It’s Been A While

Time has gotten away from me. I can’t believe it’s been a month since my last post.

So many things happened in 2014: some good, some great; some bad, and some very bad. Oddly, even the very bad stuff turned into some very good stuff. The main thing is that I went from being an antiquarian bookseller who obsesses over fine art bookbinding on the side (not at all bad), to a bookseller who obsesses over fine art bookbinding all the time (very, very good) at www.AbbySchoolman.com.

There are many people to blame thank: Dave McDowell, who gave me many gifts and whose memory I will always honor; Malina Belcheva, Christine Giard, Sonya Sheats, and Mark Cockram who have entrusted me with their beautiful bindings; Elizabeth PhillipsPriscilla Juvelis, and Melissa Sanders of Red Queen Book Arts for encouraging me and giving me excellent advice; and Sheri Galyean and Jonathan Kearns, without whom I could not function and who always make me laugh.

The very best thing, something I never planned, is that I get to work with my husband, Wade Stevens. We all know by now that photography isn’t one of my skills. Wade, on the other hand, used to be a photography geek. He gave his Rolleiflex to his brother a long time ago, but still has his Nikon body and lenses. Being a Nikon devoté came in handy recently. Did you know that analog Nikon lenses work with Nikon digital cameras? They do, but there’s no autofocus. You have to do that yourself. Wade took so many pictures of Mark Cockram’s Joseph Cornell: Shadowplay, Eterniday and they look great. Nice and sharp. It was really hard to chose which ones to put up on my website. If you want to see more pictures, I have them. Once we had the Nikon digital lens we did some videos, too. You have to check them out.

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Wade with Mark Cockram’s Shadowplay, Eterniday

Now that it’s my job to talk about and sell bindings, I feel like an evangelist. People want these books; they just need to be shown, preferably in person.

My first show as an independent bookseller will be Codex, THE book arts book fair. I’m so grateful to the organizers who made room for me. It’s going to be really exciting showing bindings alongside fine press printers and book artists. The show only happens every other year, so if you can make it to the San Francisco area February 8th-11th, 2015, please do so.

If you are in San Francisco on Friday, February 6th, I will be participating in a panel discussion organized by the Hand Bookbinders of California. The topic is very apt for my new venture: The Art of Fine Binding and The Artist Book – Conceptualizing, Designing, Making, Finding an Agent and Selling your Creations. I’m so pleased and flattered to have been asked to participate. I’ll be joining a duo of fantastic bookbinders: Coleen Curry and Lang Ingalls. I hope the discussion will be interesting and productive. Plenty of planning is going into it; it will not be one of those panels with a great title that quickly unravels. Momo Moore-Racine is moderating and plans to keep us in line.

If you can’t make it to San Francisco, you can come to NYC in April. I’ll be showing at The Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Fair and Fine Press Book Fair on April 11th, across the street from the antiquarian book fair at the 7th Regiment Armory.

You can always make an appointment to see Malina’s, Mark’s, Christine’s, and Sonya’s bindings. I’m in Manhattan and, if I’m not showing the books elsewhere, the books are at home with me.

For those who cannot see the books in person, we have so many pictures on the website and a really detailed physical description of each book. One of the many, many pleasures of working directly with the artists is that I can ask as many questions as I need in order to describe each book accurately. I don’t have a word limit like an exhibit catalog usually does. I can go into as much detail as I want. I get to live with the books and really understand them.

In 2015, I hope to meet and see the work of as many binders as possible and blog about them. I also look forward to showing off and selling lots of outstanding bindings.

Happy New Year!

Bound by Sonya Sheats

Belcheva_couleur_full copy

Bound by Malina Belcheva

ASB_mort du papier (1)

Bound by Christine Giard

ASB_steel boards (2)

Bound by Sonya Sheats

ASB_entre du cahiers (1)

Bound by Christine Giard

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