In fact, a recent similar conversation about workshops with Janet and Patrick helped me with some stinkin’ thinkin’ and got me musing about a vision for TBA and the greater local book arts community.
I got to thinking that the Triangle is becoming, in its own small way, known as a book arts place. TBA is part of it. The email list serve reaches scores of readers, many quite distant from the Triangle. These “lurkers,” who are beyond our core group of active participants, rely on the list serve to stay informed about book arts in the Triangle. With an active website, FaceBook and Instagram presence, TBA has positioned itself as a resource and promoter for local book arts. Kudos especially to Patrick for his work here.
Our members, including the lurkers in the list serve, move in book arts circles around the country and internationally, where they make sure folks hear about TBA and what's going on in the Triangle. How many times have you heard someone say, “I just got back from [Penland, Codex, PBI, New York, San Francisco, etc.] and people were very interested in TBA and what we are doing?” Perhaps a vision of TBA should include its members being knowledgeable and articulate promoters and ambassadors of the Triangle book arts scene as they move around the country and the world.
TBA also has strong ties, especially through individual artists, with the larger local arts community. Perhaps a vision of TBA should include becoming the voice of book arts in the local arts community.
Book arts in the Triangle are flourishing and TBA is only one of many reasons that the Triangle is getting noticed in the larger book arts world. As obvious as it may be, I’m just coming to understand that TBA and its members should be mindful of the larger book arts community in the Triangle as we plan and act. Perhaps this big picture should be included if TBA articulates a vision for itself.
I’m certainly not aware of everything as I think about book arts in the Triangle, but I see enough to understand that we are part of a vibrant book arts community that is increasingly known and respected across the country. Here’s what’s visible from where I sit:
For one thing, TBA's experience with far-flung participants coming for workshops is also true for others who offer book-related instruction – Studio 200's workshops and Kathy Seinsberger's Blam workshops, not to mention ArtSpace, DeviledEgg, ScrapX and the various arts councils all attract folks from beyond the Triangle.
People outside the Triangle are certainly noticing that Duke and UNC libraries both support book arts. Duke library recently hosted a Guild of Book Workers workshop. Last year, a Duke librarian gave TBA members a tour of the zine collection, and don’t forget the current exhibit of the Baskin Collection. Over at UNC we can enjoy Josh’s inimitable monthly “artists’ book club” at Sloane library.
I’d like to include Duke and UNC museums and art departments. How are they contributing to the Triangle book arts scene?
The Durham Zine Machine is bigger and stronger every year.
Dave Wofford’s work at Horse and Buggy Press is really putting the Triangle on the book arts map.
There are artisan letterpress printers, paper marblers, paper makers, book binders, book conservators and book historians.
We have talented book artists (You know who you are!) with growing reputations.
We are blessed with supportive gallerists who love to showcase book art, especially including TBA’s own RoyLee Duval.
I know I've left stuff out of this enumeration, and I expect and hope you will add to the list.
That's all pretty cool when you think about it.
TBA should be excited to be part of all this. Can we talk about a vision of TBA as the face, or maybe the voice, of book arts in the Triangle?