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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.

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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.

“Pulp”: Opening Reception September 13, 2009

Posted by claralieu in Opening Receptions.
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We opened the 2009-2010 gallery season last Thursday afternoon with the opening reception for “Pulp: Works on Paper by the Studio Art Faculty” and “365 Days (Plus One)“, an exhibition by E.B. Bartels, Class of 2010. View more images of faculty works on the exhibition page. Stay tuned for an upcoming gallery talk by several of the faculty members in the exhibition .

"Pulp" Opening

"Pulp" Installation Views

365 Days (Plus One)

“Pulp” Preview: Phyllis McGibbon August 26, 2009

Posted by claralieu in artists, sculpture.
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A preview of a work that will be in “Pulp: Works on Paper by the Studio Art Faculty“:  “Super Imitation”, a sculpture using altered men’s shoes by Phyllis McGibbon.  Her artist statement is listed below the image.

Phyllis McGibbon

This project incorporates fragments of text from a book called, “Super Imitation” that advocates the proactive copying and recasting of western business practices as a vehicle for success in the new economy. Gallery visitors who can read Chinese are invited to translate and record the lines of text that stand out to them. -Phyllis McGibbon

“Pulp” postcard August 20, 2009

Posted by claralieu in Publicity.
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This week I’m busy putting together publicity materials for “Pulp: Works on Paper by the Studio Art Faculty”. Out of all the materials that I assemble for each exhibition, I always work on the postcard first since the printing and shipping requires more time than anything else. Thanks to Professor Dave Olsen in the Art Department for thinking of the exhibition title.

Pulp Postcard

Upcoming Gallery Season August 17, 2009

Posted by claralieu in Events.
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We’re still a few weeks away from school starting, but programming and preparations for upcoming exhibitions at the Jewett Art Gallery are already underway. The gallery season opens this year with “Pulp: Works on Paper by the Studio Art Faculty” in the Jewett Art Gallery, and “365 Days (Plus One)” a self-portrait project by Elizabeth “E.B.” Andersen Bartels, Class of 2010 in the Sculpture Court.

View our 2009-2010 gallery exhibition schedule here.

Phyllis Mcgibbon

Phyllis McGibbon, “Super Imitation”

EB Bartels

Photograph from “365 Days (Plus One)” a self-portrait project by Elizabeth “E.B.” Andersen Bartels, Class of 2010