Artist walk-through, 2:00 p.m.
July 27—Bookmaking demo in Library atrium
August 3—Artist walk-through, 2:00 p.m.
September 7—Bookworks XV closes

Check back for more details and for the official Call for Entries coming soon.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ida Martin Visits City Hall

Congratulations to Judith Serling-Sturm, CBAS board member, for the installation of her book Ida Martin in the office of Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Mann. Judith was alerted through the Pendleton Art Center that "Cincinnati-inspired" artwork was being sought to rotate in and out of city offices. What a perfect opportunity to place her recently completed piece.
Judith Serling-Sturm's Ida Martin

Before Nicholas Longworth planted his vineyards on the hillside of Mt. Adams and before it became the home of the first professionally outfitted observatory in the country, local history claims Ida Martin was this area's earliest resident. She worked as a laundress, taking care of the needs of residents stationed at Fort Washington, built in 1789 at the base of the hill. It has also been reported that Ida had an unusual house—a very old sycamore tree! In fact, Mt. Adams was called Mt. Ida until former US President John Quincy Adams visited the observatory in 1843.

Judith thoughtfully constructed her book of water-colored sheets of paper interleafed with hanging pieces of "boy and girl" fabric scraps. As Judith says, Ida was a "woman who spent much of her time with her hands in a bucket of suds." The pages are joined with a blanket stitch and attached to the hollow of a large piece of tree bark. An accompanying 4-stanza poem by Judith runs through the book and takes its spark from the children's rhyme, "There was an old woman who lived in a shoe."

There once was a woman
Who lived in a tree
High on a hilltop
In Cincinnati.

A laundress by trade,
She washed all the clothes
Of all the brave soldiers
In the fortress below. 

She stripped off their topcoats,
Removed pantaloons,
And she scrubbed dirt and blood
And she tended their wounds.

Now homes crowd the hilltop
The fort—history,
And more word of the laundress
Remains mystery.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


The new year got off to a great start for CBAS Study Group on January 11 as a dozen members learned the art of making transfer prints from photocopies. Longtime Art Academy of Cincinnati printmaking instructor April Foster was a wonderful guide through the process.
April mixing ink.
April first demonstrated the steps of mixing ink until the right color, transparency and viscosity are reached, then preparing the photocopy for accepting ink, and finally running the treated original and receiving paper through the press.
Rubbing the photocopy with gum arabic so the ink adheres to the image.
Lightly rolling the specially mixed ink onto the prepared photocopy.
The enthusiastic and well prepared participants then went to their own carefully organized work stations to follow April's instructions and begin making their own prints. Images members brought to work from ranged from vintage family photos to elements found in nature to architectural designs to pet portraits, and everyone had the opportunity to experiment with the process. Excitement mounted when we gathered around the presses to watch participants lift the corners of their papers to reveal the newly created prints.
Tah-dah! A first-time printmaker's first prints are revealed.
For those who want to pursue their printmaking, April encouraged membership in Tiger Lily Press (TLP), which offers a variety of classes and opportunities for members to sign up for open studio and use of the TLP presses. Check them out at http://tigerlilypress.org

Many thanks to April for sharing her expertise and enthusiasm for a kind of printmaking that has myriad applications for bookmakers.
April, the perfect guide for our experiments, answers a Study Group member's question.
Thanks to Janice K., Study Group Coordinator, for images and a wonderful report on this event.