Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Book & Art Time Travel

Lately, I have been missing my PBI (Paper & Book Intensive) friends.

I wish for a time machine to transport me back to revisit the moments at the University of Machias where Bernie Vinzani was the Ultimate Superhost.  Amazing Artist!  Fine Man!  AND an American who is a loyal CBC television watcher!  Grazie Bernie for being SO good to all of us!!!!!! 

The Four Emilys before the BIG Party    Photo: Margaret Braun
Naturally Hand-dyed Kozo Paper   Photo: Margaret Braun
I would love to travel back to Helen's Restaurant at lunchtime, gorging on fresh blueberry pie; listening to Steve serenade me with 'O Canada' at the airport when I first arrived; high-spirited conniving while making decorations for the banquet in Emily Martin's room; David Wolfe's 26 Letters:  Type/Image class printing on the Vandercook press with wooden blocks and carving images into Shinawood; my many friends including Laurie (a.ka. (名) 祖母 or ... Ama  that's grandmother in Chinese)  we worked together until 1 a.m. helping one another print our Broadsides;  Jan, a highly-talented and absolutely lovely soul who has practiced at the Rhode Island School of Design for 30 years...  we sat in Nancy's tree house eating our lunch sharing our love for sketchbook/journals;  disappearing into Debra Howe's class at lunchtime and late in the evening while secretly fashioning a Built-In Groove Case Book with my new "partner in crime", Lisa (we were known as the auxiliary students);  witnessing kozo paper transform into a multitude of natural colours in Tatiana's Japanese Natural Colorants for Paper class; watching in awe as the whales surfaced in the Atlantic on a sunny warm New Brunswick afternoon -- the air filled with the sweet scent of roses; visiting Nancy Leavitt and Walter Tisdale in their studios -- becoming increasingly inspired with every step, marveling at their environment, experiencing the magic of their art and leaving exhilarated; mulling about introspectively within the flower labyrinth where a large white steeple church nestled peacefully in the background; rummaging through the flea market on the canal; giggling with Frank Brannon -- everyone giggled with Frank; jogging over bridges and throughout the charming New England town; savouring two soft ice cream cones each day from the cafeteria... or five if it was in between session one and two; talking into the wee hours of the morning with Emily, my roommate; and playing with paper and paraphernalia at a table of five in Melissa's Inlays and Onlays class.

Calligraphy by Nancy Leavitt Photo: M. Braun

While assembling my books across the table from Miss Velma and sharing laughs, she would reminisce and tell stories about "back home".   Velma and Tom were a comical duo.  Tom's hilarious and surprising comments would spur us all into regular belly laughs.  He truly has a gift for finding humour in the "every day".   

Tom is the Executive Director of The Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Educational Foundation.  "The Morgan", as it was commonly referred to, is an Ohio non-profit art center dedicated to the preservation of handmade papermaking and the art of the book with sustainable practices in an innovative green environment.  I wish I could have gone to The Morgan after attending the PBI Workshop.  Melissa had an exhibition of her sculptural books.  Brilliant and absolutely novel! 

I have to say, Emily (yes, there were four) was also very funny.  She was the "other" Canadian at our table. Her sense of humour continually sent me into bursts of laughter and, although very young, her thought-provoking comments amazed me.

Walter Tisdale's Working Table  Photo: M. Braun
Lisa had an infectious laugh which we heard all the time!  The mere fact that Lisa found most things amusing would be the start of her contagious laughter and ultimately everyone would follow! 

by Dorothy Simpson Krause
The other day, Steve Miller published another podcast in Book Artists  and Poets on iTunes.  He interviewed Dorothy Simpson Krause.   I was SO excited!  Dorothy had been a student in two of the same classes that I participated in.  It was such a privilege to meet her and a joy to brainstorm and discuss works in progress.   Dorothy is the author of Book & Art, a publication that I purchased long before I had the privilege of meeting the writer.  It was good to hear Steve and Dorothy chatting.  It occurred to me that conversation became the time machine for it transported me back to those sacred moments and places playing like a special feature in my mind.

Steve had interviewed a number of PBI lectors, educators and students while we were in Maine.

If you haven't had the opportunity to take in the podcasts, yet,  have a little listen.  Stay tuned for the interviews to come.  You will be pleasantly inspired.


  1. this is beautiful, almost too much because it was so wonderful. thank you for this margaret.

  2. margaret, or is it really emily???, i miss you!

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  4. Velma, I removed the first comment due to my poor spelling. I was in a hurry! LOL! Our time together at PBI WAS WONDERFUL! I'm glad we have kept in touch. Love your work! I enjoy your blog. I reads like a good mystery... I can hardly wait to see what you're going to do next! BIG hugs!