Friday, July 14, 2017

Sacred Books of the East, at PBI 2017

In May, I attended Paper and Book Intensive at Ox-Bow School of Art in Saugatuck, Michigan. It was very nice to be back, after having skipped the previous year! As always, each participant takes three courses at PBI so I will share here a bit about each of mine. The first one is "Sacred Books of the East" with instructor Jim Canary. I had never met Jim before, but his name is one of those that I have been hearing and reading about for a long time. Jim's class turned out to be one of my favorite classes ever. I learned a lot - because so much of the content in the class was new to me - and well, everything Jim said was just fascinating, so thanks, Jim! Jim travels and researches extensively in the Himalayan region so the quality of knowledge that he brings to the subject is extensive and also personal.

We covered a lot in this class. We made two book structures: a palm leaf book with painted wooden covers, using real palm leaves for the pages; and, a sewn Tibetan structure that is historically very old, but practically unknown. We also cooked up pots of indigo, safflower, walnut, and cutch for dying and we were able to do lots of experimentation with paper dying techniques and then incorporate some of those papers into our books. Jim also provided many Tibetan printing blocks that we were able to use. We also prepared fibers for making paper using traditional Nepalese techniques. The fiber was soaked and cooked and cleaned and beaten with mallets then we pulled sheets using the traditional pegged frames that Jim provided.

All of that happened in just four half-day sessions. On top of all that practical work, Jim also shared many stories about his experiences in Tibet, related to books and paper and otherwise. A great way to spend four days!

There are additional photos on my Facebook page.