published Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Artwork in book form: Two-day workshop will teach how to merge text and visual art

Bob Dombrowski flips through the pages of an artist’s book while exploring his collection, at his home. Dombrowski
is leading a workshop on the process of making an artist book.
Bob Dombrowski flips through the pages of an artist’s book while exploring his collection, at his home. Dombrowski is leading a workshop on the process of making an artist book.
Photo by C. B. Schmelter.
  • photo
    Artist’s books are limited-edition books handmade by an artist.
    Photo by C. B. Schmelter.
    enlarge photo

If You Go

* What: Artist's Books Workshop.

* When: 7 p.m. Friday, March 14; 1 p.m. Saturday, March 15.

* Where: Dade County Public Library, 102 Court St., Trenton, Ga.

* Fee: Free, but reservations required by noon Thursday, March 13.

* Reservations or information: 706-657-7857

Bob Dombrowski has created more than 100 artist's books over 30 years. One is even archived in New York City's Museum of Modern Art.

Bound and filled with his thoughts and drawings, they are not journals, but in some respects they are just as autobiographical for the resident of Wildwood, Ga.

"They chronicle my life in the same way paintings or sculptures chronicle an artist's life. They display changes through the years in my method of drawing," he explains.

Artist's books are limited-edition books handmade by an artist that are an art form in themselves. They might be filled with either words or visual images or both, says Dombrowski. He cites two examples: one filled with a poet's original verse and drawings, another in which the owner clipped lines of importance to him from magazines and other print materials and creatively placed them in the book. Both are artistic impressions captured in tactile form, he says.

Such books are an often-overlooked art form that has seen a resurgence of interest in the last couple of decades, says Marshana Sharp, manager and youth education coordinator at the Dade County Library in Trenton, Ga.

To introduce this art to a broader audience, the library and Trenton Arts Council are partnering to offer a two-day workshop on how to make an artist's book. The workshop at the library will be led by Dombrowski.

On Friday, March 14, Dombrowski will lead a discussion on book making, giving a brief overview of the history and various incarnations in which art books have been presented. On Saturday, March 15, he will lead a workshop participants through the process of creating their own books.

"What I'll be teaching is a binding called Japanese stab binding," he says. "They will learn to bind with string; it's side stitching. The cover material will be old wallpaper samples. The book will have blank pages open to them to go from there."

Sharp says there is no fee for the workshop because the event is funded by a Georgia Council for the Arts grant. All materials will be supplied to participants. In order to ensure there are enough supplies for all, however, reservations are required by Thursday, March 13.

An additional perk is that library staff will offer a similar artist's book workshop for the children of adults attending Dombrowski's presentations. This isn't just babysitting, Sharp explains, but an arts activity encouraging children's creativity.

The two-day workshop is open to all individuals and is not solely for artists who wish to create a retrospective of their work.

"The art book can be anything that captures the attention of the artist, collected and presented in a book form," says Dombrowski.

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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