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January 17, 2006 > 'Books'of art -- of all sizes and shapes

'Books'of art -- of all sizes and shapes

by Arathi Satish

Sponsored by the Olive Hyde Art Guild, "Bay Area Book Artists: Bound to Inspire" continues to be on display at the Olive Hyde Art Gallery through Feb.11. If you are a lover of books and appreciate unique bookbinding techniques as well as a variety of different ways in which a story can be told in the form of a book, you won't want to miss this exhibition.

The exhibit includes around 100 books made by 32 artists over the past 10 years. All of the books on display are handmade and unique in their own way.

As a theme, Gallery Curator Sandra Hemsworth asked the artists to respond to the notion of "diversity." About 20 artists responded in different ways, using a variety of book forms that include traditional bindings to more modern concepts of the book such as a video book.

"Living in the Silicon Valley means living in a very diverse community," says Artist Dorit Elisha. "As an artist I see diversity mostly through colors and textures. I feel lucky to be able to witness this wonderful 'mini world' around me, and in my book, I show my love for the colorful fabric of the Silicon Valley."

Bound to Inspire exhibits a popular form of collaboration called the "concept exchange." "Each participant writes a concept for a book on a slip of paper then draws at random one of the concepts," explains exhibit organizer and artist Don Drake. "Each artist then makes a book based on the concept they drew and gives the finished book to the person who wrote the concept." Examples from these projects include Dorit Elisha's book "Moose," and Linda Stinchfield's book, "Contemplating All Manner of Containment." And there are many other examples of concept exchange throughout the show.

Bay Area Book Artists (BABA) work in a variety of media including printmaking, photography, paint, textiles, calligraphy, sculpture and electronic media. The books they create are objects where content and form have a relationship with one another.

Materials used to create the books are part of a book's art form in addition to the style of bookbinding the artist decides to use. Each artist communicates in his or her own way sometimes using poetry, pictures or taking a politic stance to convey what they are trying to say with their book.

Visitors are invited to physically handle the books in the exhibit so they can fully experience the book by looking, touching and sometimes hearing as well.

"One of the pleasures of being a member of BABA is participation in group projects of various kinds," Drake says. "Many of the works in Bound to Inspire were created as group projects."

Two of the books on display were made for two members of BABA for their weddings. "The Wedding Book-quet" is a collection of small books created around the idea of flowers. Each of the books is attached to a stem and the collected bundle was carried by artist Kara Sjoblom in place of a traditional flower bouquet during her wedding ceremony.

Another wedding book was created as a surprise for Ben Colborn on the occasion of his wedding. Each group member who participated made pages inspired by the pre-19th century writing style on the theme of love. All of the pages were bound and the final book was presented to Ben and Phuong as a wedding gift.

Drake would like to thank BABA Founder Jone Manoogian along with Julia Bradshaw who helped organize the exhibit. "Artists are known for pursuing their unique visions to final expression," Drake said. "BABA members often practice this same pursuit of vision for the benefit of their community."

The exhibit also provides a glimpse on the process of book making. "The initial learning experience in the process of 'hand' bookbinding, with all of its challenges and ultimately satisfaction, started me on a wonderful journey into the realm of artist's books," said Manoogian.

During "Saturday Walks & Talks" held at 1 p.m. each Saturday (Jan. 21, 28 and Feb. 4 and 11) throughout the exhibition, a different exhibiting artist will be on hand to talk about the book arts on display in the gallery.

Following are the artists featured during upcoming Walk & Talks include:

January 21 - Diane Cassidy
January 28 - Don Drake
February 4 - Jone Manoogian
February 11 - Debbie Kogan.

The Olive Hyde Art Gallery is located at 123 Washington Blvd., Fremont. Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For further information, please contact the gallery at (510) 791-4357.

To preview the exhibit catalog, please visit http:/bayareabookartists.org/BABA_10th_Ex_Cat.pdf.
For further information about BABA, please visit http://bayareabookartists.org/.

Bay Area Book Artists: Bound to Inspire
Through Saturday, Feb.11
Olive Hyde Art Gallery
123 Washington Blvd., Fremont
Thursday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.
(510) 791-4357

 
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