This past June, I got to visit Fairbanks, Alaska to teach a comprehensive workshop in book conservation. I was invited by the Alaska Literacy Council, who funded most of the costs of the workshop. It was an amazing opportunity for me, and one I did not take for granted. I put a lot of work into preparing for the workshop, and the students worked hard at their projects throughout the class. Several of the students had little to no experience in repairing books, but I was very happy with their results! Most of the pictures I took were outside of class, because we were so busy in class. Click on, or hover over, the photos for the captions.
Many thanks to my exceedingly kind hosts who indulged my every whim, and served me Alaskan salmon every day I was there, and even allowed me to cull some birch bark to take home from their collection of kindling. Where I grew up in Wisconsin, there were many birch, but hardly any where I currently live in California, so I was thrilled to be able to bring home some bark!
This was also one of the rare times when I have given a public lecture on bookbinding. It was part of my duties in teaching the class, and I saw it as an opportunity to set the context for the students in the class (who ALL attended–thank you!), and to educate the general public about book conservation, something I love to do. Surprisingly, I didn’t choke on anxiety during the lecture as I have before, and was able to keep within the time limit as well. Success!
Being a private practice bookbinder involves a lot of very quiet time spent in my studio alone, so I cherish these opportunities to get out and meet people of my ilk. All the Alaskans I met were very down to earth people I could really identify with. I hope the knowledge they have gained in my workshop fuels their ambitions to repair all the books they can for many years to come!
Ten knives waiting to jump into the hands of eager students!
After dinner hike up the road
Salmon every day, every way
My host’s husband likes bikes too
Birch forest, with birch bent by previous seasons’ snowfall
Creamer’s Field in Fairbanks, where we went hiking. Fairbanks is in the interior of Alaska, not on the coast, so the landscape is different than the popular images of Alaska.
The Creek flows on
My host, a book artist, and her husband, a writer, did a residency at Beaver Creek
My host’s work: a piece of glass blown to look like water in the river
Extraordinary light and shadow as the squall moved in
Tundra flower… anemone?
Soft, mossy ground atop Murphy Dome
Murphy Dome, with rainstorm fast approaching
Fireweed? No. Delphinium?
Hiking trail on Murphy Dome
Mural in the childern’s section of the library
Rockwell Kent exhibit in the library
Artwork in the library
The public library branch where I gave my talk
Needle cases from walrus tusks
Couldn’t help but photog the shoes of course
Beautiful designs on walrus tusks
Bag made with fish skin leather
The University of Alaska Fairbanks has a terrific museum, the Museum of the North, which has many objects made by native craftspeople
Only in Alaska!
Our classroom: You can tell from the mess that we were working hard!
My book before treatment
One student’s success at color matching this very difficult cover
More home made baked goods
Sustenance: I had a huge appetite though the class, and ate a ton of these!
Two filet knives a student brought in to show me
Ramona Quimby front cover after repair
Ramona Quimby rear cover after repair
One of my students is a painter, so color matching was right up her alley!
Love lost, love found in one of the books I purchased for repair
A painting by my host’s friend in the Fairbanks airport
Flying over the Alaska Range