World’s Fair & Symposium of the Book Arts

by The bookworm on September 27, 2012 · Art of the book, Book Fairs, Rare Book Education

The Codex Foundation fourth biennial fair and symposium

The Codex Foundation of Berkley, CA is preparing for its fourth biennial “World’s Fair & Symposium of the Book Arts,” to be held February 10th through the 13th, 2013. The event takes place on the campus of the University of California in Berkeley, and its mission is to preserve and promote the hand-made book as a work of art. It is well attended by scholars, artists, bibliophiles and students pursuing interests in the history and art of the book. Since its debut in 2007, the event has showcased contemporary artist books, fine press and fine art editions produced by some of the world’s most esteemed designers, printers and book artists.

The upcoming seminars will feature the following speakers:

Sandro Berra, Director, Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione, Cornuda, Italy.  Tipoteca Italiana is first and foremost a repository of wood and metal founts – a fund of mainly Italian printing heritage. He is also the editor of the book A story of character: ten years of Tipoteca Italiana, and is co-editor of the journal Tipoitalia.

Mark Dimunation, Chief of Rare Books and Special Collections, Library of Congress, USA. Dimunation is responsible for the development and management of the Rare Book Collection, which is the largest collection of rare books in North America.

Tim Barrett, MacArthur Fellow, Director of Paper Facilities, University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA.  Barrett is an expert in the fields of hand-papermaking, paper conservation, and the history of paper. Among his many conservation projects, “Charters of Freedom Re-encasement Project” in 2002, fabricated the handmade archival paper used to re-house the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution.

Alan Loney, Electio Editions Melbourne, Australia. Loney is a poet, printer, editor, publisher, critic and writer at Hawk Press, Black Light Press, The Holloway Press, and now Electio Editions.

Russell Maret New York, USA. One of the most gifted and enterprising fine printers and bookmaker since 1989.

Veronika Schaepers Tokyo/Berlin. Free-lance book-artist.

If you happen to be interested in the artistic aspects of book crafting, book binding, paper making, pressing and, more generally, in the traditional book making art, then this is the event for you. Similar to other forms of art such as wall art, books are exhibited for attendees to examine and investigate on the different methods and materials of construction. Artistic books that combine photography and letterpress printing, for example, may seem simple to print, but they are in fact extremely labor-intensive especially when published using handmade papermaking, hand binding, and hand presswork. A variety of tools such as photopolymer plate makers, bindery equipment, letterpresses, hydraulic presses, papermaking molds,  beaters, and so forth are discussed along with techniques such as marbling, wood engraving, screen-printing, calligraphy, leather tooling, photography, and other required crafts in the making of fine printing books.

In this day and age where the option to print is on demand, downloads to e-readers and other devices is at our fingertips, and instant gratification is offered at a bargain, the use of high quality materials and original artwork is more appropriate than ever before.  In contrast to machine produced books, fine press books are usually issued in limited editions of 100-400 or less, at a premium offer to collectors and book lovers of the “real thing.” It is quite tragic that in our fast paced culture of technology and speed, interest for hand hewn and handheld books is diminishing.  Indeed, The Codex Foundation believes that “without the patronage of educated consumers and collectors these time-honored traditions will disappear, and with them the skills and disciplines that are necessary to ensure the survival of the hand-produced book.”


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