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Mon, Jan. 20

Book artists create masterpieces

SeQQQuence book artists at Brenda's studio, January 2011. Three books made during recent workshops.

SeQQQuence book artists at Brenda's studio, January 2011. Three books made during recent workshops.

SeQQQuence is a self-sustaining teaching/learning group where one person discovers a type of book to make, sends out a list of supplies and directions, and all who can make it get together to learn how to create a new book form.

In February, the group christened Brenda's new studio space in Prescott Valley by making a post-bound album.

Once a person has participated in three of these free workshops, it becomes his or her turn to lead a workshop. Those new to the art of bookmaking can lead a workshop teaching or reinforcing "simple" skills. Others may tackle more complicated methods of binding or using new materials or hardware.

One does not need to be an artist, but the artists, sculptors, and calligraphers in the group are always willing to share their knowledge and ideas.

The loosely-formed SeQQQuence book artists also share a potluck lunch and a show and tell during the workshop.

When I lived in the Valley, I belonged to a bookartists' book exchange group that met two or three times a year and that varied in number from one exchange to the next. We chose a theme or topic and a meeting date and place, and our task was to create one book for each person who committed to that exchange.

Most of us used about 90-95 percent of the months between exchanges "incubating" our ideas, then worked desperately to put together the number of books needed. (Procrastination is such an ugly word.)

It works like a cookie exchange party - if 10 people are participating, each person makes 10 dozen of the same kind of cookie, or 10 of the same kind of book. The books are unique to the maker.

On the evening of the exchange, after wine and snacks, we one by one discuss and pass out our books to the nine other participants. At the end of the night, each person goes home with nine very different books related only by topic.

The difficulty any book artist has after a few years of crafting and exchanging is how to show off the books. A curio cabinet can only hold so many. The best I can do these days is work out a rotating display.

Later this month the Prescott people meet up with the Sedona members in Cottonwood where we will learn how to make a mini-book that can be worn as a necklace or pin. Our teacher for this workshop, Elna Jean, is in the front row in the group shot holding a mini-book.

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