Artists’ Books at the Murray Library

David and I had an anniversary this week. To celebrate we took an afternoon off and went to see an exhibition at the Murray Library on the University of Saskatchewan campus.

Instead of my writing out the show’s description, here’s the information panel that was posted by one of the entrances to the Link Gallery.

As is often the case with book arts exhibitions, all the works were displayed behind glass. I realise that this is to prevent theft and general wear and tear from careless handling, but it is always mildly frustrating to not be able to pick up the books and handle them. (I didn’t say turn the pages because artists’ books don’t always have them.)

The glass and the lighting made photography difficult, but I did my best.

While the exhibition does not constitute a comprehensive survey of Canadian book arts, it does provide an interesting glimpse of what is held in Special Collections at the Murray Library. It also covers the range of techniques and processes from letterpress printing with woodcut or engraved wood illustrations to unusual formats, digital printing, and altered books.

A case by one entrance holds two of the oldest books in this selection. I was particularly drawn to Kuthan’s Menagerie of Interesting Zoo Animals, published in British Columbia by Nevermore Press, 1960. I would have loved to see more of author/illustrator George Kuthan’s animal images.

Another lovely volume was Larkspur and Lad’s Love. Published by The Brandstead Press, Ontario, 1977, it is a letterpress anthology edited by Claire MacCulloch. Illustrations are by Gerard Brender à Brandis.

The flat cases in the exhibition contained supplementary materials as well as books. This book by Beth and Mac Hone of Lumsden, Saskatchewan was accompanied by an engraved wood block, a print made from it, and several supplementary sketches.

Another case contained a polymer plate and some type. The additional items helped to give some sense of process, though I would have liked to see a bit more information on the labels for the books.

Several publishers had whole cases devoted to their works. Gaspereau Press had a fine selection on show.

The book on the middle shelf, In Black and White, is wood engraver Wesley Bates’s account of his career as a freelance illustrator. The wood engravings are stunning.

Two Saskatoon publishers got a large display case each: Byopia Press (that would be me) and JackPine Press. Here are some images of the Byopia Press display.

Affluenza in the background, HOME in the foreground.

Snowy Owl.

The ME Ching.

Universe/Le Petit Prince.

JackPine Press are publishers of chapbooks with a difference. From their website:

who we are

we help people make literary and artistic book works in smaller print-runs so that we can keep it weird, handcrafted, and uniquely made out of fine or found materials.

Here are a few examples.

When Seeing Fails by Paul Wilson.

The Imaginary Lives of Buster Keaton by Onyana Yawnghwe.

Plush by Holly Luhning and Norma Jane.

The Raven and The Writing Desk by Kelly Aitken and Maureen Scott Harris.

I thoroughly enjoyed my glimpse into this part of Special Collections. The show is worth a look if you are in Saskatoon and even mildly interested in the book arts. The Link Gallery is located on the first floor of the Murray Library on the University of Saskatchewan campus.

If you go up the main staircase (pink pointy finger) the exhibition area will be immediately to your left (green pointy finger). Book Arts Canada runs to the end of March 2018.

We debated having a meal out for our anniversary this week, but in the end I just made my salmon quiche. I added 1/4 teaspoon of hot paprika to the one-crust pie dough recipe and it was a great idea! I also decorated the edge of the crust with little hearts cut from the leftover scraps.

It wouldn’t work very well for a quiche, but here’s a pie crust that would be excellent for Valentine’s Day.

It’s the work of Karen Pfeiff Boschek. You can see more of her amazing pies here.

I complained a while ago that there wasn’t enough snow for me to use my still almost completely new (as in hardly used) snow shoes. It snowed heavily on Thursday night so David and I went out on snowshoes on Friday afternoon.

The weather got colder but I went out again yesterday. It will be even colder today, but I should go out because the perfect snow conditions won’t last.

Even if it doesn’t rain on Tuesday, a temperature a degree above freezing will start making ice again!



About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004. I also create prints and drawings that are frequently text-inspired or text-based.
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6 Responses to Artists’ Books at the Murray Library

  1. Pingback: Book Arts Exhibition in Saskatoon | CBBAG Saskatchewan

  2. Jan McAusland says:

    Thank you for sharing the information of this exhibit…looking forward to seeing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lcmt says:

    I am so pleased to see the Byopia Press display in this beautiful show! Happy Anniversary!


  4. Congratulation on being included in what looks like a good show!


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