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Photographs and drawings by Georgette Freeman © 2015. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2015 by Georgette Freeman. All rights reserved.

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On the Drawing Board: 1st and 2nd Quarter / 2015

Lightning Strikes (Again!)

When I retired from the SEC ten years ago I had literary aspirations, but they were of a writerly kind. An avid subscriber, I pipe-dreamed of seeing my writing published in the New Yorker. And while I had moonlighted in the book arts prior to leaving the SEC, I had no thoughts of making a mark in the book arts world. Now however, I have a book in the Library of Congress‘s Rare Book and Special Collections Division, as well as three others in the University of Washington’s Book Arts and Rare Books Collection.

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The book recently purchased by the Library of Congress, Don Glaister at the SFCB, Mar 2010, is an accordion-style artist’s book, bound in a French tablet enclosure. Fully extended, the book is 18” long and 9” high. Closed and secured with ribbon ties, the three-panel, two-door structure, is 4.5” wide, 9” high, and 0.75” thick. The book’s frame is covered in dark Chinese silk book cloth, studded with wrapped photographic plaquettes. The book comes with a hand-hemmed georgette silk chemise and a Smithstonian-style box, bound in the same cloth as the book.

Leigh McLellan, of Leigh McLellan Design, my crack digital enabler, laid out the photographic imagery taken by me in Indesign. The imagery was printed digitally on heavyweight Epson matte paper. Don Glaister at the SFC, Mar 2010 was first presented at the 2010 Hand Bookbinders of California 38th Annual Members’ Show in the San Francisco Public Library’s Skylight Gallery. The book is featured under my press name, The New Girl Press, on page 344 of Book Art Object 2, a joint publication of the CODEX Foundation and Stanford University Library (Stanford, 2013).

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The Library of Congress bought an associative piece to complement its collection of artist books and design bindings by the noted bookbinder and instructor, Don Glaister of Vashon Island, WA (http://www.foolsgoldstudio.com). Don Glaister at the SFCB, Mar 2010, is a personal keepsake from a bookbinding workshop Don presented at the San Francisco Center for the Book. Don is featured in the book’s imagery, along with the other workshop participants.

The Library of Congress is also receiving an example of a unique bookbinding structure of my own original design. Looking to make a more manageably bound accordion structure, I cut in half lengthwise the bottom panel of an accordion (having an odd-number of panels), wrapped this “new” door back towards the front (widening and strengthening the resultant spine), and fitted the new door to meet a second door formed from the front panel, also cut in half lengthwise. For closure, the structure is tied off with ribbons (on the side opposite the spine), with one ribbon embedded in the back panel (opposite the spine), and the other ribbon embedded in the door (attached to the spine).

This elegant structure has a number of variations, some of which I taught at SFCB binding workshops, 2003–2008. In the University of Washington’s collection is a French tablet wrapped around a six-bladed carousel (Scenes from a Conundrum Answered, 2003).

And for the calligrapher, Sherrie Lovler of Santa Rosa, CA, I bound an edition of 4 (of 10) French tablets, nine panels each, plus doors, of Sherrie’s calligraphy of “Love Poems between Ryokan and Teishin,” from Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf, Translated by John Stevens. (See http://www.inkmonkey.com/fine_art/artists_books/) When fully open, Sherrie’s book is 47 inches long, when closed, it is only 4.25” wide and 2” thick.

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The Library of Congress’s purchase of Don Glaister at the SFCB is the fourth sale I’ve made to an institution and for that I owe a major shout-out to Peter Koch and Susan Friend of the CODEX Foundation, organizers and den mothers of the biennial CODEX International Book Fair held in (or near) Berkeley, CA. While it may take practice, practice, practice to make it to Carnegie Hall, I think it takes location, location, location to place a book (cold) in the collection of a prestigious library. And for my money, there is no better location than a table at CODEX. (The next CODEX International Book Fair is in Point Richmond, CA, in 2017.)

My plans for the next two years (I’ll be 70 years old in 2017) include the binding of a pair of striking photographic panoramas I made at sunrise, immediately following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, of the scene across from the disaster shelter at the Marina Middle School where I had gone for food that morning. I believe these panoramas are ideally suited for presentation in a multi-panel French tablet.


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