Memphis is ranked 58th out of 71 most literate cities in a 2008 study conducted by Central Connecticut State University. This is based on the community’s number of bookstores, the number of libraries and the rate of circulation, residents’ book purchases through online sites, number and circulation of local newspapers and magazines, and percentage of citizens with a bachelor’s level education. In this case, 58 is not a number that Memphians should be proud of. Perhaps not reading literate, we are however literate in the arts, music, theater, fine craft and fine food. Memphis thrives in all of these areas. If anyone ever picks up a newspaper around here, they’ll see pages and pages of music venues, theatre and ballet performances, fine restaurants representing a global diversity and of course, my personal favorite — galleries, shops and fairs representing the growing number of fine craft artists in the Memphis area.
This weekend, March 26 to 28, Memphis Association of Craft Artists in conjunction with Christian Brothers University will be having their second annual “Celebration of Fine Craft”. Over 35 area artists will be showing and selling their work in a variety of media including clay, wood, glass, metal, jewelry, paper and fiber.
If you are in Memphis, please plan on joining us for our opening reception Friday evening (March 26) from 5:00 to 9:00 in the Canale Arena on the campus of Christian Brothers University. Artists will be selling their work at the reception and then again on Saturday, March 27 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Sunday, March 28 from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
And if you are visiting my booth, I will be selling books! Yes, hand bound books whose covers and pages are hand cut and then covered with hand printed batik fabric from Indonesia. Though Memphians may not be writing in these books according to our less than illustrious #58 ranking among literate cities, they may sketch, draw, or paint in them. Use the pages to glue theater ticket stubs, attach photos of local bands, stick wine labels on them, copy recipes, jot down those elusive and growing computer passwords. Just to list a few ideas…because my books are empty! So, as the title says, “Don’t Judge A Book By Its Blank Pages”. Same goes for Memphis.
All of the above books are bound in a technique known as “Belgian Secret Binding” which is widely attributed to one my instructors, book conservator Hedi Kyle. Apparently this binding is a traditional and historic bookbinding technique which had been lost for many years, and in her research, Hedi was able to recreate it and share it with her students. It is one of my favorite binding techniques because the process is similar to weaving.
The book pictured below is bound in an ancient technique known as “Japanese Stab binding”. This book is covered in dupioni silk with a decorative handprinted Indonesian batik fabric layered on top. The coins are from Thailand.
Don’t be disappointed just because the pages are empty!
Filed under: book arts, Fabric, Memphis, Uncategorized | Tagged: Belgian secret binding, book arts, bookbinding, Christian Brothers University, handmade book cover, handmade paper, Hedi Kyle, Indonesian batik, Japanese stab binding, MACA, Memphis, Weaving | 5 Comments »