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Book artists display unique works

C.B. Sherlock's "Horizontal/Grandeur" is among one-of-a-kind artist books she will show at the Anderson Center's "The Art of the Book" exhibit, which opens May 12. She will offer a workshop on book binding during the opening event.

Hands-on workshops and demonstrations will make the May 12 opening of "The Art of the Book: Seventeen Artists from the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts" more than just an afternoon of show-and-tell at the Anderson Center at Tower View.

The exhibit, which will be on display through June 18, presents individual works by artists who bring together words and images -- literature and art -- in a variety of forms.

Leading up to the official 7 p.m. opening in the center's main gallery will be free, public sessions on printing and book binding from 3 to 5 p.m., followed by author readings.

"There will be things people can handle," said Richard Stephens, who will lead the printing workshop in the Granary Studio that also is home to Red Dragonfly Press.

Stephens, who is from St. Louis Park, Minn., is creating a new linoblock of an Anderson Center image for the workshop. He will show how to use it, and people will have an opportunity to print images. All materials will be provided.

Printing at the Anderson Center is not a new experience for Stephens, who was an artist in residence here a couple of years ago.

During that monthlong visit, he worked on a calendar of images from this area, including a Nerstrand farm, Valley Grove Church and Eidsvold Church.

Educated at the University of Minnesota, Stephens is a painter and drawer as well as a printmaker. In 1997 he founded "supersessionpress," which will publish its 11th book this year -- "Gitchee Gume, North Shore."

Some of the other bookmakers will assist with the workshop, and two of them -- C.B. Sherlock and Georgia Greeley -- will demonstrate how to stitch a book from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Tower View café. Sherlock, who makes accordion books, will share that technique as well.

Sherlock, also a past Anderson Center resident, creates small editions while teaching at the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts. She and Regula Russelle founded Accordion Press Collaborations and Seymour Press. Russelle, whose work also is in the show, is a teacher of book arts, papermaking and letterpress publishing; she creates both small and large books, installations and public arts projects.

Greeley is a poet and co-editor of Threshold, a cultural calendar of the St. Paul Public Library.

Stephens is especially pleased that the expanded opening event will give him a chance to present two of the writers with whom he has worked -- Andrew Heuer and Stephen Schild. They are among authors who will give readings between 5 and 6 p.m. in the café.

He and Schild collaborated on "These Old Men Know Things," a book that will be part of the exhibit.

Stephens said he and Heuer worked together on poetry years ago. Heuer, who plans to tell a story based on one of those poems, is a social worker, educator and psychotherapist who uses storytelling to foster healing.

Greeley will introduce the other readers: Joann Bren Guernsey and Ethna McKiernan. Guernsey is the author of 19 books of fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults and an adult novel, and has collaborated with photographer Jim Brandenburg on his children's books. McKiernan, also a poet, works for a nonprofit serving the homeless in Minneapolis.

A public reception will be held in the gallery at 6:30 p.m., and the show will open at 7 p.m.

Also participating in the show:

Margit Ahmann, who makes books, paper and prints; Abigail Woods Anderson, an instructor at the Center for the Book Arts; Laura Brown, an internationally recognized artist; Elizabeth Carls, a mixed-media book artist; Amanda Degener, who creates using her own handmade paper; Beth Dow, a photographer and bookmaker; Wendy Fernstrum, who writes, designs and prints books at Fernwerks press.

Also, Marvel Gregoire, a volunteer tour guide at the center; Ann Iverson, whose work has been heard on Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac," Lilla Johnson, whose background includes scientific illustrations; Jes Lee, whose work includes photography and book arts; Kirsten Olson, a printmaker and graphic designer; and Joanne Price, an internationally recognized printmaker.

In addition to meeting the artists and writers, people will have a chance to check out their unique creations. "There will be lots of books available to purchase," Stephens noted. "It's going to be a nice show."

If you go...

Who: Minnesota Center for the Book Arts" members

What: "The Art of the Book" opening

When: May 12

Activities: 3 p.m. workshops, 5 p.m. readings, 6:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. gallery opening

Where: Anderson Center at Tower View

Cost: Free

More information: 651-388-2009

Event features workshops, demonstrations

The Anderson Center will present "The Art of the Book: Seventeen Artists from the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts" Saturday May 12.

Free and open to the public, the event includes an afternoon and evening of demonstrations, printing and book binding workshops, poetry readings, and a large exhibition of stunning handmade books. The afternoon celebrations will be followed by a reception for the artists at 6:30 p.m. in the Main Gallery, followed by the exhibition opening at 7 p.m.

The 17 artists highlighting the show represent a wide variety of artistic perspectives and experience levels. Playing with structure, materials and content, and employing a wide variety of forms -- scrolls, box-sets, accordion-like fold-outs -- their work is presented in unique, handcrafted, often one-of-a-kind editions that celebrate the coming together of words and images, art and literature, organizers said.

There is C.B. Sherlock's "Horizontal/Grandeur," for example, with its flowing shocks of golden wheat. Or Lilla Johnson's long fold-out, accordion-like book of stunning winter landscapes. Or Kira Bavender's humorous love letter, "We Have Great Chemistry," with its beaker full of bubbling hearts.

Employing traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing, and bookbinding as well as modern digital publishing techniques, each of the artists in this exhibition reveals a commitment to exploring, perpetuating, and ultimately preserving the fine art of bookmaking.

"The Art of the Book: Seventeen Artists from the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts" is made possible in part by grants from the Jones Family Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Minnesota Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, Minnesota State Arts Board, Target Foundation and Xcel Energy Foundation.

For more information, call the Anderson Center at 651-388-2009.