Book Arts Roundtables

Minnesota Center for Book Arts is a hub of creativity where interesting, passionate, and knowledgeable people like you learn, share ideas, and get inspired.

Join the conversation by attending our fun, interactive Book Arts Roundtables in MCBA’s lively studios. Roundtables are always FREE and open to the public.




Friday, October 24; 5pm
Book Arts Roundtable with visiting artist Timothy Ely

Timothy Ely was born in the Snohomish General Hospital in 1949. Truman was president. On the site of the hospital now stands the new version of The Snohomish Public Library. He became a voracious reader at a young age. A sympathetic teacher [who taught him to draw] would lead him often back into that public Library [a fine old Carnegie building] where tales of pirates, Tesla coils, maps, flying saucers and back issues of Scientific American and Popular Mechanics would begin to tarnish the goals set for him by the rest of the family. In this library he began to explore images in the worlds of science fiction and comic books.

Following high school and tenure in several local area rock bands, Ely enrolled at Everett Community College following luminaries such as Chuck Close and Donn Trethewey by several years. This was just after the summer of love [1967] and a time of extraordinary fertility in painting. Ely was perfectly placed. Painting was a primary interest and with an awareness that design was the grounding language, Ely pursued a degree in fine art. A number of chance remarks by teachers began to gradually orient Ely towards the inherent duality in the forms of the book. There were no opportunities for study in that area, but the pull of the idea of the book as as aesthetic carrier was a potent and inspiring image. Following graduate school [1975, MFA, Design] Ely began a self motivated study of bookbinding. He began to fabricate the work he is known for today, a fusion of largely English style binding techniques with visionary drawings of an unknowable future.

Ely has received numerous awards. With an NEA grant [1982] he traveled to Japan, Italy and England studying bookbinding and papermaking. Following this he moved to New York where he established a studio and also taught at the Center for Book Arts. During this decade in New York, he traveled to Europe, Central America and Scandinavia lecturing, exhibiting and teaching. He has had numerous solo exhibitions and has participated in many group exhibitions. His two most recent exhibitions were at the Jundt Museum of Art and The Northwest Museum of Art and Culture. His work is collected planet-wide and held in public, private and secret collections. He currently lives in Eastern Washington near the Colfax river. Ely is represented by Ursus Books in New York.

You can also join Tim at his weekend workshop, which begins immediately after the Roundtable:
Ideas and Actions in Content and Construction Expanded
Friday, October 24; 6-9pm, and Saturday-Sunday, October 25-26; 10am-5pm
Bookbinding experience required

In this master class, the sketchbook is the vehicle on which the participant can merge the generation of idea and observation with the creation of a handmade book, where technique and concept are fused. The sketchbook has a long and venerable history, and can serve as a planner, recording device, carrier of scrap, journal, and muse. Students will delve into eccentric aspects of binding and design, of structure and purpose, as well as the great need for people to record their lives in interesting and unique formats by fabricating a “formal” codex book with rigid covers and work with hybrid structures, combining a sewn text block with a drum leaf binding cover designed by the instructor. The instructor will lead discussion of surface design processes on cover materials, alternate histories, possible variants on format, and engage with mark making materials that form a foundation for exciting and durable archiving. With three extra hours, participants will be able to absorb more early on in the workshop and delve deeper into their sketchbook content throughout the weekend.
For more details or to register, visit our Adult Workshops page.