Saturday, September 7, 2019

Book Arts in the Sweet, Sunny South

How exciting to have my work selected for a juried exhibit for the first time! Naturally it required a special trip to Decatur, Georgia for the reception. 

The Book as Art: Wonders, presented by Decatur Arts Alliance and the Georgia Center for the Book, is beautifully displayed at the Decatur Library until September 27. The exhibit was much more than I anticipated.

My assumption that it was a regional showcase was completely wrong. Pieces came from all over the country, as far away as Hawaii, and one from Australia. Interpretations of “The Book as Art” wandered equally far afield. Some were traditional book forms.

Others tested the bounds of what it means to be a book.

The full catalogue, including artists' statements, is online at 

The idea of Southern Hospitality is not a myth; everyone was gracious and welcoming. (My wife found it disconcerting that everyone addressed her as Ma’am.) I had a conversation with one of the jurors, Andrew Huot, who turns out to be a UArts alumnus with a conservation and bookbinding business in Norcross, GA. He sends his greetings to friends in Philly.

The drive home on the Blue Ridge Parkway was scenic and tuneful—fiddle and banjo all the way.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Member Mary Agnes Williams at City Hall Exhibit

Long-time PCB member Mary Agnes Williams specializes in pinhole photography, a method that, as she says, "allows me to explore and create mystery and ambiguity – in many of my photographs the images appear to be emerging from, or about to enter, another time or place." Check out her website:

Two of her pieces are featured in Philly Reveal: Through the Photographic Lens, on exhibit at the Art Gallery at City Hall, Room 116, until September 13. The reception will be on Thursday, August 13, 5:30-7:30 pm in Room 116. Come out and congratulate our fellow member!

I was down town today, and to reward myself for a grueling dentist appointment, decided to check out the exhibit. The bad news: it was closed for a filming session. The good news: Mary Agnes' wonderful image of the Manayunk Bridge was displayed in the hall:

Can't wait to see the rest!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Salzberg Artist in Residence Program at JCBA South Florida

The Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University Libraries in Boca Raton, Florida, is once again accepting applications for the Helen M. Salzberg Artist in Residence Program. It’s a fine opportunity. The 2019/2020 Salzberg Resident receives these rewards:

•  An office at JCBA.
•  Full use of JCBA studios and equipment.
•  Access to office and studios during open hours of the Wimberly Library.
•  Stipend of $8,000.

In exchange, the Salzberg Resident will complete a creative project by August 6, 2020, teach a workshop at JCBA, and mentor students as his or her time allows. Although the Salzberg Residency is for a full academic year, the resident need only spend a minimum of 30 days in residence at JCBA throughout the course of that year. (You may, of course, spend the entire year here or as much of that year as you’d like, but 30 days is the minimum––the residency is designed with built in flexibility so artists with responsibilities outside the residency may still take advantage of its rewards.)

The Salzberg Residency is focused on the Book Arts, but in our Creative Project and Workshop guidelines, you will see that JCBA has a very broad interpretation of the Book, and so we encourage artists of all sorts to apply. Find application information, read more about the residency, and meet all of our past Salzberg Residents, including current Salzberg Resident Merike Van Zanten, here at our website:


The list of past residents is an impressive one: Dorothy Simpson Krause (2012), Lorna Ruth Galloway (2012), Paula Marie Gourley (2013), Tom Virgin (2013), Julia Arredondo (2014), Stephanie Wolff (2015), Brooke Frank (2016), Ingrid Schindall (2017), and Marie Marcano (2018). Their disciplines have ranged from letterpress and screen printing to fine binding, calligraphy, zines, painting, and this year, with Merike’s residency, eco printing.

The deadline for receipt of applications is 4 PM on Monday August 2, 2019.

John Cutrone, Director
JCBA: Jaffe Center for Book Arts
Florida Atlantic University Wimberly Library
777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
Instagram: @jaffecenterforbookarts

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Tucson Festival of Books

Recently in Tucson for a family wedding, I stumbled into the Tucson Festival of Books at the University of Arizona campus. Sunny and warm there, while it was snowing back in Philly.

In addition to booths of local publishers and authors, the University library presented a series of panel discussions, as well as an exhibit from their special collection. A few examples that caught my eye:

Genesis 5: the Generations of Adam by Arne Wolf, Berkeley, 1995

Hobo Prints, Poetry by Joan O'Conner & Audrey McGinn, New York, 2008

Wrenching Times: Poems from Drum-taps by Walt Whitman, David Esslemont, & Gaylord Schanilec, Newton, Powys, Wales: Gregnog Press. 1991

Tucson is also the home of PaperWorks, an active collective of paper and book artists. Check them out at

Monday, January 28, 2019

Rare Book School courses in Philly, New York

Expand your understanding of book history during a Rare Book School course this summer. Our five-day, intensive courses on the history of manuscript, print, and digital materials will be offered at the University of Virginia, the Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Grolier Club, Harvard University, and Indiana University, Bloomington.  

Among our thirty-seven courses, we are pleased to offer several pertinent to those involved in the book arts. The following is a sample of the breadth of RBS offerings:

– H-60: The History of European & American Papermaking, taught by Timothy D. Barrett (of the University of Iowa) and John Bidwell (of the Morgan Library & Museum)
– H-155: The History of Artists’ Books since 1950, taught by Tony White (of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
– I-40: The Illustrated Scientific Book to 1800, taught by Roger Gaskell (antiquarian bookseller), and assisted by Caroline Duroselle-Melish (of the Folger Library)
– T-60: The History of 19th- & 20th-Century Typography & Printing, taught by John Kristensen (of Firefly Press) and Katherine McCanless Ruffin (of Wellesley College) 
– I-85: Japanese Prints and Illustrated Books in Context, taught by Julie Nelson Davis (of the University of Pennsylvania) 
– H-160: The History of Books and Printing in Korea, taught by Beth McKillop (of the Victoria and Albert Museum)

To be considered in the first round of admissions decisions, course applications should be submitted no later than 18 February. Applications received after that date will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Visit our website at for course details, instructions for applying, and evaluations by past students. Contact us at with questions. 

Please share this information with colleagues, students, and friends. 

We hope to see you at Rare Book School soon!   

With kindest regards,
The RBS Programs Team

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Hedi Kyle at Book Paper Scissors

Hedi Kyle will be at the Book Paper Scissors an Artists’ Book Fair on December 1 at the Parkway Central Branch of the Philadelphia Free Library with copies of her new book for sale. 

One of the most celebrated and innovative book artists of our time, Hedi has just published The Art of the Fold with her daughter, Ulla Warchol. She has a strong connection with Philadelphia: She was conservator at the American Philosophical Society, and taught at the University of the Arts for twenty years. Her famous Blizzard book structure was developed while she was at home in Philly during the Blizzard of 1996.

In addition to Hedi, you’ll meet more than twenty other amazing artists. The Guild of Papermakers, Lovely In The Home Press, Purgatory Pie Press, Tyler Book (Making) Club, and the UArts Comics and Print Society will be on hand, plus Second State Press and the Philadelphia Calligraphers’ Society with activity tables. These book artists, paper artists, and printmakers offer unique items for holiday gifts. 

In the meantime, here is a link to Helen Hiebert’s interview with Hedi and Ulla, which gives interesting background on Hedi’s career and the development of the book:

For more on vendors, and information about Book Paper Scissors, visit:

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Job Posting: Conservation Librarian/Conservator, Kislak Center, University of Pennsylvania

If you're local, you can skip some of the fluff about the wonderfulness of life in Philly, and possibly even even the hype for U Penn. 


Job Posting

Conservation Librarian/Conservator
Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
University of Pennsylvania Libraries  

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries seeks a Conservation Librarian/Conservator to join our dynamic new conservation program within a
vibrant and innovative academic library setting.

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. 

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play. The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

The Penn Libraries serve the world-class faculty and students of Penn's 12 schools. The Libraries' collections comprise more than 7 million volumes, over 100,000 journals, some 2 million digitized images, and extraordinary rare and unique materials that document the intellectual and cultural experience of ancient and modern civilizations. Today, the Libraries play an instrumental role in developing new technologies for information discovery and dissemination and are noted for groundbreaking work in digital library design. To learn more about the Penn Libraries, visit

Position Description

Reporting to the Margy E. Meyerson Head of Conservation and joining a state-of-the-art conservation facility, the Conservator will contribute to the long-term preventive care and conservation treatment of the holdings of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, including but not limited to the collections materials in the
Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts ( The Conservator will plan and perform simple to complex structural and aesthetic conservation treatment on a wide range of materials including books, manuscripts, art-on-paper, maps, ephemera, and parchments. The Conservator will be a core member of the Steven Miller Conservation Laboratory staff and will be expected to work closely with senior conservation technicians, curators, librarians, liaisons, reading room staff, catalogers, exhibition designers, art handlers, registrarial staff, student assistants, and other library staff.

Job Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Plan and perform simple to complex structural and aesthetic conservation treatment on a wide range of special collections library materials including books, manuscripts, art-on-paper, maps, ephemera, and parchments.
  • Apply knowledge of conservation theory and preventive conservation techniques to safeguard the long-term care of Penn Libraries collection materials.
  • Implement and conduct treatment practices that are in keeping with the AIC Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.
  • Contribute to and conduct condition surveys and collection assessments.
  • Analyze and examine collection materials to identify, describe, and document their material composition.
  • Collaborate in exhibition and loan activities including review of facilities reports and environmental specifications; conducting exhibition reviews and on-site installation as needed.
  • Develop and implement new documentation procedures and systems with the Head of Conservation.
  • Participate in and create research, training, and educational outreach to a broad audience within the Penn Libraries and Penn academic community as well as partnering cultural institutions at the regional and national scale.
  • Under direction of Head of Conservation and as required, develop curricula and lead audience-appropriate training and outreach for staff, students, faculty, and researchers.
  • Contribute to departmental efforts to support Penn Libraries social media and communications campaigns.
  • Collaborate with and direct the work of other lab staff, technicians, interns, and student workers.
  • Facilitate general maintenance and organization of the conservation laboratory by contributing to safety procedures, maintaining inventories, and selecting materials and supplies.
  • Be an active member of the conservation and cultural heritage community through active participation, publication, research, and professional service.
  • Perform other related duties as assigned.

Please see the official posting for more information and application instructions.

If you have any questions about the position please contact:

Sarah Reidell
Margy E. Meyerson Head of Conservation
University of Pennsylvania Libraries
3420 Walnut Street, Room 504
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206