By Monday, the crowds and familiar faces had thinned out significantly. On Monday morning, I was fortunate enough to attend the ‘Up Close and Hands On’: Minnesota Center for the Book Arts tour with a small group of Conference attendees. According to the Center’s website, it is “the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in the nation”. In addition to studio spaces for artists, there is also a cafe, a gift shop, space for exhibitions, offices, and a library and archives. Early on, we were shown the Center’s collection of in-use Vandercook Presses (http://vandercookpress.info/), which were beautiful machines indeed. A variety of letterpress techniques were also discussed and demonstrated. Later, Executive Director Jeff Rathermel provided details about their small but well organized library, which has reference materials available to members and instructors and uses the Library of Congress Classification system. There is also an archives that includes rare books, prints, broadsides, ‘zines, and artists’ books. With a collection of around 400 artists’ books, the Center has been cataloging them by looking at models such as the Flasch Collection at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (http://digital-libraries.saic.edu/cdm4/index_jfabc.php?CISOROOT=/jfabc) for guidance. At the same time, Rathermel noted that they are “breaking more rules than they are following, but want to know which rules they’re breaking”.
More info about the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts can be found here: http://www.mnbookarts.org/
To those who attended this year’s Conference — have a great year!