While being in Texas, I communicated with Olivia Primanis at the Ransom Center. After a lovely French lunch and a visit, Olivia generously shared contacts of other binders in the Austin area.
Being appreciative of Olivia’s suggestions, arrangements were made to meet with these binders. To begin with, I met with Linda Anderson a book creator, who creates artists’ books, art out of books, bind books, and design books. She equally makes book illustrations using traditional printmaking techniques. We met at the Austin Book Arts Center.
Linda has studied and achieved her MFA in printmaking. Later, she worked as an adjunct art instructor, and in book conservation at a university. Then as a fine binder at BookLab and finally Linda thought art in the Austin public school system and lately at the Austin Book Art Center.
At this point, Linda is focusing her creative activities on all things BOOKS —including reading — because that is what she loves most. The familiar images in her work come from the traditional folk tales and fairy stories she grew up with and still reads.
Linda is presently working on a recent installation; a hundred chatting books are at the core of this series.
Imagine a hundred books, a gallery full, chatting to each other. There’s Thor, an open painted book with a raven on his shoulder speaking to Scheherazade, made from a binding of Arabian Nights. The Green Man sits for tea with a child’s poetry book, flowers in her hair. Iron John stands partially open looking on. At times, objects spill from their pages. Their covers are faces carved and painted, the pages sewn or folded within. They communicate their stories. There is Rapunzel with her long hair flowing to the floor coming from leather-covered wooden book boards. The cover in a tall tower shape, and the Barber of Seville in deep conversation with Wordsworth.
In this current scenario, faces carved with a scroll saw, covers gessoed and painted, insides creatively enhanced or left to portray their story. Fine handmade art papers become new end sheets, and silk book cloth may resurrect their spines, giving them better “book action.” Audible whispers enhance the scene as gallery wanderers might mingle within the clusters of book friends. Discreet LED lighting could appear as a surprise center of focus within an open structure.
Ensuite, I connected with Lindsay Nakashima who works under the imprint Nakashima Books. Lindsay has a fully equipped bindery in East Austin.
Trained in paper making and bookbinding at the University of Iowa Center for the Book and the North Bennet Street school. Lindsay offers private instructions in coptic bookbinding, box making, and Japanese bookbinding.
I have been greatly influenced by my Japanese heritage in the “minguren” Lindsay Nakashima.
With deep roots in craft and art from her family, Lindsay also enjoys teaching the history of how books are made. Additionally, she instructs courses at the Austin Center for Books Arts.
We met at her studio during the East Austin Studio Tour, EAST is a free, annual, self-guided art event that spans two weekends in November.
Have you met any interesting artists, binders, papermaker lately?
Next week lets talk about the Ransom Center exhibition!