Leather Binding Workshop rescheduled for September 6-7

August 20th, 2008

Save the date and come and join us at another Midwest Book & Manuscript Studies workshop: make a leather bound book sewn on exposed straps. Learn a variety of decorative techniques and the essentials of working with leather including using a Sharfix to pare the edges. This is an intermediate class, but if you have some manual dexterity, you will be able to make this book. Repeat leather binding students will find new challenges.
To register and find out more about this class and others, go to the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences (GSLIS) website at:
These are examples of books done by participants the last time I taught the class:

Backstage with Bruce Springsteen

July 30th, 2008

Because my “Three of Swords” is the disc icon on Bruce Springsteen’s Magic, I was invited to meet him backstage at Giant’s Stadium on Sunday July 27. He told me he had seen the icon as a tattoo on one of his young fan’s arm in Germany during his world tour. We laughed about how strange it felt for him to find his face tattooed on people’s bodies.Shortly after I left, he went onstage and gave another wonderful performance. His last one will be this Thursday. The Three of Swords is now on t-shirts, hoodies, shot glasses, bandanas, and messenger bags…all available at his online store or at any of his concert venues.

Hugin and Munin (Mind and Memory): A small edition of a book made in Iceland

June 20th, 2008

While in Iceland last summer, I made a collage book entitled Mind and Memory inspired by the story of Odin’s two ravens named Hugin and Munin..mind and memory. These birds sit on his shoulders and fly out daily to return with news of the world.The original CIA.
I have made a small edition of three more of this book, using Epson prints and exotic papers. The books are chunky pages bound together with strips of fish leather, a product produced in Iceland.
You can see all of the images in the book if you go here:


60 Old Trees completed in two limited editions

June 20th, 2008

I have just completed four copies of 60 Old Trees in a deluxe edition. The prints of the sixty trees were made on Cranes duo paper printed on an Epson printer. These books are bound in gold book cloth with leather spines and housed in slipcases. There are also four copies of a medium scale edition of this book, bound in wheat colored cloth and slipped into a case with copper colored edges. This book, also printed on an Epson printer, is slightly smaller (measuring 8″ x 7.75″)These images of aging trees were made over the years in many countries. I assembled them into a set in celebration of my sixtieth birthday. To see all the images in the book go here:http://web.mac.com/nettles3/Recent_Artists_Books/60_Old_Trees,_2006.html

The Paper and Book Intensive at Arrowmont was outstanding.

June 3rd, 2008

I have just returned from Gatlinburg, Tennessee where the most recent Paper and Book Intensive was held at Arrowmont School. It was an excellent facility and the classes the I took were, as always, outstanding. I enrolled in paper marbling with Nancy Morains, folded structures with Hedi Kyle, and made an Armenian style bound book under the direction of Shanna Leino.

New Youtube video about the book Flamingo in the Dark

May 11th, 2008

Go to Youtube to view another great video interview made by Bonnie Fortune. In this one I discuss the creation of the image Rachel and the Bananaquit and its subsequent placement in the book Flamingo in the Dark. The process of Kwik Printing is briefly explained along with the motivation and organization of this book from the late seventies. The video ends with a short clip of me playing the banjo and singing.

The book is available for $35 using Paypal at the store on this website:

I’ve Retired after 38 Years of Teaching

May 11th, 2008

I just celebrated my retirement with many of my former students in Chicago last weekend. I began teaching in 1970 in Rochester, NY and just finished my career at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. I plan to continue to teach and attend workshops, give lectures, and of course make new art work in my studio.

The Passage of the Ruby Ring, a new accordion book.

April 15th, 2008


Recently I completed the book The Passage of the Ruby Ring. It is the story of five generations of women on my maternal line and the ruby ring that has been passed down from mother to daughter. The book is printed in color on the front and marbled on the back. It is housed in a slipcase with golden edges. It is 5.5 x 8.25 inches and 55 inches when expanded to reveal the whole story. Made in an edition of five copies, it sells for $400.

Audrey Niffenegger Portfolio is finished by Soybean Press

April 13th, 2008

Audrey Niffenegger visited my printmaking class earlier this semester and printed a letterpress broadside with an image and short story. A portfolio to enclose it was recently finished by my printmaking students and the Soybean Press, a collective letterpress group at the University of Illinois. The folio was cut on a laser cutter, then manually folded and assembled by a group of volunteers. Thanks to Jason Pietrucha, pictured in the hat, for designing the folio complete with its special foot closure.

Variant Hues: Art, Design and Teaching with Artists’ Books at SCAD Atlanta

April 6th, 2008

The weekend of April 3-5, 2008 I attending an outstanding conference on the importance of artists’ books in special collections libraries for students of the arts. Presentations were made by Johanna Drucker, Carol Barton and Jo Anne Paschall, as well as several teachers on the SCAD Atlanta campus. A student show of 99 entries was on view. In addition there were two hands-on workshops. Participants screen printed covers and bound exposed spine sewn blank books one afternoon and made pop-up prototypes the next. The conference organizers, Deborah Prosser and Mary Murphy of the SCAD Atlanta library, hope to make this an annual event which will undoubtedly attract a loyal following.Their artists’ book collection is a fabulous resource and well worth a visit!

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