Last Saturday afternoon my wife and I visited the Marriott Library at the University of Utah to see a small exhibit titled, Glimpse. It’s a showcase of the coolest works of the students and instructors in Utah’s Book Arts Program. And for a print geek like me it was a genuine thrill! Proof that print is Alive!
Nestled in a small foyer at the south end of the library’s 4th floor, stand about a dozen tall glass cuboids displaying an incredible variety of communications vehicles – things created primarily from papers and ink; thread and glue. A fabulous variety of things that might be called a Book.
From the traditionally sewn signatures of a hardcase novel, to a simple sheet of paper that’s been folded 5 or twenty times to create an accordion that elegantly folds back into a small flat square, the creativity and passion of these artists is evident. Even before reading a single line of text!
These are books, to be sure… papers and leathers held together with bindings of every description. But tucked into these small display cases and their curious creations, is evidence of a dozen or more crafts the creators have used to help imagine, design and build these beautiful artifacts of thought.
I wandered mesmerized in this magical space for nearly an hour, absorbing the art… the processes, and techniques – and the imaginations! – that have turned these simple materials and ephemeral imaginings into lasting art.
And everywhere, throughout it all is PRINT!
Print is the enabler – the catalyst – that unites the materials and the crafts. Print is what brings them together, and enables their artists to make them come alive.
From my vantage point as a lifelong lover of bound, printed matter, the Book is the highest expression of Print. The most permanent, most durable product of print, with examples of the simple codex dating back thousands of years.
Books are among Print’s most universally valued creations. A good book offers a density of information, and a robustness of thought, that seems impossible to replicate.
And few things are so effective at changing hearts and minds… and lives…
So I was thrilled to learn that Utah’s Book Arts Program has grown from just two courses when it was founded in 1999 to more than a dozen today. And delighted to find that it now offers a Certificate, a Minor, and is even part of an advanced degree program. More proof that Print is alive and well in the digital world.
That success and growth warms my heart!
ps – When we got home, my wife signed up for the Paper Marbling workshop. Woohoo!