Book Arts Unbound

By Peggy Roalf   Friday February 14, 2014

It’s no lie: I love artists’ books and book arts. Last year around this time I received a windfall royalty check from the UK, and decided to invest profits from trade books into book arts. I took several courses at The Center for Book Arts, and have continued the practice in my home studio.

My most recent project is a journal with a cover made from Holland Wax Batik. This is a textile that originated in Indonesia, was first commercially produced in the Netherlands during the Colonial slave trade era, and is historically associated with African fashion.

Most recently this amazing fabric, printed in vibrant colors and wild designs, has been central to works by the London-based Nigerian artist, Yinka Shonibare MBE. And on the covers of Lorenzo Vitturi's award-winning book, Dalston Anatomy (SPBH).

The finished book

Covers front and back. A Moleskin-style band keeps the pages from getting ratty

In order to cover book board with fabric, the material must first be stabilized to prevent stretching, a process that involves bonding Japanese mulberry paper onto the fabric. Then it can be handled in the same way as commercial book cloth. Here are a few photographs of the finished book (above), and in process (below). Following is information about upcoming classes at The Center for Book Arts. This is such a great place to get into book arts, and put a fresh spin on the winter season!

The Center for Book Arts, now celebrating its 40th year, is located at 28 West 27th Street, just west of Broadway, on the third floor. For information about spring classes, go here. To get a picture of the kinds of classes offered and work being done at CBA, visit the blog.

Next Friday, February 21st, at 6:30 pm, Rena Leinberger, Mark Nystrom, and Chad Stayrook will present SP Weather Station, in conjunction with the exhibition currently on view at CBA. Information

In putting a book together, nobody has enough fingers for the job, so elbows often get involved. And here I looped a big binder clip onto a cord, nailed to the shelves above, to improvise a “third arm.” This 250-page journal consumed about 6 oz of PVA glue. [BookArts12.18]