Fairs | January 2011 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Guest Blog: CBAA Conference, Jan 13-16, 2011

Guest Blog by Richard Minsky, book artist

Field Report: CBAA Conference, Jan 13-16, 2011

More than 200 book art educators and librarians gathered at Indiana University, Bloomington last week for the Second Biennial Conference of the College Book Art Association. There were about 50 presentations in so many concurrent sessions it was impossible to attend them all. The speakers and topics were of top quality and interest, making it difficult to choose. There were in-depth analyses of individual book artists' works, including Betty Bright's study of Gaylord Shanilec's Sylvae and Mayflies of the Driftless Region, and Tracy Bergstrom's study of Tom Phillips' Dante's Inferno.

Martin Antonetti and Ruth Rogers presented a report on a conference organized by the Mellon Foundation in which representatives of 23 colleges planned ways to integrate book studies into the liberal arts curriculum. This is one of the most promising developments for the use of Special Collections materials both within a wide range of academic courses and as an independent curricular entity.

Several presentations by librarians focused on ways that book art collections and rare book room materials are used. These varied from highly structured and tightly focused selections organized to give students a clear understanding of the history of the book and of book art to spreading massive quantities of artists' books on a large table and overwhelming the students, who would have to make their own selections of material for inspiration.

Teachers of book art classes presented their pedagogical methodologies, which included processes for selection of text and image, structure and materials, media, pacing, design, typography, and many other elements that determine the final content and form of a book. Some students presented their work as well, which helped in seeing the effectiveness of the method.

A highlight Friday was the Keynote presentation by Ann Hamilton, who presented many examples of her extraordinary installation works from inlaid letterform flooring to a video camera in her mouth and a meditation boat on the Mekong River in Laos.

Among the festivities was a reception for the opening of the CBAA Juried Exhibition, which included both faculty and student work. It's an excellent exhibition. Here are a few cell phone snapshots:

Linda Ekstrom. Circling. Altered Bible.

Leilei Guo. WINDOWS. Books, slides, leather hinges,
wood hangings, Concertina fold.

Karen Kunc. Ephemera. Woodcut, photo-polymer plates,
letterpress, covered boards, leather.

Julie VonDerVellen. 26.2 Miles. Handmade paper.
[CBAA Award: Best in Show, Student Work]

Katya Reka. Spine. Mulberry and handmade Cave flax paper, watercolor, typewriter, thread wax, pencil, centipede binding.

Kitty Maryatt. Arch. Heather Chinese paper, linen thread, acrylic.
[Class project at Scripps College Press].