Saturday, November 12, 2022

What I did on my summer vacation: Medieval Bookbinding Boot Camp

A big thank-you to NSBAG members who made it out to the Central Library on a cold, November night to hear about Jim Croft's Old Ways medieval bookbinding boot camp and sit through 70 slides of vacation snaps and my judiciously documented "medieval face".  I think we can all agree that this vision of loveliness was worth the price of admission.  


Who has the better medieval face?


It was a pleasure to talk about my off-grid, off-line bookbinding adventures with you and I am happy to expound on my experience further to anyone who will listen.  Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions or you'd like to hear more, especially if you are thinking you might like to attend Jim's workshop one summer.  It was a transformational experience.

As promised, here is a link to Jim and Melody's Old Ways, though if you would like to contact them, it is best to reach them by phone.  And here are a handful of links, some from participants in previous years, to give you more information about making things by hand in the wilds of Idaho: 

Looking forward to getting together again in the new year for making our own book weights.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Nocturne "Legacy": printing, collage, and origami

Nocturne, Halifax's October contemporary arts festival, is now in its 15th year. This year's theme of "Legacy," featured installations of particular interest to book and paper arts enthusiasts.

Outside the Dawson Print Shop on the Granville Mall, Katherine Taylor, a NSCAD book arts and letterpress instructor, was running a "hands on" demonstration of a table top printing press. This family-friendly exhibit let people experience making a colour pressure print. Based on Ms. Taylor's Ukrainian legacy, she had the word "Family" carved using Cyrillic letters, into a lino block. It was then printed on a base print of an intricate flower pattern, reminiscent of paper filigree. The chipboard base print pressure plate was cut using a Cricut machine, which can reproduce and cut most paper material and almost any pattern that is uploaded to a computer. The design possibilities for cards, posters, end plates and text blocks is virtually limitless.

The Legacy theme continued over at Inkwell letterpress studio on South Park Street, with another interactive print/paper activity. Billed as "Mind your Ps and Qs," prints of common English language phrases originating from the print industry, were created on a 1921 cast iron printing press that uses carbon negative ink made from algae. Like the Dawson Print shop, each participant went home with a print.

On Lower Water Street, the Halifax Collage Collective created a large, paper-based mural collage. Participants were asked to comb through paper-based materials and ephemera like old magazines, journals, drawings, printed material, etc., and select items that they felt contributed to their personal legacy. Using scissors, glue and drawing materials, a paper-based collage was created that encouraged participants to reflect on their personal legacy.

At the Chase Gallery (located in the NS Archives, on the Dalhousie University campus), a group show based on identity called "I Am What I Am," featured works using materials ranging from acrylic, paint and fabric to metal, found objects and paper mâché. Among those featured, was Miya Turnbull, a Japanese Canadian artist living in Nova Scotia whose art practice is informed by Japanese paper work. Among Ms. Turnbull's works was a series of Origami Self Portraits (of crane, frog, heart, box and butterfly) created from colour photographic prints incorporating the artist's eyes and lips. This original approach in utilizing deconstructed facial features in origami was both mesmerizing and unsettling.

While Nocturne is over, "I Am What I Am" continues until Oct. 29th, 2022.
Miya Turnbull origami self portraits

Review by Charles Salmon

Friday, September 30, 2022

First NSBAG Meeting, Sept. 29

The first meeting of the Nova Scotia Book Arts Group was a lovely success last night. We enjoyed meeting everyone and learning about their backgrounds. The range of participants was broad, from medievalists to modern book artists and hobbyists. We heard from a classically trained bookbinder, an expert on Japanese paper, a librarian who works with medieval manuscripts, visual artists and sculptors, an online book reviewer, and letterpress and marbling enthusiasts. Many of the attendees brought items to share for the show-and-tell component, including a variety of handmade books and boxes, artist's books, marbled papers, handmade papers, some interesting tools, and a pop-up book. Thanks to everyone who came and shared their passion for the book arts.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Welcome to the Nova Scotia Book Arts Group

The Nova Scotia Book Arts Group has recently come together with the intention of establishing a local, active, and connected community of book and paper arts enthusiasts and practitioners. Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, we invite folks in this area and across the province, to get in touch with us if you would like to be involved and we will add you to our email mailing list. We will post more information and meeting details on this blog regularly so you can also check back here to stay informed.

We intend to have regular meetings in Halifax and we have a variety of programming ideas that we're excited to share with the local book arts community. For example, our meetings will include some guest speakers, demonstrations, book arts projects, book swaps, etc. A schedule for the upcoming months will be announced soon. We look forward to having more folks involved and gathering your input for future programming.

Who is invited?
Any local book arts practitioner or enthusiast.

What are book arts?
A category of art forms that include traditional skills such as bookbinding, papermaking, paper marbling, letterpress printing, and newer methods of artmaking inspired by the form and function of books. 

Who are the inaugural organizing members?

Rhonda Miller, Stephanie Morley, Marilynn Rudi, and Charles Salmon.