As part of our revitalized, redesigned, re-energized visual arts and design program, I was so excited to have the opportunity this January to teach a 15-day intensive course on Book Arts. I was blessed with a group of engaged and creative students, several of whom were not even art or design majors. We began each day with a critique, and in addition to preparing the demos, I did the homework right along with them. We folded and stitched paper like crazy – accordion fold, flower fold, triangle fold, Venetian blind, pamphlet stitch, dos-a-dos, stab stitch, flag books, pop-ups, and more. Our culminating project was an altered book form: the director of the Mennonite Library and Archives on campus kindly donated a dozen copies of the 1954 edition of The Story of Bethel College, for us to alter. Highly creative results ensued, and on the last day of class, we hosted an exhibition in the library (of course!) of our projects from the month.
Altered books by the students, on display at our end-of-term library exhibition
The inside of my altered book, a box with half a dozen miniature books demonstrating different techniques taught during the term and all made with original pages from the Story of Bethel College.
A real highlight of the month was the opportunity to host a visiting artist on campus. Teresa Pankratz worked with the students for 2 days, in addition to installing her book / sculpture / installation, The Dream House Collection, in the Fine Arts Center Gallery. She helped them push past their first iterations and onto more complex, more fully developed results. (News article here)
A few of my books from the month, many of which incorporated repurposed materials, from old art history slides to stamps from my late father’s collection: