Thursday, 27 March 2014


Hello Everyone
It appears that Old Man Winter is still hanging on and his side kick, Jack Frost is still playing with my windows.  He does do beautiful work.  The sun has been out a lot lately, giving us bright, if not cold, sunny days.  If one stands in the sun, away from the biting wind, the days are beautifully warm.  All this aside, I have been having great fun with my students.  During March break, I collaborated with a print maker from the school and we gave a course on print making, letter press and bookbinding.  Everyone who attended had a great deal of enthusiasm and were very excited about the lino cuts, prints and books they created.  Here are some of the photos from the class: 

Les is picking out the letters for the letter press

The students selected all the letters and assembed the sentences.  They are assembling the sentences in the letter press frame.

The spacers are being added to ensure the letters stay in place once the press starts to print.

Les is inking the letters and Guillermo is providing the instruction on correct inking procedures.

The frame is being tightened to ensure the letters stay aligned and in place. 

Guillermo is instructing the students on the use of the press.

We had the luxury of being able to work in more than one colour.  We even blended some colours to get others.  The final outcome was superb.

Christine is inking the brayer.

The theme we used was 'Spring'.  Here the letters for the cover page are being inked. 

Guillermo demonstrating the use of the press.

Demonstrating how to position the paper, to be printed, in the press. 

Christine cranking the press.

Les is really putting his back into it. 

All the pieces are starting to come together.  

Checking the order of the pages. 

Making the book - stitching the pages together.

The finished product.

Another finished book. 

Guillermo and I will be offering this course again in July: July 7 to 11, 2014 and again in August: August 18 - 22, 2014.  This is a one week course, 6 hours a day. 


I have had a great time with my students this year.  The book arts course is well attended at both campuses and the students are having great fun making interesting books.   In each course I include a rare book tour and this semester I took the students to the National Gallery of Canada Library. 

Jonathan Franklin, Chief, Library, Archives and Research Fellowships Program, introduced us to his exhibit on Fritz Brandtner (1896 –1969), artist and educator.  The exhibit is a small selection from the 172 books and materials of Brandtner’s which were donated to the National Gallery by his friend, Paul Kastel of the Kastel Gallery. 

Brandtner was born in Danzig, Germany (now Gdansk, Poland) and lived there until he emigrated to Canada in 1928.  By that date he was already an accomplished artist familiar with the currents of European modernism. 

Philip Dombowsky, Archivist at the National Gallery Library assembled a selection of rare books with leather covers, embossed leather covers, marbled covers, end papers and edges, vellum covers, publisher’s decorative covers, cloth covers and illustrated books.

He started the tour in the vault where the books are housed in a temperature controlled environment. 

The first delicacy he introduced us to was The Works of Geoffry Chaucer by the Kelmscott Press, 1896.  This book was the masterpiece of the Kelmscott Press (established in l891 by William Morris), and the pinnacle of 19th century book design.  The book was inspired by the hand-presses of the 15th century.  Four hundred and twenty-five copies of the book were printed and the National Gallery of Canada has number 192 of 425.  The binding was done by Sangorski and Sutcliff in London.  The leather cover is gold tooled and William Morris designed the type, the borders and the initial letters.  He also supervised the choice of ink and paper used in the making of this book.  The eighty-seven wood-engraved illustrations are the work of the Pre-Raphaelite painter, Edward Burne-Jones.  It took four years to complete these books.  

The names of characters and the titles of the different tales were written in red. 

The Book of Jonah had a wooden cover with an embossed leather spine. 

Although a very small book, the illustrations were large and amazing.

This was a cloth covered book.  The design in the cloth was quite unique. 

This traditional marbled paper was used to cover a book and its protective sleeve. 

This book was bound in blue flat-weave cloth.  The cover was gilt-stamped with a full cover design of styled peacock, foliage, and titles.  The spine was gilt-stamped and the artist's monogram AT (Angus Turbayne) is in the lower left corner of the cover.  

This book, 'In Defence of Woman', was printed by The Golden Cockerel Press in 1960.  The colour engravings are by John Petts.  

This is another beautiful illustration from one of the six volumes of Spenser's Faerie Queene dated 1897.  One thousand copies were printed and they were cloth bound.  The covers were black-stamped and gold-stamped with gold stamped spines.  The paper was handmade and there were eighty five full page engraved illustrations by Walter Crane.  

This book by Blais Cendrars, La fin du monde, filmée par l'Ange N.D. Paris: Editions de la Sirène, 1919, had illustrated reproductions of ink drawings and colour added by pochoir (stencil).  They were created by French artist, Fernand Léger.  The book was published in a linited edition of 1225 copies, 25 of which were printed on Rives paper and 1200 on vélin Lafuma.  This is number 787.

I found this book cover very interesting.  It is fuschia coloured velvet and the title appears as though it was hand printed with paint.  This is one of the more modern books in the Library's collection. 

This was a fly leaf in one of the books.  It has the appearnace of hand painted water colour.  

The final wrap-up of the evening were the book plates.  In this picture we can see the large prototype of the book plate (on the left), in the center is the copper plate designed and used for printing the smaller book plate (on the right).  

A very special thank you to Vivian Tors who generously provided the pictures of this tour.  


I always dedicate one class in the Book Arts course to paper decorating.  Here are some photos of Suminagashi - a Japanese paper marbling technique.  I show th students how to do the Suminagashi marbling with brushes and sumi ink.  

This is the first technique - paint brushes, sumi ink and dish washing liquid.

Creating a design with the brushes and ink.   

The design sitting on top of the water, before laying the paper down. 

Laying the paper down to collect the print.

Wait, wait - not too long - this is  quick process.  Once the paper has been laid on the water and ink, the pattern takes hold of the paper which is then quickly lifted off the water. 

Here it is - a simple design.

For this beautiful colour, I use the Suminagashi kit.  The technique is a little different, but the resut is still a unique piece of marbled paper.  

These photos were taken and provided for use in this blog by Vivian Tors. 


I have now expanded the Book Arts course to an intermediate course.  Participants will incorporate their book arts skills to learn more complex bindings, create windows in the covers and the art of making protective boxes (clam shell and portfolio) for their books. 

ORLEANS CAMPUS – Shenkman Arts Centre, 245 Centrum Blvd.

March 29
10:00 - 1:00 pm

Flowers and Folding Books

April 23-June 18
1:00 – 4:00 pm

Intermediate Book Arts


Mary Kritz
May 3
10:00 – 4:30 pm

Introductory Box Making


Mary Kritz
May 10
10:00 – 4:30

Secret Belgian Bound Book – Intro


Mary Kritz


Apr 17–June 19
6:00 – 9:00 pm

Introductory Book Arts


Mary Kritz
May 31
9:00 – 4:00 pm

Introductory Box Making


Mary Kritz
June 14
9:00 – 4:00 pm

Secret Belgian Bound Book


Mary Kritz

George Street

 If you are looking to have some fun and create something beautiful, come out and join us for a course in book arts. 

If you have any questions about the courses, feel free to contact me at:

A very kind thank you to Vivian Tors for making her photos available for the blog and to the students who have participated in my classes.

Happy Spring


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