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MFA Book Arts professor gives back to Alma Mater

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Professor Anna Embree, Associate Professor of the Master of Fine Arts Book Arts program at the University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies was selected to have her book featured in an auction for the 30th anniversary celebration and fundraising event for the University of Iowa Conservation Department in the University of Iowa Libraries.

The auction will be held at the University of Iowa on Nov.13 and will feature 11 fine bindings and handmade tools from alumni and friends of the Conservation Lab, which showcases bindings inspired by Conservator William Anthony, founder of the Conservation Lab at UI.

“William Anthony’s dedication to teaching has greatly influenced the education of generations of bookbinders in the United States. Many Book Artists who create even the most innovative or non-traditional work, received training rooted in traditional craft that can be directly traced to the lineage of William Anthony and his students,” said Embree.

“My intent with this work was to honor this legacy by creating a binding using the traditional materials and techniques of my craft while pushing the boundaries of conventional book form,” said Embree.


Embree’s work is covered in full goat leather with goat leather onlays and blind tooling. The endsheets are pastepaper on bugra paper and the end bands are sewn with silk thread. The boards are composed of many layers of binders board that have been sanded and shaped for a heavily cushioned and sculptural effect. The board attachment and lining are experimental and were inspired by Gary Frost’s work with sewn board attachments.

Embree’s books is currently valued at $2,000. The proceeds from the auction will benefit the William Anthony Conservation Fund, which supports ongoing conservation activities and special projects.

Embree received her bachelors and graduate certificate from the University of Iowa and her masters from Iowa State.
For more information regarding the 30th anniversary please visit: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/preservation/30years/.

Contact: Julessa Sherrod, office associate II, 205/348-4610, jsherrod@slis.ua.edu
Source: Anna Embree, MFA associate professor, 205/348-2398, aembree@bookarts.ua.edu

John DePol, American 20th Century Wood Engraver featured in exhibit

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Tuscaloosa, Ala. – The prints of American 20th Century artist, John Depol, are currently being showcased in an exhibition case in the 2nd floor lobby of the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library at the University of Alabama.

The exhibition features beautiful printed works, including wood engraved prints and original end grain wood blocks by DePol. They have been pulled from the archive of more than 1,000 of his works located in the MFA in the Book Arts Program, School of Library & Information Studies, where the DePol archive is housed. This exhibition will be of interest to artists, historians, archivists, writers and others. Many of DePol’s prints include literary allusions.

This exhibition opened on DePol’s birthday September 18th and will end on Nov 1st.

For more information contact: Julessa Sherrod, Office Associate, 205/348-4610, joglen@slis.ua.edu
Source: Steve Miller, steve@ua.edu , 205/535-0772

MFA student work accepted into the Southern Printmaking Biennale VI International Exhibition

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Tuscaloosa, Alabama- Kyle Clark, a first year Master of Fine Arts student in the Book Arts program at the University of Alabama, had his work accepted into the Southern Printmaking Biennale VI International Exhibition at the University of North Georgia.

The juried exhibition, which is sponsored by the UNG Department of Visual Art, accepts innovative works in all printmaking media including monotypes, large-scale and three-dimensional prints from professional artist around the world.

His wood cut entitled, “Ossemonumentum,” was printed on fine Japanese gampi fiber paper and is a continuation of his recent works that incorporate abstracted human skeletons in various groupings and densities.

“This specific print was created while listening to initial reports coming in about the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) invasion of Iraq and their impact on minority groups including the Yazidi and Christians living within Iraq’s borders,” said Clark.

While this print is not a direct response to the ISIS invasion, the current events in Iraq and Syria did have strong influences in its creation.

“Ossemonumentum” will be on display at the University of North Georgia from November 10th to December 12th.

Contact: Julessa Oglen, Office Associate, 205/348-4610, joglen@slis.ua.edu
Source: Kyle Clark, MFA Book Arts student, kaclar6025@gmail.com

Kentuck Festival of the Arts

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MFA students and faculty volunteered at the annual Kentuck Festival of the Arts the weekend of October 18-19, 2014. It was beautiful autumn weather as kids were guided through printing and students sold their books and broadsides. Fun and work was had by all.

Cuban artist Alejandro Sainz

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Cuban artist Alendro Sainz speaks during his four days of print making in the Type Lab. September 29 – October 3, 2014.

UA Book Arts students win “Distinguished Book Award” at the MBS Competition


Tuscaloosa, Alabama—Master of Fine Arts students Alana Baldwin and Caroline Anderson at the School of Library and Information Studies won the Distinguished Book Award from the Miniature Book Society (MBS) in August. MBS is a juried competition for writers, illustrators, editors and publishers of miniature books.

Anderson’s “Song of the Valkyrie” and Baldwin’s “Less than Human” were two of the three miniature books chosen this year.

The University Libraries and the Alabama Center for the Book sponsored these students and encouraged them to submit their work in the competition.

Participants created a bound book that was no greater than 3”x 3”, and designed it so that it told the story in a convincing way.

Steve Miller, professor and MFA coordinator, worked extensively with Anderson and Baldwin on their project.

“We teach our students how to make technically excellent and conceptually solid books,” said Miller

Book artists have been making traditional miniature books for centuries and Miller said, his students have put a modern twist on a historic tradition.

Tony Firman, the MBS Competition Chair, was greatly impressed with the level of work the two graduate students submitted in order to compete with seasoned book artists and win the Distinguished Book Award.

“When you consider that these awards generally go to well established book binders for fancy leather bindings, you realize that your students are truly exceptional,” said Firman.

Books that are chosen will be included in the MBS traveling miniature book show that will be exhibited across the nation. In May, the University Libraries sponsored the MBS traveling exhibition and the Kate W. Ragsdale Memorial Miniature Book Collection at the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library.

The MBS is a national non-profit organization that promotes all aspects of the book arts with a special emphasis in miniature books.

Contact: Julessa Oglen, Office Associate II, 205/348-4610, joglen@slis.ua.edu
Source: Steve Miller, professor and MFA coordinator, stevemiller@bookarts.ua.edu 205/348-1525

In Memoriam: Glenn House Sr.

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On September 14, 2014 The University of Alabama and its Book Arts Program lost a great friend and colleague, Glenn House, Sr. Many of you knew Glenn, or may recognize him from his discovery and popularization of Alabama Kozo Asian-style paper. In 1974 Glenn began teaching letterpress printing classes in the School of Library & Information Studies at UA. He retired as a SLIS professor in 1991 Those first classes eventually developed into the MFA in the Book Arts Program that flourishes to this day. Glenn set up the Lost Arch Papermill, as part of the Book Arts Program, and in retirement he came back to us every year to spin yarns about his beloved Kozo, and tales of his hometown, Gordo, Alabama. He and his wife Kathy Fetters set up two type shops and an art gallery in that small town, and became mentors for generations of Book Arts students who wanted to print their thesis work in Gordo. Glenn was a charismatic artist in letterpress, clay and painting. He knew no strangers, and saw as a significant part of his mission to help others learn to make books. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Photo courtesy of Kathy Fetters