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APRIL 2020 

Dear NBG Community,
It's been a month since our last newsletter announced the cancellation of all NBG classes and events. Like you, I have been hunkered down at home learning to navigate the surreal landscape of life during a pandemic. If you are fortunate to have a robust internet connection, you may be finding all sorts of ways to connect with other book artists across the country and the globe. If you're like me and live in a place without good internet, the past few weeks have been a time of quiet work.
I miss our gatherings at the NBG studio, the Set Book and Chapbook sessions, the classes and programs, the Open Studio and letterpress sessions. I miss the inspiration and creative insight we offer each other, the companionship we share whenever we gather. I imagine you miss these things, too.
Members of the NBG Board are brainstorming some possible Zoom sessions and tutorials. As with so many things during this pandemic, there is a learning curve that we are patiently negotiating.
I recently read Pulitzer Prize winning author Jerry Saltz's "words of wisdom for cooped-up people looking to put their nervous energy to good use":
Creativity is a survival strategy. It's in every bone in every person's body; it was there with us in the caves. And isolation favors art, which is an intimate practice. Right now, people are working over long periods of time at the kitchen table with the kids drawing or wreaking havoc nearby. Art has always been made under these circumstances. In many ways, this is closer to what art was for the last 50,000 years than it has been for a long time... You don't need fancy supplies. As far as materials go: noodles, paper, cardboard, plastic, pencils... just follow whatever idiot thread you get on. I do! Art tells you something you didn't need to know until you know it.*
I believe that seeking refuge and solace in our creative work will help us get through this time of social distancing. I hope you are each finding ways to safely reach out to friends and family. Take special care of yourselves.

Warmest regards,
Susan Campbell
NBG President

*source: "Yes, You Can Channel Your Stress Into Creativity", March 26, 2020, New York Times


New Cabinet, New Cases, New Fonts!

With thanks to Bruce Campbell the Letterpress Shop has a new type cabinet, custom-made and installed under the shop's drafting table. It will hold 14 cases of type, in upper and lower sets of drawers, with a spacer to bridge the cross legs under the table.  The new cabinet accommodates the 33" cases shipped us by Michael Moore from his print shop in Kentucky. As Michael suspected, the cases are oak, and look beautifully updated with an oiled surface finish and their original vintage handles. Ready to use are a new set of Palatino, Park Avenue, and an expanded set of Cheltamham fonts. 

Thank you Bruce Campbell and Michael Moore!

#Are You Book Enough
Book Challenge
Theme for March: Hexagons

A Hexagon of Six Henrys
by Ashley Thayer

Thank you to Ashley Thayer for sharing Six Henrys, her creation for the Are You Book Enough March Challenge: Hexagons. Ashley describes this book as one of her more abstract. She writes: "My son is named Henry, and while he's not named after anyone in particular, I was curious to learn more about some of the early English rulers (Henry I-VI). I thought I was finished with the book, but may add feet to the bottom and finesse the spinning component of the outer structure. The inner book is a fixed carousel structure, and contains a brief history of each Henry. This part spins to match the corresponding portrait on the exterior."

You're invited to participate in the next book challenge! April's theme is "Machines" and May's theme is "Break". Make a book that responds to the theme and post your creation on Instagram: #areyoubookenough. Send photos of your challenge books to us, we will share them in the next newsletter.

Questions about the challenge project answered here.

Panorama Book by Pat Sheehan
Lepidopterarium by Mary Maisch

Panorama Books from March 7th Workshop

Connie Stricks' Panorama Structure workshop was a huge success! Photos of completed works keep popping up in email exchanges.We are sharing a couple here and look forward to the time when we can have a mini-exhibition of all of them.


Hiromi Papers, Inc., the source for many of the Japanese papers we use in bookmaking, has sent out instructions by Nicholas Cladis, for assembling face masks using Kozo, Kozo-mix base or 100% Mitsumata papers. Their long, flexible fibers lend themselves to repeated use - and the papers are beautiful! Read about it here here. There's a video too!  


Documentary Film:
The Booksellers

From The New York Times: "The new documentary looks at the esoteric world of the antiquarian book trade, and the passionate, eclectic and endangered characters who make it hum." See the trailer here.

Conservation Book Repair: A Training Manual

Many conservation book repair programs in Alaska, including our own NBG book repair outreach project at The Literacy Council of Alaska, owe much to this training manual by Artemis BonaDea. You can now download the manual written by BonaDea and illustrated by Alexandra Prentiss. It's published and made available by the Alaska State Library, Alaska Department of Education.

Download the Manual here.

We look forward to the time when we can resume
Program Meetings
Studio Sessions
Letterpress Chapbook Project
Set Book Project
Letterpress Wednesdays
Open Studios
All our Outreach Projects


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