Eye Candy: Gabrielle Fox and Leonard Seastone

RBMS 18 Showcase ProspectusLast month I went to New Orleans to take part in the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) “Booksellers Showcase” at the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) conference. I was fortunate enough to be one of 40 ABAA booksellers participating. For more about the conference, and upcoming ABAA events, just follow the link below.

https://www.abaa.org/blog/post/2018-rbms

While there I featured an eclectic selection of contemporary art bookbindings, artist’s books, fine press, and pop-ups. Click here for my recent catalogs, including what I brought to RBMS.

Among the artists I showcased at RBMS were bookbinder Gabrielle Fox  and printer Leonard Seastone of Tideline Press. Definitions in the book arts can be fuzzy: Fox sometimes prints and Seastone personally binds most of his Tideline Press work.

Fox’s miniature, Haiku and Other Poems , a limited edition printed by her in gold on Japanese tissue, is one of only three copies specially bound by Fox and happens to be her personal copy. The book is housed in a matching box decorated with a triangular “button” made from Kentucky agate adorned with a pink topaz set in gold. Signed by both Fox and the jeweler, Dennis Meade, it is a precious gem itself.

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The lovely recent collaboration on Ann Muir, Master Marbler is also a miniature. Printed by Seastone, the book was designed by Fox, Seastone, and collector/publisher Neale Albert. This tiny treasure was bound in a unique binding by Gabrielle Fox exclusively for Abby Schoolman Books and is a rare opportunity to own a collaboration by two contemporary book arts masters.

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Leonard Seastone’s interpretation of Ronald Baatz’s poem The Invisible Fly buzzes with interpretive interest, and has been lauded in Parenthesis 33 (the journal of the Fine Press Book Association) by David Esselmont, who said it “simply sizzles.”

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The collection of poems The Delicate Work of Song, also by Ronald Baatz, features ideograms by Guyang Chen. Michael McClintock, President of the United Haiku and Tanka Society, calls Ronald Baatz a “master…in the high art of the short poem.” Seastone’s printing and binding is just as masterful. The boards of Seastone’s binding are quarter sewn old growth Red Cedar, hand fashioned by him to accept the visible leather sewing supports. Lovingly beveled, waxed, and varnished, the boards glow with warmth.

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Seastone’s MFA thesis project, Good Movies, was prominently displayed, too. Seastone describes Good Movies in cinematic terms; its large size mirrors the silver screen, and the reader participates in creating a film noir by turning the page. This oversized book was bound for Seastone by Jack Fitterer in 1988 using Seastone’s prints as the board covering material.

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Xtra Small catalog arrived!

miniature book competition catalog

 

Thanks to the lovely folks at Bromer Booksellers, I now (actually just after Xmas) have my very own copy of the catalog from the International Miniature Bookbinding Competition I wrote about here. The competition, sponsored by the Dutch Hand Bookbinding Foundation, the Museum Meermanno (The Hague), and De Buitenkant Publishers, attracted 155 submissions from all over the world, nearly half from outside of The Netherlands. The winners were announced at the beginning of October and the exhibition at Museum Meermanno is up through February 18, 2018. The catalog is tiny (see photo above with a quarter for scale). It’s not a miniature, but it’s appropriately sized for the books pictured inside.  Despite the small size, catalog is truly substantive, containing an introduction by the organizers, an explanation of the competition assignment, and essay by Anne Bromer. The jury then walks us through the selection process, something we don’t usually hear about. They describe their methodology and, for each prize awarded, they explain the features that made that binding outstanding. In a way, it could be read as a how-to guide for competition judges, for competing art bookbinders, and for binding collectors.

The catalog reproduces the submissions, arranged by stage, as the jurors winnowed down the pool of submissions in four rounds of judging: first excluding those that failed to meet the size limitations (a painful thing to do to an otherwise gorgeous binding) and those that they felt failed to meet their technical or aesthetic standards, on through to the prize-winners. The bindings demonstrate a stunning range of creativity and technique.

So, who won? Continue reading “Xtra Small catalog arrived!”

Winners Announced: Designer Bookbinders International Competition 2017

Heroic Works winners small
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On Monday evening the winners of Designer Bookbinders 3rd International Bookbinding competition ‘Hero Works’ were announced at the Awards Ceremony and exhibition opening at the Bodleian Library’s new Weston Library, Oxford.
Continue reading “Winners Announced: Designer Bookbinders International Competition 2017”