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Twenty-fifth New Jersey Book Arts Symposium

What Books Do Better

November 8, 2019

Alexander Library, New Brunswick

The twenty-fifth annual New Jersey Book Arts Symposium, What Books Do Better convened on November 8, 2019. The Symposium's featured artists were diverse: Ioulia Akhmadeeva, a Russian-Mexican visual artist, teacher and researcher, with a Ph.D. from the National Pedagogical University of Moscow (2008), who since 2001 has been part of the Popular Faculty of Fine Arts of the Michoacana University San Nicolas de Hidalgo (Morela, Michoacan); Maureen Cummins, founder of the Inanna Press, a recipient of the 2009 Pollock-Krasner Award. As a book artist she has long been engaged with found printed matter; Patricia Dahlman, a Cincinnati-born artist, recipient of New Jersey Printmaking Fellowship from the Brodsky Center for Innovative Print and Paper, and part of the Dana Women Artists Series; Helen Donis-Keller, Michael E. Moody Professor and Professor of Biology and Art at Olin College of Engineering currently researching the genomic structure and function of viruses of soil bacteria, one of the driving forces behind her artists' books; Jaz Graf, an artist who works with paper and print, incorporating printmaking techniques, digital imaging and experimental bookbinding methods, as well as manipulating plant fibers, textiles and wire; Suzie Tuchman, a recent graduate of the Montclair State University MFA program, who works in sculpture, printmaking, papermaking and book arts; and Maria Veronica San Martin, a Chilean-born, New York-based artist who creates prints, artists' books, installations, sculpture, and performance art.

The lunchtime artists reading seminar, programmed by printmaker, artist and poet MaryAnn Miller (Cures for Hysteria), included Kim Bridgford, the director of Poetry by the Sea: A Global Conference, and editor of Mezzo Cammin, an Online journal of formalist poetry women, and author of ten books of poetry; and Jo Yarrington, who creates site-specific exhibitions, and collaborative projects using varied combinations of materials. They read from their three-volume work on Iceland, Venezuela, and Bhutan, The Falling Edge.

During the continental breakfast, artists Shellie Jacobson and Catherine LeCleire provided a workshop and a demo. Catherine demo-ed metal leafing, and Shellie lead a workshop in creating accordion books with integrated pockets out of a single sheet of paper.

Asha Ganpat returned as Artist-in-Residence, and organized a photographic book involving the audience in self-portraiture. Each audience member was invited to take a photograph of a part of their personal anatomy, and to write a short text to accompany it, which Asha tucked into an envelope within a long accordian binding. Amanda J. Thackray, the NJBAS curator, mounted a small exhibition of works by symposium artists; Karen Guancione, NJBAS Artistic Director, introduced the artists and served as symposium moderator, and Judith K. Brodsky acted as symposium Respondent; Anna Pinto, the NJBAS Scribe, created beautiful one-of-a-kind calligraphic nametags for all attendees. As usual, the day concluded with a book artists' jam, and a small, friendly collation What Books Do Better was co-sponsored by the Middlesex County Office of Arts and History.

Maureen Cummins, from AlieNation / SepaRation


Video of the day's events in The Rutgers University Libraries' digital repository, RU-CORE


Joseph, Michael; Yaco, Sonia; Guancione, Karen; Jacobson, Shellie; LeCliere, Catherine; Miller, MaryAnn; Pinto, Anna


San Martin, Maria Veronica; Thackray, Amanda; Tuchman, Suzie; Yarringo, Jo

Program [PDF]

Original program page in Wayback Machine