Guild of Book Workers Formation Exhibition Begins Two Year National Tour at MCBA

May 1, 2018

Formation: A Juried Exhibition of the Guild of Book Workers, featuring 51 works from 46 Guild members, is set to begin its U.S. tour at Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) this June. The jury-selected artists were asked to consider how the act of formation, defined by Merriam-Webster as “an act of giving form or shape to something,” informs their artistic process. The resulting exhibition both honors the Guild’s legacy and celebrates contemporary forms of book art. Works presented in the exhibition include artist’s books, fine bindings, fine press printing, calligraphy, and sculptural books. Formation will run from June 15-October 21 in MCBA’s main gallery, with an opening reception on June 22 from 6-8 pm.

A printed exhibition catalog will accompany Formation, which doubles as the Guild’s triennial members’ exhibition. The catalog, published as a special edition of the Guild of Book Workers’ Journal, includes color photographs and descriptions of each piece, information about the artists, remarks from Guild president Bexx Caswell, and more. Formation’s jury is comprised of book artists and Guild members Coleen Curry, Graham Patten, and Sarah Smith. It was curated by Jackie Scott, who also serves as the Guild’s Exhibitions Chair.

Formation’s tour at MCBA coincides with the Guild of Book Workers’ Standards of Excellence Seminar, which will take place in Minneapolis in October 2018. Following the seminar’s conclusion, the exhibition will then embark on a nationwide tour. Among other institutions, it will stop at the Robert C. Williams Papermaking Museum in Atlanta, GA; UCLA’s Charles E. Young Research Library; the North Bennet Street School in Boston, MA, and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. A complete schedule is available online at guildofbookworkers.org.

The Guild of Book Workers was founded in 1906 with the hopes of fostering a community of book artists and craftspeople. Some of its founding members include Edith Diehl, W.A. Dwiggins, and Frederic W. Goudy. Today, the Guild has over 900 members, ranging from amateur to professional book artists, conservators, printers, papermakers, librarians, and collectors. It continues to work toward its initial goal of preserving and sustaining the craft of bookmaking through sponsoring exhibitions, organizing educational opportunities, and cultivating a roster of talented artists and craftspeople to carry on the tradition.

Image: In-Between by Denise Carbone (Stratford, NJ). This book is the formation of a variety of ground plant and insect liquors soaked for weeks and their reaction to one another. Lard coats the pages, and images are created with needle piercings and some ink stone rubbing. The pages are Tableau wet strength paper. This unique binding is an accordion fold of handmade paper; the chemise is of Iowa paper. Photo by Tim Gurczak.