Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit and teach at The Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland, Ohio. The Morgan was established approximately 7 years ago and, as its website states, it is "a non-profit art center dedicated to the production and preservation of hand papermaking and the art of the book."

The website doesn't seem to mention a date for when The Morgan was established, so my 7-year approximation is based on my memory of a presentation about The Morgan when it was still in its earliest development. There was a slideshow that consisted mostly of photos of an empty warehouse and Tom Balbo explaining how each corner of the building and the lot would be used in the future. That presentation was in 2008. Tom Balbo, a paper and ceramic artist, was the man behind that presentation and is now the executive director of the centre.

When I first arrived, I was given a tour of the facility and trust me, the magnitude of this place cannot be overstated. It's a big building, but they have also figured out how to make it seem bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. There is some office space, but much of the centre is dedicated to paper making. They do both Western and Eastern styles of papermaking so there is equipment for both, several beaters and tanks in many sizes and styles, large and small hanji tanks, and more molds and deckles than I've ever seen in one place before.

One of the small beaters.

Part of the mold and deckle collection.

A small hanji tank.

There is also an outdoor area where they are growing raw materials for some of their paper. They have created a kozo garden so they have been able to harvest their own kozo for making paper.

A bit of the Kozo garden.

There is also a gallery space, a bindery, and an extensive letterpress studio with several presses and tons of type. When I was visiting, the gallery space was being used for a letterpress exhibit.

Part of the gallery space.

Of course, I spent most of my time in the bindery area where I conducted two one-day workshops. The first day, I taught Anne Goy's Criss Cross binding (formerly known as the Secret Belgian Binding).

Books made in the workshop.

The second day was a Japanese bookbinding workshop where we did two different bindings: a multi section binding (seen here with the colourful Chyiogami cover papers) and a traditional account book structure.

Japanese books made in the workshop.

The workshops were great and I really enjoyed my time there. Thanks to The Morgan for this opportunity (and thanks to Fran for hosting and housing me). Anyone who is interested in papermaking and book arts should add this place to their "to do" list and visit if you find yourself in Cleveland. They have an impressive list of workshops continuing throughout the summer too (more info on their website).

If you'd like to see a few more pictures that I took or a whole bunch of photos that were taken by the staff at The Morgan during my workshops, you can visit my page on Facebook or The Morgan's facebook page.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Chaekkori at The Cleveland Museum of Art

Last month, I went to the Cleveland Museum of Art and toured the various collections rather single-mindedly. We were looking for books. Or book-related things.

There were a few actual books on display. Of course, they were on display for the purpose of showing the illuminated pages inside so the books were enclosed in glass cabinets. No consideration at all for the bookbinders who might be visiting! So we examined them as much as possible looking at things like clasps and headbands and discussing which ones appeared to be repaired, rebound, or with original binding features.

Books are also a very common prop in paintings through the ages, apparently. So we played a little game of "name that binding" as we found various styles represented in paintings...

... and sculptures throughout the museum.

Of course, the history of the book began long before the codex format. We found carved stone (1200 BC) and papyrus scrolls (1000 BC) from Egypt... well as Chinese handscrolls on silk, porcelain plaques from Korea, and paper documents from India.

Finally this is Chaekkori, Korean for books and things. A ten panel folding screen from Korea (late 1800s) featuring bookcases filled with books and other scholarly items meant to represent a Confucian study.

Apparently the Cleveland Museum of Art also has a lot of non-book-related items too! Next time I'll try to see some of them. It is a VERY large place, though, and I didn't even come close to seeing all the collections. Next time!

Monday, June 02, 2014

The month of May

It is surprising that I did not post anything on my blog during the month of May since May was actually a very busy time for me in the world of bookbinding and related activities! So I will try to catch up now with a quick review.

First, I went to Paper and Book Intensive at the OxBow School of Art and Artist's Residency, in Saugatuck, Michigan. This is a ten-day session of intensive book arts workshops and this was my fifth time attending the annual event. During PBI, I took three classes. Gold Finishing taught by Sam Fein­stein. Three Case Bindings for Editions, taught by Priscilla Spitler. And Embossed leather bindings, taught by Bon­nie Stahlecker. I will post detailed reviews of these classes soon, once I have a chance to collect my notes and photos.

While I was away, I was able to cross off a small thing on my personal bucket list. I found myself driving through Ann Arbor, Michigan and so I was able to go to Hollander's retail store. I have shopped online with Hollander's periodically in the past, but had never actually been to the store. So now I've been there, and it was FABULOUS. If you are anywhere near Ann Arbour, then you should really check it out. Here's a photo I took, showing one aisle of paper. This is a small sample of what they have. And they have more than just paper. But certainly lots of paper!

After PBI, I spent a few days in Cleveland, Ohio and taught two workshops at The Morgan Conservatory. While in Cleveland, I also visited the Cleveland Art Museum. The Morgan Conservatory, the workshops I was teaching, and the visit to the CAM will all be featured in upcoming blog posts as soon as I get my thoughts in order. Lots to share with you over the next few weeks!