New York

After a haunting experience in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, our route brought us through New York State.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, arriving at the Stevenson Bird Library in Syracuse, to meet with  Peter D Verheyen . See my reflection in the window!

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, arriving at the Stevenson Bird Library in Syracuse, to meet with Peter D Verheyen. See my reflection in the window!

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, traveling to the Stevenson Bird Library from Interstate 81. For clearer directions, please go to Google Maps. 

Peter is the Librarian, Researcher, and Emerging Issues Analyst in the Program Management Center at the Syracuse University Libraries. His position assists the Library in identifying, processing, analyzing, interpreting and maintaining the information it needs to keep abreast of trends in libraries, and meeting organizational and operational needs. 

Providing a virtual home for all the book arts that allows participants from across the globe to share events, training and exhibition opportunities, ask questions, provide answers, and discuss all book arts related topics, Peter says:

I am best known for building and sustaining a community based on sharing.

Peter was the past exhibitions and publicity chair for the Guild of Book Workers. He was awarded the Guild's Laura Young Award for service to the organization in 2009, and their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. Here are some of Peter's bindings:

© 2017 Peter D Verheyen,  Ladislav Hanka,  Remembering Jan Sobota  , 2012  Modified Bradel binding; layered Indigo Night Cave Paper endpapers; sewn on 5 vellum slips; spine in parchment; leather endbands; boards edged in parchment and covered with distressed birch wood veneer on covers with onlaid suede salmon leather closure; title stamped in gold on front board. 29.5 x 25.5 x 1 cm

© 2017 Peter D Verheyen, Ladislav Hanka, Remembering Jan Sobota, 2012

Modified Bradel binding; layered Indigo Night Cave Paper endpapers; sewn on 5 vellum slips; spine in parchment; leather endbands; boards edged in parchment and covered with distressed birch wood veneer on covers with onlaid suede salmon leather closure; title stamped in gold on front board. 29.5 x 25.5 x 1 cm

© 2013 Peter D Verheyen,  Gaylord Schanilec and Clarke Garry,  Mayflies of the Driftless Region   ,  Midnight Paper Sales Press, 2005  Dorfner/de Gonet "open joint" binding; sewn on 3 brown salmon leather slips; flyleaves and doublures of Cave Paper “layered indigo day” paper; graphite top edge; rolled endbands brown salmon leather; spine covered in gray salmon leather; boards covered in full vellum with printed illustrations from text below; salmon leather slips attached to boards and framed with decorative weathered wood veneer; tied mayfly attached to front board. 26.5 x 19 x 2 cm

© 2013 Peter D Verheyen, Gaylord Schanilec and Clarke Garry, Mayflies of the Driftless Region, Midnight Paper Sales Press, 2005

Dorfner/de Gonet "open joint" binding; sewn on 3 brown salmon leather slips; flyleaves and doublures of Cave Paper “layered indigo day” paper; graphite top edge; rolled endbands brown salmon leather; spine covered in gray salmon leather; boards covered in full vellum with printed illustrations from text below; salmon leather slips attached to boards and framed with decorative weathered wood veneer; tied mayfly attached to front board. 26.5 x 19 x 2 cm

© 2010 Peter D Verheyen,  Pamela Leutz,    The Thread That Binds  , Oak Knoll Press, 2010  Modified Bradel binding; red Roma endpapers; sewn link stitch on four reinforced leather tapes; dark red and gray handsewn endbands; spine covered in gray leather with cutouts for tapes; boards covered in reddish brown Pergamena deer vellum; title stamped in gold on front cover with leather onlays. 23 x 15.5 x 4 cm

© 2010 Peter D Verheyen, Pamela Leutz, The Thread That Binds, Oak Knoll Press, 2010

Modified Bradel binding; red Roma endpapers; sewn link stitch on four reinforced leather tapes; dark red and gray handsewn endbands; spine covered in gray leather with cutouts for tapes; boards covered in reddish brown Pergamena deer vellum; title stamped in gold on front cover with leather onlays. 23 x 15.5 x 4 cm

© 2005 Peter D Verheyen,  Noirs, Bleus, Sables, Livre de poète de Nane Couzier , 2001  Textblock sewn on 5 leather/vellum slips in black, blue, and brown; graphite top edge; sewn silk endbands; case covered in full blue dyed goat vellum; leather/vellum slips laced through at joint; multicolored colored spine label with title in graphite foil. Leather onlays on case derived from typography of text. 40 x 25 x 2.5 cm

© 2005 Peter D Verheyen, Noirs, Bleus, Sables, Livre de poète de Nane Couzier, 2001

Textblock sewn on 5 leather/vellum slips in black, blue, and brown; graphite top edge; sewn silk endbands; case covered in full blue dyed goat vellum; leather/vellum slips laced through at joint; multicolored colored spine label with title in graphite foil. Leather onlays on case derived from typography of text. 40 x 25 x 2.5 cm

I first came across Peter through The Bonefolder: e-journal for the bookbinder and book artist founded in 1994 managed and published by Peter. My next interaction with Peter was through the Book_Arts-L listserv founded in 1994 and still stimulating after 22+ years. 

© 2014 Peter D Verheyen, the cover of the last published issue of the Bonefolder, found at  Book Arts Web

© 2014 Peter D Verheyen, the cover of the last published issue of the Bonefolder, found at Book Arts Web

I'm a subscriber to the BOOK_ARTS-L listserv and enjoy the subjects and questions that keep popping into my email inbox since 2008. Feeling isolated in Utah and Idaho, the book listserv permitted me to be part of an authentic arts community, one that celebrates and sustains book arts. Thank you, Peter! 

To learn more about the Book_Arts-L, review the full FAQ with detailed instructions. If you would like to familiarize yourself with Peter’s career and his path into the field, click here.

Unable to visit Peter’s studio because of my short notice and his previous commitments, Peter emailed me the following photos of his creative space.

© 2017 Peter D Verheyen, Peter's studio

© 2017 Peter D Verheyen, Peter's studio

© 2017 Peter D Verheyen, Peter's studio

© 2017 Peter D Verheyen, Peter's studio

An enjoyable hour meeting and talking with Peter about his work, his career and the artists’ book field. Too short!


"Amoché"

Was a book/binding/artwork of yours ever damaged or stolen while on display as part of an exhibition?

As an artist, one has to deal with exciting situations and some not so nice experiences. Lessons learned have jaded me from exhibiting. It is difficult to let go of your prized possessions for a month or more. One never knows what happens on the premises of a gallery.

Are you responsible for your books while alone in the darkness of a gallery?

I had an acrylic painting damaged back in 1984. I won my case in court and the city paid for the damages. If the gallery took serious responsibility for the artwork while dismantling an exhibition, they could save time and money for everyone involved.

I saw the inside of a courtroom for the second time when an owner of a Toronto gallery stole nine of my collages and drawings and shipped them to Korea while in his possession. I don’t know what happened to these pieces. Did he sell them? If you can’t trust the gallery owner, who can you trust? I won my case in Small Claims Court, but retrieving the money was another matter—never did, since jurisdiction did not extend to Korea!

By 2005, I picked up lots of information on how to do business—I thought—till I took part in an ARLIS conference after being invited to display a volume of City Shields in New York City. Several phone calls later and an amazing response to my inquiry, I found the reason for the un-returned book.

"The bad news is someone stole your volume of City Shields from the exhibition hall.
What was the good news, I asked?
It was loved enough to steal."
What the... is this for real?
The organization felt it was a great compliment!!! WOW! For me, it was a financial loss!

Not too long ago on the BookListServ, I read about similar experiences other artists have gone through. I communicated with them to find out their account. Some stories were positive and others were costly. Lucky or sensible?

Preparing for a show demands you ask many questions and more questions!
Who's responsible for the insurance costs?
Are galleries responsible for the art work displayed in the space?
Who should pay for damages during the show?...


Mary Kritz is an artist in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Exhibiting her books were positive experiences until showing a book in a private gallery. This disappointing situation happened when her book was damaged during the exhibit set-up. At the vernissage, the owner, (while in front of the crowd), embarrassed Mary by informing her that the book had “fallen apart”. As if Mary exhibited a book with an already damaged page with a detached corner. Mary mentioned she would repair the book the next day. At her return to the gallery, Mary learned the owner himself repaired the book without permission. Was he a binder? Did he use the proper materials? What right did he have to touch this artists’ book?


“I think the situation has happened to all of us artists at one point or other,” says Cathryn Miller from Saskatchewan.

It took two hours to repair her piece In Winter after being damaged in a touring exhibition. Cathryn was paid for the repair by the Saskatchewan Craft Council who insure all work while in their possession. The work is still salable which is great!

© 2017, Cathryn Miller, In Winter

© 2017, Cathryn Miller, In Winter

© 2017, Cathryn Miller, In Winter damaged during exhibition

© 2017, Cathryn Miller, In Winter damaged during exhibition

© 2017, Cathryn Miller, In Winter with smudge marks

© 2017, Cathryn Miller, In Winter with smudge marks

The Saskatchewan Craft Council ships touring exhibitions by commercial transport, the Council recommends that all works be packed so that the container can be dropped upside-down from a height of six feet without damaging the contents. What a risk factor!

Cathryn insisted on being paid for books damaged when a commercial gallery returned books with non-removable price stickers that adhered to the back. Who thought of that one, I wonder?

“I have exhibited at galleries who do not provide insurance but in those cases, I exhibit work I can afford to lose, comments Cathryn”.
“Very few galleries cover stolen work, so one has to think about what security measures are provided (vitrines, staffing, location, etc.) and we need to make a case-by-case decision.”

Cathryn writes long and descriptive directions for unpacking and re-packing art work for shipping. How difficult can it be to re-pack a book with its original box and filling? But, wait can they find the same box? What is the gallery’s best practices for keeping boxes and fillers connected to the book?

© Cathryn Miller, instructions for unpacking and re-packing In Winter

© Cathryn Miller, instructions for unpacking and re-packing In Winter

© Cathryn Miller, instructions for unpacking and repacking In Winter, part 2

© Cathryn Miller, instructions for unpacking and repacking In Winter, part 2

© Cathryn Miller, instructions for unpacking and repacking In Winter, part 3.  These instructions are fantastic, every artist should be this dedicated to their work!

© Cathryn Miller, instructions for unpacking and repacking In Winter, part 3.

These instructions are fantastic, every artist should be this dedicated to their work!


Alice Simpson who brings her ability of drawing and brush skills to paper talks about her experience with a damaged book. Alice’s books are hand-painted and mostly unique books, they are colourful and whimsical, and are of interest to international dance collectors.

BALLROOM, (a one-of-a-kind hand painted book Alice created in 1994), was damaged somewhere along the recent past. The gallery’s signage description had been carelessly Scotch-taped on the back cover, attached to the delicate paper used to bind the book.

When I attempted to remove the tape, it pulled the paper off. Unfortunately, I have no memory or record of where the book was damaged. It was returned a while ago, and I never opened the wrapping. If I had, I would have immediately notified the curator, and complained. What would they have offered to do? I have no idea. The book, the basis for my novel of the same name, is not for sale but now is damaged forever.

Forever is a long time! This subject matter is too important not to write more.

To be continued...