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"Booklyn on the Road:" An Artist's Book Trunk Show

February 24, 2010 at 9:40 am
By Margaret Taylor '10

On Monday, Carleton hosted a visiting speaker from a bookbinding artist’s collaborative in Brooklyn, NY.

Marshall Weber is the Director of Collection Development of Booklyn Artist’s Alliance, an nonprofit organization that brings together book artists and helps them to collaborate.  Their stated goal is to “encourage the proliferation and appreciation of people-made books as an antidote to industry-produced counterparts.”  Booklyn serves this goal by providing community to book artists, publishing handmade books, and working with collectors and the general public to educate people about book arts.

As part of Booklyn’s educational effort, Weber arrived at the Athenaeum Monday with a case full of samples of Booklyn members’ work.  How to define book arts?  Weber’s books are books that exist simply for the sake of being books.  None of them are mass-produced, and in fact, many are one-of-a-kind.  These are books that defy Gutenberg by being printed on handmade paper, hand-sewn, with delicately cut pages or rubbings of tombstones done in organic dyes.  One “book” is a collection of Chairman’ Mao’s quotes painted onto a box of cigarettes.

Weber analogizes book arts to what happened to painting once photography was invented: “I think the book has been revitalized because it’s been liberated from being a receptacle for data.”  That is, the blog doesn’t spell the death of the book, but allows it to become more of an art form than ever before.

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