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Applied Arts: Accordion book binding workshop September 27, 2010

Posted by claralieu in Applied Arts, book arts.
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Accordion book binding workshop

This past Saturday we hosted an Applied Arts workshop on Accordion book binding with photographer/book arts artist Cynthia Katz. Cynthia started out the workshop by introducing everyone to the numerous ways that the accordion style could be used by showing examples of her own books and others that she brought.

Accordion book binding workshop

Accordion book binding workshop

Next Cynthia gave a demonstration of the techniques and materials used in accordion book binding. One of the first steps was to determine which way the grain of the paper goes; the accordions have to be folded in the direction of the grain of the paper. To figure this out, you roll the paper over, and gently press down.  You do this in both directions and figure out which way presses more easily. It’s also important when working to have a flat, clean surface.  Magazines or newspapers are good for covering your surface; newspaper is not because the ink can get on your clean paper.  Other tools that are important are sharp scissors with a point, a heavy duty utility knife with a retractable blade, and old painting brushes that can be used as glue brushes, rulers with a corked back, and PVA glue. (Poly Vinyl Acetate) You can view all of the photos from this workshop on the Jewett Art Gallery’s Flickr page.

Accordion book binding workshop

Accordion book binding workshop

Accordion book binding workshop

Applied Arts: Decorative Papers September 13, 2010

Posted by claralieu in Applied Arts, book arts.
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Decorative Papers Workshop

We hosted an Applied Arts workshop this past weekend on Decorative Papers with artist Abbie Read. At the workshop we focused on paste papers.  Paste papers involve a mixture of wheat paste, methyl cellulose, and acrylic paints. In the mixture, the methyl cellulose is the adhesive, while the wheat paste gives it the body, and the acrylic provides the color.

Decorative Papers Workshop

To create the methyl cellulose, you follow the directions to mix it on the jar.  Then the methyl cellulose sits and attains a soupy consistency. For the wheat paste, Abbie recommended using cake flour for the wheat paste.  The wheat paste created by cooking 1 cup of flour to 4.5 cups of flour; this process brings out the gluten, which it changes to it into a jelly-like substance.

After the paste paint is mixed together, the process involves painting on paper in thin layers to create a design. This allows for many directions you can go in when you apply the paste to the paper.  It’s the layering of the paste paint- a mark on a mark, a color on color, that will give richness and uniqueness to the papers.

Decorative Papers Workshop

First the entire sheet of paper is dunked into water to thoroughly soak the paper. The wet sheet of paper is laid on the table and then wiped with a sponge to create consistency in the paper. Then the paste paint is applied to the entire surface of the wet paper with a foam brush, covering the whole sheet with color.

Decorative Papers Workshop

Decorative Papers Workshop

Next,  tools like combs, corks, old credit cards that have been cut into patterns are used to work directly into the sheets to create a range of patterns and textures. Stencils, wax paper, and aluminum foil can also be pressed into the surface with a roller to create more textures. Other items like dried pressed leaves, and carved foam blocks can create unique surfaces. You can view all of the images from this workshop on the Jewett Art Gallery’s Flickr page.

Decorative Papers Workshop

Decorative Papers Workshop

Decorative Papers Workshop

Decorative Papers Workshop

Applied Arts: Coptic Bookbinding Workshop April 12, 2010

Posted by claralieu in Applied Arts, book arts.
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This past weekend the Applied Arts Program hosted the Coptic Bookbinding workshop, the last of our 2009-2010 workshop season. The workshop was led by Katherine McCanless Ruffin, the Book Arts Program Director here at Wellesley College and held in the Book Arts Lab on the fourth floor of the Clapp Library. The Coptic stitch technique evolved from the fourth century.  The essential idea behind this specific stitch is that the sewing in the book is exposed across the backbone.

Coptic Bookbinding Workshop

Katherine suggested the books “Volume I: Non-Adhesive Binding: Books Without Paste or Glue” by Kevin Smith and “Bookbinding: It’s Background and Technique” by Edith Diehl as references for the techniques taught at this workshop.

Coptic Bookbinding Workshop: Katherine McCanless Ruffin

(Above) Workshop instructor Katherine McCanless Ruffin demonstrates the Coptic stitching technique.  Note the fact that she is demonstrated on an oversized book model, as the stitches on the actual sized books would be too difficult for a large group of people to be able to see clearly during her demonstration.

Coptic Bookbinding Workshop

(Above) A workshop participant works uses a tool to punch the holes into the book pages. This ensures that the holes punched are precisely lined up every time.

What struck me about the techniques in bookbinding is all of the amazing specificity of the tools and machines used; many of the manual machines looked like they were from Medieval times, simply because there has been no need to change them over the centuries.

Coptic Bookbinding Workshop

Even the thread and curved needles used in bookbinding are specific to the technique:  Katherine recommended BookMakers, a company where you can purchase dyed Irish linen thread and curved needles. In the above photo you can see a little “pillow” in the upper left hand corner, which is filled with lead bits to act as a weight on the book pages.

Coptic Bookbinding Workshop

(Above) A workshop participant completes their book.

Applied Arts Preview March 31, 2010

Posted by claralieu in Applied Arts, book arts, ceramics, photography, sculpture.
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We’re wrapping up the Applied Arts Program for this semester in the coming weeks. As we finish off our workshop series this year, I’ve already begun planning for next year’s series. Below you will find a preview of topics and instructors coming up for next season!

Robot Sculptures w/ Ann Smith

Photograms w/ Lana Caplan

Handmade decorative papers w/ Abbie Read

Plush dolls by Clara Lieu

Plush dolls w/ Clara Lieu

Papermaking Workshop

Papermaking w/Katherine McCanless Ruffin

Photographing a Sculpture

Photographing 3-D artwork w/ Warren Patterson

Ceramic Mosaic Workshop

Ceramic mosaics w/ Kate Oggel
Stop Motion Animation w/ Lana Caplan
Photoshop: Photo Retouching w/ Alex Hart
Fabric Stenciling w/ Antoinette Winters
Hand sewn purses & hand bags w/ Antoinette Winters
Valentine’s Day letterpress & paper craft w/ Katherine McCanless Ruffin
Photographing 2-D Artwork w/ Valerie Wolf
Flipbooks w/ Alex Hart

Spring 2010 Exhibitions & Workshops December 15, 2009

Posted by claralieu in Applied Arts, book arts, ceramics, photography, Student Exhibitions.
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The semester is practically over at Wellesley College, which means that the gallery will close until the spring semester starts up in the last week of January.  Over the break, we’re having the gallery re-painted which will get us off to a great start for the second half of the gallery season.  We’ll be back in January with the student photography exhibition “Look at Me”. The show will be curated, selected and designed by Christine Rogers’ Fall 2009 Photography ARTS208 class. The various projects in this diverse class create an exhibition that is divided into three related categories: “People”, “Changing Perspectives” and “Reality vs. Pretense”.

Julie Aguilera
Photo by Julie Aguilera

At the same time, the spring semester will also feature a terrific line up of free Applied Arts Workshops: Digital Photography with Judith Black, Ceramic Mosaics with Kate Oggel, Japanese Bento Boxes with Anna The Red, Storyboards with Alex Hart, Sculptural Weaving with Nathalie Miebach, Photoshop: Photo Retouching with Alex Hart, and Coptic Bookbing with Katherine McCanless Ruffin.

Upcoming Applied Arts Workshop Japanese Bento Boxes with Anna The Red

“Spine: Senior Exhibition”: Opening Reception December 11, 2009

Posted by claralieu in book arts, installation, Opening Receptions, painting, Student Exhibitions.
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This afternoon we hosted the opening reception for “SPINE: Senior Exhibition”.  We had an amazing turn out for the show, which made for a lively and festive event.

"Spine: Senior Exhibition": Opening Reception

At the opening reception, each of the artists spoke briefly about their works in the exhibition.

Jessica Planos, Class of 2010

Jessica Planos discusses her artist books.

Eliza Murphy, Class of 2010

Eliza Murphy talks about her self-portrait oil paintings.

Jenna Miller, Class of 2010

Jenna Miller discusses her installation “Frame”.

Eliza Murphy, Jessica Planos, Jenna Miller, Class of 2010

“Spine: Senior Exhibition”: Installation Views December 8, 2009

Posted by claralieu in book arts, installation, painting, Student Exhibitions.
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SPINE: Senior Exhibition” is currently on view in the Jewett Gallery through Dec. 16, with the opening reception scheduled for this Thursday, Dec. 10 at 4:45-6pm.  Hope you can join us at the opening!

"Spine: Senior Exhibition", Installation Views

"Spine: Senior Exhibition", Installation Views

"Spine: Senior Exhibition", Installation Views

Spine: Installation December 4, 2009

Posted by claralieu in Architecture, book arts, Installing Exhibitions, painting, Student Exhibitions.
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This morning we started installing “SPINE: Senior Exhibition” which features seniors Jessica Planos, Eliza Murphy, and Jenna Miller.  This exhibition has a wonderful diverse selection of work:  Eliza Murphy is exhibiting a series of large scale, self-portrait oil paintings.  Jenna Miller constructed a large scale installation piece which references architectural elements.  Jessica Planos is showing a series of letterpress books.

Spine: Senior Exhibition: Installation

Jenna Miller and Andrew Mowbray work on constructing a wooden structure for her installation piece titled Frame.

Spine: Senior Exhibition: Installation

Moving segments of Jenna Miller’s installation work into the gallery turned out to be a five person job due to the fragility of the drywall material the segment was made out of. The segments will be attached to the wooden structure and then made to stand up with a pulley system attached to the ceiling of the gallery.

Spine: Senior Exhibition: Installation

Eliza Murphy works on figuring out measurements and spacing for her oil paintings. Since Jenna Miller’s work and Jessica’s work are both three-dimensional, this allowed Eliza to have use all of the wall space for her paintings. Given their large scale, this worked out perfectly.

Applied Arts Workshop: Papermaking October 25, 2009

Posted by claralieu in Applied Arts, book arts.
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We had a great turnout for the free Applied Arts Workshop in Papermaking this afternoon.  Book Arts Program Director Katherine McCanless Ruffin led the workshop in the newly renovated Papermaking Studio,  instructing papermaking techniques and processes.

Papermaking Workshop

Katherine McCanless Ruffin explains and demonstrates the process.

Papermaking is apparently very wet and messy; workshop participants were instructed in advance to wear rain boots, while plastic aprons were handed out at the workshop.  Papermaking is divided up into 4 essential steps: 1) fiber preparation, 2) sheet forming, 3)couching/pressing and 4) drying.  Participants were able to do everything from running their hands through giant plastic bins of paper pulp to pressing their paper onto dampened felts to couch and press the paper.

Papermaking Workshop

One of my favorite anecdotes from the workshop was the papermaking phrase “kissing off”.  When you form the sheet with the wet pulp, if the sheet is uneven and you need to redo the sheet, you “kiss off” the wet pulp back into the bin of pulp.  It’s amazing how quickly and evenly the sheet would fall right back into the bin.

Applied Arts Workshops October 10, 2009

Posted by claralieu in Applied Arts, book arts, photography, printmaking.
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In addition to teaching Design and Drawing in the Art Department and being the Gallery Director, I’m also the Program Coordinator for the Applied Arts Program, which sponsors a series of non-credit workshops throughout the year.  The topic of each workshop varies, but often addresses studio topics outside of the Art Department’s curriculum.  In the past, we’ve hosted workshops in papermaking, bookbinding, calligraphy, woodworking, and others.

Workshops are free and open to all members of the Wellesley College community and do not require any previous experience. Registration is required to participate in a workshop. Materials are provided for all workshop participants. To register, email me at clieu@wellesley.edu.

The first workshop of the year will be “Photographing 2-D Artwork” on Sat., Oct. 17, 1:00-4:00pm in the Jewett Arts Center, Rm 463.  This workshop will demonstrate how to shoot and edit digital images of 2-D artwork.  An essential skill for any studio artist, these images are important for graduate school applications as well as ongoing documentation of one’s artwork. Photographer Valerie Wolf will demonstrate lighting and shooting techniques followed by digital touch-up techniques in the Media Lab. If available, please bring your own digital camera and 1-2 pieces of artwork to practice photographing.

Other upcoming workshops include a Papermaking Workshop on Oct. 24, and a Monoprint Workshop on Nov. 7. Get more details on these workshops here.

digital camera