Dear NBG Community,
Last Saturday, I spent a delightful morning mending books with four other NBG members at the Literacy Council of Alaska. To fulfill one of NBG’s community outreach goals, this dedicated cohort meets twice a month to repair books, supporting the sale of donated books at the Literacy Council's Forget-Me-Not Book Store. As I looked around the room at the socially-distanced and masked book-menders, I was aware of the patience and skill it takes to repair worn and damaged books. I spent a few hours working on a book published 110 years ago, detaching a broken spine from the cover boards and getting the text block ready for new end sheets. As I worked, I thought about what it means to mend, what it takes to mend a book. What it takes to mend anything. As book makers, our hands both create and repair, making the book whole again.

As 2020 comes to a close, we look back on the past nine months and see how much the Covid Pandemic has altered our lives, how much we need to mend. How do we inhabit a world that is broken, continually breaking? What can we bring that might heal, might mend the rips and splits, the tears and torn edges? Like the NBG volunteers at the Literacy Council, I believe we all have the desire to heal what is broken. The authors of Mending Life: A Handbook for Repairing Clothes and Heart, Nina and Sonya Montenegro, have some encouraging words for our times:
Making something whole again is also a form of healing.
Learning to mend gives us a new lens through which to problem solve.
(Something) we thought was beyond repair is now stitched back together
by our own two hands and we discover we are more resilient than we thought.
All menders are joined together in a beautiful act of restoration.
As I close this year’s final newsletter, I feel the ever-darkening days of winter descend. I look forward to Solstice, the day our world will begin to gradually tilt toward sunlight, toward restoration. 

December: Fairbanks, Alaska
In late December we wake each 
morning to the moon, a pearl button 
at the nape of winter’s ink-black gown.

Early each afternoon, sun brushes the 
horizon, dusts the mountains with alpenglow, 
spills lavender light into Tanana Valley.

Cloaked in darkness, we crave rest, 
respite from the cold, the familiar voices 
of friends and family, their quiet company.

Solstice arrives, the sun stands still, 
hesitates, as day slowly lifts her 
dark hem, turns toward light.

One year folds into another.
We savor all the reasons we are grateful,
whisper thank you for every gift.

Warmest regards,
Susan Campbell
NBG President
Pearl Press Preview

We have a new resident in the Letterpress Studio: A restored 1910 Golding Pearl #3 foot-treadle printing press. Ashley Thayer, NBG Membership Secretary, found “Pearl” at the Blue Door Antique store where it was on display as a lawn ornament. Bruce Campbell has orchestrated its restoration and now it is ready to go to work for NBG printers. In our small town, we hope someone can tell us more about this press, whose shed it was in, what was its role in our shared history. How did it get to Fairbanks? Who brought it here and why? The date, 1910, was cast into the side of the press only 8 years after the first riverboat steamed up the Tanana and Chena Rivers to get to the City of Fairbanks in 1902. In our January Newsletter, you’ll learn more about “Pearl” and the history of printing of Fairbanks. We continue to search for the story of this lovely antique press.
November Theme: Recycle
by Ashley Thayer

The definition of recycle is to convert waste into reusable material. For this month's book, I’ve decided to recycle something that I always have around my house - magazines! After they have been thoroughly perused, some get sent to the recycling center, some passed onto friends, but there are a few that I’m not ready to part with. Binding them in this fashion doesn’t keep them 100% readable as the pages are cut and folded willy-nilly, but it did give me a chance to flip through and get some last minute inspiration. The covers are made from corrugated cardboard from a recent mail delivery adorned with a vintage button I imagine was salvaged from a well worn garment. The decorative stitching was made with leftover thread scraps from an old embroidery project. My studio is filled with the smallest scraps of paper, leather, and thread waiting to be recycled, reused, and reloved. 

December theme: Legs
UAF WinterMester Workshop
The Clamshell Casement
with Margo Klass
on Zoom

Friday, January 8, 6-9pm
Saturday and Sunday, January 9 and 10, 10-noon and 1-3pm

The clamshell box is an elegant casement that provides protection and storage for books, objects, or collections of printed materials such as photos or letters. Learn how to create this useful structure step by step, working along with the instructor on Zoom. Over the course of three sessions you will be guided through the processes of measuring, cutting, covering, and assembling the three basic parts of the casement. It will be sized to a book or object of your choice (size and shape restrictions apply). Its cover has an optional inset for a title plate.

The workshop format will include demonstrations, discussions, and work sessions.
Diagrams, drawings, and written instructions will guide each step of the process and provide a comprehensive reference for creating clamshell casements in the future.
Portable Bookmaking Presses by BirderBob
Developed in response to customers' requests and sold on Etsy, BirderBob produces two portable bookbinding presses: the Nipping Press (in three sizes, all heavy-duty) and the Finishing Press (accommodating a 13" spine). Made from cabinet-grade Baltic Birch plywood, these presses feature comfortable star knobs which tighten quickly and easily. Seeing listings for more details.
San Francisco Center for the Book

The San Francisco Center for the Book has launched an online series of half hour studio visits with SFCB Staff, Instructors, and community members. We are invited to grab a sandwich and join a studio tour every Thursday at 12:30 Pacific time. Lucky for us all the tours are archived to see them at any time. You will be delighted to visit with book artists you know: Rebecca Chamlee, Rhiannon Alpers, Juliayn Coleman, Pietro Accardi, and many more.

Letterpress Chapbook Project

Set Book Project

Program Meeting
on Zoom
Saturday, January 17, 1-3pm

Learn about and support Northwoods Book Arts Guild!