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!