News 2008-2009

UICB and Lucy Brank featured in Harper's Magazine, April 23
Rimbaud / Verlaine
Marine / Seascape

By Lucy Brank

In an recent article in Harper’s Magazine, the University of Iowa Center for the Book is lauded as one of several programs nationally where the art of handmade books is still taught. “UICB has been minting, of late, graduate students who go on to do beautiful work.” The work of Lucy Brank, UICB graduate, is highlighted in the article. Read the full story here.

UICB Hosts Edible Book Fest

UICB Graduate students Jessica White, Heather Wetzel, Juli McLoone and Lee Marchelonis hosted the first annual Edible Book Fest at the Main Library on the UI campus. A great variety of work was entered ranging from sweet to savory, full of bookness all around.

Prizes were awarded for Best in Show, Best Literary Reference and Best Book Structure. Winning entries were Apple Tart Book by Erin Maurelli, for Best Literary Reference; Tibetan Pothi Book by Kristin Baum, for Best Structure; and The Thundering Herd Pop-Up Book by Duncan Stewart, for Best in Show. Many thanks to judges Julie Leonard, David Schoonover, and Judith Pascoe, and to all who participated.

Hats off to the organizers and here’s to the beginning of a new tradition for the Iowa City book and food community.

To see more images from the Festival, click here.

Mark Mattes awarded Stephen Botein Fellowship

UICB certificate student Mark Mattes recently won the 2009-2010 Stephen Botein Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society (AAS). These fellowships are awarded for research in the history of the book in American culture.
In Mattes' project, "Letter Interception and Publication During the Era of Good Feelings," he looks at how legal systems and periodicals of the early nineteenth century helped Americans negotiate how epistolary communications engendered sociability and political union. Mordecai Manuel Noah, pictured on the left, is the key figure in his research.

UICB team returns to highland Peru in April
Convent of the Recoleta

UI Center for the Book team of Joyce Miller, Caitlin Moore and Gary Frost will return to highland Peru this April. The two week project will again focus on the 20,000 volume library of the Convent of the Recoleta, a Franciscan complex founded in 1648 in the colonial city of Arequipa. Activities will include reinstallation of exhibits and preparation of a book studies and book craft workshop and dormitory in the Recoleta that will be used by regional and exchange students. Identification of Peruvian, rather than imported, book making is among the research agendas. Enthusiasm for the UICB project was increased by a recent feature article in the journal Catholic Library World, March 2009.

Kamerick recipient of 2009 Teaching Award

Kathleen Kamerick, lecturer in history in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is one of four University of Iowa faculty members to be awarded the 2009 President and Provost Award For Teaching Excellence in recognition of their years of outstanding teaching.

Kamerick has taught in the Department of History since 1996. She regularly teaches the large general education survey course in Western Civilization, and has developed several colloquia and other courses focused on medieval studies. Her course “From Manuscript to Print” is an integral component of the UICB curriculum.

The award, which is administered by the UI Council on Teaching, was created in 2004 as a university-wide recognition for faculty members who have demonstrated a sustained, high level of teaching excellence.

UICB director runner-up in prestigious MLA First Book Prize

Matt Brown won special mention in the Modern Language Association’s prize for Best First Book. The award recognizes his 2007 work The Pilgrim and the Bee. For more information about the prize, follow this link.

Glen Epstein, 1940-2008
October 2008

The Center is saddened to report the death of calligrapher Glen Epstein, a founding member of the UICB in 1986. Glen died Monday, October 20th after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. An appreciation from the Iowa City Press Citizen of Glen and his storied life is available here. Our deepest sympathies go to Glen's family and friends.

A tribute to Kay Amert
September, 2008

Kay Amert, emeritus professor in the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication, founding member of the UI Center for the Book in 1986, and director of the UI Typography Laboratory from 1971 until her retirement last year, died Friday, September 5 at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City.

Kay was my teacher, mentor, and friend. I met her in 1997 as a UI Center for the Book student eager to enroll in her highly lauded typography class. I made it into that course, and subsequently took every class she offered on typographic history and practice, signing up as a graduate student under her guidance in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. From Kay I learned both the visual and historical aspects of typography – how to see fully a typeface and, understanding those letters, how to give life and shape to words and pages and books. Her archival work with printing history archives was extensive and she introduced students to works created by the printer/publishers who for centuries led the way including one of particular interest to her, 16th-century French typographer Simon de Colines.

By the time I was her student Kay was no longer teaching classes in the Typographic Laboratory, the technology of digital fonts having fully superseded hot metal type in journalism practice. But she generously became an informal advisor to me after a series of departures at the Center for the Book left me without a mentor and with the responsibility for producing a significant letterpress book. The technical expertise she shared during our conversations is what made it possible for me to complete the project.

There isn’t a day I teach that I don’t think about Kay and her wisdom and generosity in the classroom. She gently guided each student along in the typographic tradition they were drawn to. It is impossible to travel from Iowa City into the greater book studies and printing history community without being asked about Kay. In conversations with her former students, far-flung colleagues, and those who knew her only by her work, I always feel privileged anew to have been her student.

—Sara T. Sauers, Iowa City

Book sculptor Dan Essig visits Book Studies Workshop
August 27, 2008

Asheville-based artist Dan Essig opened the first session of this semester’s Book Studies Workshop with a slide show of current work. Essig’s art combines a collector’s sensibility with a novel sense of the book format’s potential. Likening his work to a journal without words, he makes the book structure itself a visual record of a past both personal and social. The Book Studies Workshop gathers UICB students and faculty together for weekly discussions of art and history, theory and practice. For more information about Dan Essig’s work, follow this link.

" Clues and No Answers: Prints & Artist's Books" exhibit by Emily Martin
August 3-22, 2008

UICB faculty member Emily Martin started as a painter-sculptor working with personal or anecdotal imagery. She has found that prints and books, particularly sculptural book forms, provide her with the proper arena for her intentions. The complexity in working with books or series of prints allows her to have the materials, the forms, and the content all working together. For more information about the Bright Hill exhibit, follow this link.

Leonard, Jacobsen teach at renowned summer institutes
July-August, 2008

Julie Leonard will teach a three-week course in boxmaking and bookbinding at Penland School of Crafts, the preeminent institute of craft education in the U.S. The UICB's Bookbinding Specialist is invited regularly by Penland to lead workshops in the art of book structures. Cheryl Jacobsen, the UICB's calligraphy instructor, taught at the Wells College Book Arts Center Summer Institute. Jacobsen led a week-long session entitled "The Elegance of Italics."

Gary Frost to direct library conservation project in Peru
July 6-19, 2008

A University of Iowa Libraries preservation team will assist conservation of historical libraries of Arequipa, Peru. The city is 40 miles from the coast and surrounded by volcanoes and expansive canyon lands. The region has had long pre-Incan settlement with an archeological record of more than 6,000 years. The Incan intrusion began in the 14th century. Spanish settlement was established in 1539. Libraries for the education of clerics were founded beginning in the mid 17th century. Subsequent acquisition programs have continued to build the collections bringing together printed books imported to Peru as well as those printed in Peru over a period of five centuries.

The project team will demonstrate actions needed to preserve these historical libraries. Specialists Chela Metzger from the Kilgarlin Center for the Preservation of the Cultural Record, University of Texas at Austin, Anna Embree, from the School of Library and Information Studies, The University of Alabama and project director Gary Frost, UICB Instructor and University of Iowa Libraries will demonstrate non-damaging exhibit installation, methods for preservation of historical libraries and cleaning and stabilization of book collections. The team will also participate in salvage of collections from earthquake damage. Read more about Gary's efforts through this UI press release.

UICB Director to give invited talk at symposium in Israel
July 1 - 3, 2008

Matt Brown will participate in an international research workshop on book history and literary studies to be held at Ben-Gurion University, July 1-3, 2008. The symposium will gather historians, literary critics, media scholars, and bibliographers from across the globe to discuss the state of the field. For more information about the workshop, click here.

North Hall studios survive the flood intact
June 12-June 30, 2008

Through the hard work of the UICB community and the luck of the water levels, our studios and equipment in North Hall have weathered the severe flooding that has devastated parts of the UI campus. Tim Barrett's papermaking classroom in the Old Art Building was less fortunate, but happily we had been in the midst of moving that studio into North Hall. North Hall's sub-basement was flooded and our friends in Art Education have been hit badly. The UICB was locked out of the building for 3 weeks, but due to the good fortune of power and ventilation issues specific to North Hall, we escaped moisture damage as well. Summer courses are running as usual. Thanks again to all who expressed concern, which gave us heart as we faced this challenge; and may all so interested in our plight continue to think of and help with the efforts to rebuild the arts programs and UI campus more generally.

Jon Wilcox will lead Obermann seminar focusing on materiality and medieval texts
June 2 – 13, 2008

UICB and English Professor Jon Wilcox will direct an Obermann Center for Advanced Studies research program entitled “Medieval Manuscript Studies and Contemporary Book Arts: Extreme Materialist Readings of Medieval Books.” A competitive application process for fellowships resulted in an international group of scholars to work in tandem with UICB faculty Timothy Barrett, Cheryl Jacobsen, and Gary Frost. The seminar will run June 2 – June 13, 2008 at the University of Iowa. For more information, click here.

Center awarded $155,000 grant for printing program, student aid, and special initiatives

An anonymous donor has granted the UICB $155,000 to enrich its letterpress-printing program, to support its graduate students with research assistantships, and to promote the unit with national and local initiatives. Read more about the grant through the press release.

UICB grads contribute to Japanese Papermaking Conference in Toronto
June 7 - 15, 2008

UICB Certificate and MFA Design graduate (2001) Paul Denhoed and his wife Maki Yamashita will be major contributors at the World Washi Summit in Toronto, Canada June 7-15 this summer. They will accompany 3 papermakers from Japan, and act as their guides/translators for the week. Maki will give a bookbinding workshop, and Paul will give two talks on his experiences in Japan. Paul's papermaking research began 6 years ago when he received a Monbusho Fellowship from the Japanese government. Another UICB certificate graduate (2003) Tatiana Ginsberg will be at the conference as well, speaking and doing a workshop on her specialty which is natural vegetable dyeing of Japanese paper. Tatiana received a Fulbright to support her research in 2003-2004, and completed an MFA at UC Santa Barbara in 2007. For more information on the conference please click here.

Cheryl Jacobsen exhibits at Hudson River Gallery in Iowa City
March 28 – May 10, 2008

UICB faculty Cheryl Jacobsen has a new exhibition entitled Inevitable on view at the Hudson River Gallery in Iowa City. Inevitable incorporates writing, found phrases and found objects to create unexpected displays of the inner life, spirituality, and humor. The exhibition will run March 28 – May 10. For more information, please click here.

Certificate student Jessica White excels at UI graduate conference
March 28-29, 2008

Jessica White won first place in the Fine & Performing Arts division in this year's 10th annual James F. Jakobsen Graduate Conference. White represented both the UICB and the Printmaking Department with a display of her letterpress printed, handmade scroll. The Jakobsen Conference is held annually and spotlights the work of graduate students from across the entire Graduate College. The event is co-sponsored by the Graduate Student Senate and the Graduate College. This year, the Conference was the capstone to the Graduate Student Recognition Week, showcasing presentations from scientists, mathematicians, writers, musicians, artists and the many other members of the University of Iowa graduate community.

Emily Martin exhibits in Secrets and Lies, a Nationally Juried Artist Book Show
March 20 - April 26, 2008
Eyes Were Watching by Emily Martin

Eyes Were Watching, by UICB faculty member Emily Martin, has been selected to feature in Secrets and Lies, a national juried artist book exhibition in Portland, Oregon. The exhibition features book arts works by over 70 artists from around the world and was juried by Gay Walker, the special collections librarian at Reed College. For more information, please click here.

The UICB leads with graduate education that is authentically interdisciplinary
September 2007-March 2008

The Center offered two courses this academic year that featured collaborative teaching across disciplines, with a heady mix of students from various departments. Last fall, the Book Studies Workshop was led by UICB faculty in English and Art and included graduate students with backgrounds and enrollments in Anthropology, American Studies, Library Sciences, Art and Art History, Book History, English, and the UICB Certificate program. This spring, the UICB sponsored a graduate proseminar on the work of Michael Warner, co-taught by faculty in American Studies and English/UICB, and featuring Warner on the day of his visit as the UICB’s Ida Beam lecturer. Participating students included Certificate candidates in the UICB and MA and PhD candidates in Cinema and Comparative Literature, English, Library Sciences, and American Studies.

Matt Brown wins NEH fellowship for 2009
February 2008
CBAA members

The Director of the UICB will study at the Library Company of Philadelphia in the spring of 2009, with the support of a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The fellowship will support research for his current book, The Novel and the Blank, an investigation of how the constraints of the print shop affected the literary culture and reading habits of colonial and early national America.

Julie Leonard joins the CBAA Board of Directors
January 2008

The UICB’s Bookbinding Specialist has been named to the College Book Art Association Board of Directors, joining sixteen other leading figures in the field. This new professional organization will serve the book arts community in academic and other institutional settings, providing networks for graduate students, faculty, curators, and independent artists and scholars. For more information about the CBAA, go to their website here.

The UICB helps present Iowa City’s UNESCO City of Literature application
December 2007

Center faculty Julie Leonard, Tim Barrett, and Cheryl Jacobsen created the box, paper, and lettering that is the artistic platform for Iowa City’s application to become the world’s second UNESCO “City of Literature,” along with Edinburgh, Scotland. Iowa City would join a range of other urban centers--Aswan, Egypt; Sante Fe, N.M.; Berlin, Germany; Montreal, Canada; Popayan, Colombia; Bologna, Italy; and Seville, Spain—in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network. For more information and pictures of the UICB art, click here.

Gary Frost advises Peru archivists
November - December 2007
imag of a peruvian church

Conservator of the UI Libraries and UICB faculty member Frost has completed a two week consultancy in Arequipa, Peru where an exciting project is underway to conserve historical church libraries in this highland Colonial city. These libraries house collections spanning five centuries including materials produced in Peru where printing was introduced in the 16th century.

A rich educational agenda will integrate the libraries into a public educational role for the first time with a special focus on Peruvian book history and book crafts. On a parallel track, conservation and security measures will assure the long-term survival of the collections and their historical library furnishings. Earthquakes are routine, including one during Frost's visit. Pervasive volcanic dust also complicates long-term preservation. Frost assessed preservation risks, advising on protective exhibit and storage and conservation actions.

Cheryl Jacobsen commissioned for Iowa Arts Council grant at the University Hospitals
December 2007
color illuminated

Project Art of the University Hospitals will receive a $4800 grant to fund an art display by calligrapher Cheryl Jacobsen that will incorporate the phrases, thoughts and poems of patients, visitors and staff that describe the experience of healing. “Illuminated Voices” will consist of four paintings that will be displayed in a public space. The Iowa City Arts Council awards were two of 16 major project grants, totaling $105,000 across the state, to help fund arts projects that serve Iowans.

Certificate graduate Michael Chasar earns nations's best dissertation award
December 6, 2007
scrapbook frontispience
Frontispiece for radio host Tony Wons' scrapbook, 1930

University of Iowa English Ph.D. and UICB Certificate student Mike Chasar was presented with the 2007 “Distinguished Dissertation” award sponsored by the Council of Graduate Schools and Proquest/UMI Dissertation Publishing. Mike won first place for "Everyday Reading: U.S. Poetry and Popular Culture, 1880-1945,” a study of the material forms through which ordinary readers read and consumed verse. Selected above all other arts and humanities dissertations completed nationally over a two-year stretch (2005-07), his study of poetry scrapbooking, poetry radio broadcasts, and advertising poetry was honored at a CGS luncheon in Seattle. Mike is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the English department at the UI. Congratulations Mike!

Matt Brown gives talk at Harvard’s Book History Seminar
November 7, 2007
Mr. Pocket
A 17th-century “pocket” or purse, akin to what carried Mary Rowlandson’s Bible

The UICB Director presented the lecture “Books, Things, Mary Rowlandson, Us” at the Harvard Humanities Center’s history of the book seminar. Directed by Harvard faculty from the departments of history, religion, and literary studies, this interdisciplinary colloquium invites book scholars to present work in progress. Matt’s talk juxtaposed two contexts where the book is revered as an object, revered as much for what it is as what it says: the Bible within an English woman’s captivity during Metacom’s War of 1675-76 and the humanities monograph within contemporary academic cultures.

Certificate grads McCoy and Running land tenure-track jobs
November 2007
Blackout by Sarah McCoy

Sarah McCoy and Lee Running, recent graduates of the UICB, have combined their book art skills with Studio Art MFAs from the University of Iowa to pursue careers in higher ed. McCoy specializes in graphic design and typography and is an assistant professor at Drake University. Running is a paper artist and sculptor, teaching as an assistant professor at Grinnell College. Congratulations to Sarah and Lee!

Julie Leonard lectures at Arkansas Art Center
October 14

Arkansas Art Center

UICB faculty Julie Leonard will give the first lecture in the Friends of Contemporary Craft 2007-08 lecture series to be held at the Arkansas Art Center on October 14. She will give a slide presentation and participate in a conversation discussing her work as an artist and book binder. For more information click here.

Matt Brown publishes separate essays on disorderly reading and book arts theory
October 2007

Common-place has published the UICB Director’s essay “Undisciplined Reading” in the October 2007 issue, available on-line here. Forthcoming is another essay, “Book Arts and the Desire for Theory,” a response to the Action/Interaction conference held in Chicago (June 2007) and to be published in the Journal of Artists Books 22 (Fall 2007).

UICB’s Sara Langworthy wins co-first prize at Bright Hill
October 7 – 26

Morpho Terrestre by Sara Langworthy

UICB Printer-in-Residence Sara Langworthy is featured in and honored at the Sixth Annual North American Juried Book Arts Exhibit October 7 – 26 at Bright Hill Center’s Word and Image Gallery in Treadwell, New York. She has been awarded co-first prize for her work Morpho Terrestre along with Ohio artist Ben Blount's B is for Black: An Abecadarium of Black Culture. Click here for more information on Bright Hill Center.

Emily Martin exhibits in Kentucky and New York
Fine Arts Center, September 27 – October 26
Bright Hill Center, October 7 - 26

Sleepers, Dreamers and Screamers
by Emily Martin

UICB faculty member Emily Martin is featured in On Its Feet: Contemporary Letterpress Book Arts, one of two exhibitions to take place at the Fine Arts Center at Northern Kentucky University. The collaborative show, A Celebration of Letterpress: Two Exhibitions, includes the aforementioned On Its Feet as well as a second exhibition entitled Hatch Show Print: Work from the Great American Poster Shop. Emily Martin is also featured along wth the UICB's Sara Langworthy in the Sixth Annual North American Juried Book Arts Exhibit to take place October 7 – 26 at Bright Hill Center’s Word and Image Gallery in Treadwell, New York. Congratulations Emily!

UICB faculty and students feature at Oak Knoll Fest
October 6 - 7

Printing faculty Sara Langworthy and Sara Sauers, along with UICB Certificate students Pamela Olson, Lucy Brank, and Jessica White, attended the 14th annual Oak Knoll Book Fest in Newcastle, Delaware, October 6 – 7. They presented recent and classic work from the UICB studios and participated in the conference and exhibit. For more information on Oak Knoll, please click here.

Center helps turn UIMA’s “From Monks to Masters” into rousing success
July-October 2007

UICB faculty were featured speakers on the lecture program for the UIMA’s summer and fall exhibit, “From Monks to Masters: The Medieval Manuscript and the Early Printed Book.” Looking at a spectrum of ideas and practices, from early modern typography to manuscript culture in colonial America, the lectures displayed the wide-ranging, interdisciplinary inquiry typical of the Center. Talks on calligraphy by Cheryl Jacobsen and papermaking by Timothy Barrett drew crowds of between 70-80 people. Congrats to all involved!

Gary Frost to be guest speaker at international conservation conference
October 2007

University of Iowa Conservator, Gary Frost is an invited speaker at an international conference “Intervention Criteria in Book and Document Restoration” to be held in Pamplona, Spain, 18-19 October, 2007. He will speak on “Mobility and Function in Codex Bindings”.

Timothy Barrett pursues Newberry-funded research on historical papers
September 2007
Newberry Library
Newberry Library

Tim Barrett spent part of his fall at the Newberry Library, which provided him with a short term fellowship to conduct paper research. The Newberry work is part of Tim’s larger $186,000 IMLS-based research into the history of paper production and composition. While at the Newberry, Tim gave a talk titled “Portal to the Past- Non-destructive analysis of 15th-19th century papers” to a full house at the Newberry on September 26th.

Sara Langworthy and Julie Leonard exhibit at Apex Gallery
August 28 - September 28

Corruption by Julie Leonard

UICB faculty Sara Langworthy and Julie Leonard are featured in Pages: Artists Books and Prints, an exhibition at Apex Gallery in conjunction with the South Dakota Humanities Council Fifth Annual Festival of the Book. You can read more about the exhibition here.

Recent grad Mike Chasar wins prestigious dissertation prize
August 2007
Frontispiece to Tony Won's scrapbook
Frontispiece for radio host Tony Wons' scrapbook, 1930

Just minted with a Ph.D. in English and a Certificate from the Center for the Book, Mike Chasar has won the UI’s prestigious Spriestersbach award for the best dissertation in the humanities over the last two years. Entitled "Everyday Reading: U.S. Poetry and Popular Culture, 1880-1945,” the dissertation is splendidly aware of the material forms through which ordinary consumers enjoyed verse. Mike is especially alert to the phenomenon of scrapbooking, and he has collected a relevant archive of early 20th-century scrapbooks to augment his research. Currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the English department, Mike will see his dissertation go on as the nominee from the UI for the national Council of Graduate Schools Distinguished Dissertation Award. Congratulations Mike!

Cheryl Jacobsen earns award
August 2007
Caligraphy work by Cheryl Jacobsen
Only Echoes by Cheryl Jacobsen

Cheryl Jacobsen, adjunct assistant professor in the Center for the Book, has received second prize in an exhibition exploring the unique power of calligraphic artists to express personality and provoke thought through written forms. Calligraphy as Art: A Juried Show, sponsored by the Connecticut Valley Calligraphers & J. Vallee Brunelle Fine Art & Framing, runs August 10th through Sept 22nd, 2007 in Granby, CT . The Juror for the show was Gottfried Pott, formerly Professor of Calligraphy and Lettering Design at the University of Applied Science and Art at Hildesheim in Germany (1988-2003) and author of Schrift - Klang - Bild: The Music of Lettering, Workshop Impressions and Concerto, and Kalligrafie - Intensive Training.

Matt Brown’s book published
June 2007
The Pilgrim and the Bee by Matthew Brown

UICB Director Matthew P. Brown’s book, The Pilgrim and the Bee: Reading Rituals and Book Culture in Early New England, is now available. Published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, The Pilgrim and the Bee describes the reading habits and mental world of English settlers in colonial New England. Illuminating a neglected canon of New England literature, Brown discusses devotional “steady sellers” within the rituals of church, home, fast, funeral, and mission. Based on archival research, he argues that seventeenth-century readers are both pilgrims—treating texts as continuous narratives of redemptive journeying—and bees—treating texts as flowers or hives, as spatial objects where information is extracted and deposited discontinuously. The book format nurtures the promise of growth and the pain of stasis that is the spiritual plight of the devout. Read more about Brown’s work here.