Monday, December 22, 2008

Looking Back--Two Years with Bateau

These are covers I designed for letterpress for the literary magazine Bateau over the past two years. Some of these were not used, but I like to give several options for each issue. If you go to my website, and click on the Letterpress section, you can see a few of these as finished print pieces. The couple who runs Bateau are great to work with and they have a strong commitment to both quality and environmentalism in their production, using recycled FSC certified papers, soy inks and running their offices on green energy. I look forward to another year with Bateau.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Who Said Print Was Dead?

"This season there are really only two acceptable vintage gifts: wine and out-of-print books."

from the piece "Who Said Print Was Dead?" in this week's NY Times magazine

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

New Space, Same Building

This is a picture of my new studio space which is located just down the hall from my old space. This one, however, is bigger and fits all of my equipment. The owners of the building (Orange Innovation Center) are so sweet and got me two indoor plants for my new space. I'm going to try not to kill them--the plants, that is. I will update on projects I am working on soon. Until then, please note my new address: Shelter Bookworks, 131 West Main Street #3C, Orange, MA 01364.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dieter Roth

I visited the Antiquarian Book Fair in Boston over the weekend and saw some really amazing work. There were many fine bindings to marvel at, but one of my favorite booths at the fair was Derringer Books which focused mainly on late twentieth century artists and writers. Upon entering the book fair, I wanted to find some books on Donald Judd and minimalism in general. Derringer books had these in relative abundance. A Donald Judd furniture catalog he had on display was a little ho-hum and quite pricey at $1000. I was really taken by a book work by Dieter Roth which consisted of a slip case containing two stiff card like wrappers which held unbound cut paper in simple geometric patterns. As the cards shifted in your hands the patterns would magically change, creating clumsy op-art. One set of cards was purely black and white. The other set was a mix of ultra saturated red, blue, and green cut cards. Of course, it was also too pricey for me. Another interesting tidbit at this booth was Marcel Dzama's first little booklet, very simple, going for $500.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Photos From Readers

One-of-a-kind artist's book/portfolio of collage and drawings by Amy Borezo. Drop-spine box contains a series of works on paper that re-utilize imagery found in Holiday magazine from 1940-1975 to consider land and space through the lightness of travel. Cozy slippers, ektachrome color slides and mesas.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hedi Kyle workshop

I was a little sad to miss the NY Artist's Book Fair this past weekend, BUT I was lucky enough to assist with Hedi Kyle's workshop at the Garage Annex School for Book Arts instead! These are pictures from the numerous preservation enclosures we constructed in only two days. It was an amazing weekend and I'm so glad I got to be there, especially because she said she won't be doing too many more workshops in the future. Hedi Kyle has an amazing mind for creating complex structures through simple means. During the workshop, she told us that she does at least a half hour of paper folding a day to keep practiced. It pays off in her book forms which are sometimes created without a bit of glue--just pure paper engineering.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


A few weeks ago I finished binding 300 chapbooks for Bateau Press. This past Sunday evening, I attended a reading of the chapbook, Novas by Ryan Flaherty. It is always exciting to see a project completed, but I especially enjoy attending readings of books that I work on because I have come to know the written words in a very intimate way. In addition to binding Novas, I digitally typeset the poems and designed the letterpress printed cover. I have designed and printed four covers for Bateau Press and will be working on more in the upcoming year. Bateau has a great new website, too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Type

This is brand new metal type still in its package from the Bauer Type Foundry. The Bauer Type Foundry operated from 1837 to 1972 in Frankfurt, Germany. That puts the age of these unopened font sets at approximately 35 years. I've recently purchased several brand new (old) packages of foundry type for use in my Kensol stamping press. You can see the chase I use here for the Kensol and how I set the type. Using metal type (whether it is brass or foundry type) to stamp on bookcloth, paper or leather, is incredibly satisfying. That is why these neat little faded red packages all stacked together give me a slight rush. I am strange--I know this.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Artist's Book spread in Artforum

Over the past couple of years, I have noticed Artforum's willingness to publish reviews of book-related artwork. This makes me very hopeful about the position of artist's books today in the overall contemporary art scene.

In the October 2008 issue of Artforum, there is a substantial spread on the artist's book Sabotage by Charline von Heyl. The full text of the article with images is at the Artforum website. Here is the link:

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Story of My Printing Press

Winter of Artifice
Originally uploaded by Photo2217
Photo used by permission of Liz Cantu

Anais Nin wrote "The Story of My Printing Press" to describe the process of printing her own work on a foot-pedal operated platen printing press in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The resulting book, Nin's Winter of Artifice, was printed in an edition of 300 copies. "The Story of My Printing Press" is a fascinating examination of why an author might choose to print her own work and what it means when that limited edition book goes out into the world. Here's an excerpt:

"It was hard work. Patient work, to typeset prose, to lock the tray, to carry the heavy lead tray to the machine, to run the machine itself, which had to be inked by hand. Setting the copper plates (for the illustrations) on inch-thick wood supports in order to print them. Printing copper plates meant inking each plate separately, cleaning it after one printing, and starting the process over again. It took me months to typeset Under a Glass Bell and Winter of Artifice. Then there were the printed pages to be placed between blotters and later cut, put together for the binder and gathered into signatures. Then the type had to be redistributed in the boxes."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

We Do Design

I was just sent copies of the latest book I designed for Slope Editions, Bow, by the late poet Penelope Austin. I was honored to work on the project. I designed the cover and typeset the interior using LTC Cloister Pro.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bookbinding at Black Mountain College

I have been doing research on Black Mountain College for an artist's book I am working on. Black Mountain College was an experimental college near Asheville, NC that existed from 1933-1956. During its brief existence, it became a nexus for experimental art and literature on the east coast. I was interested to see that bookbinding was one of the courses offered. BMC also had its own print shop which produced both publications for the college as well as creative works by resident writers and visiting artists. The above pictures are books that were rebound at Black Mountain (photos from the book The Arts at Black Mountain College by Mary Emma Harris). Johanna Jalowetz was the bookbinding teacher. I was surprised and somewhat delighted to see the very coarse fabrics used to rebind these books--burlap and a rough cotton along with decorative paste papers to cover the boards. Here is a description of the bookbinding class from a student, Bill Treichler:

"For an evening activity I went to Mrs. Jalowetz’s bookbinding class. She taught us how to rebind badly worn books from the library by showing us how to take a sewn book completely apart, make necessary repairs, and then reassemble the book. We learned how to fix pages with tears using paste along the torn edges, not cellophane tape. We sewed sets of pages, signatures, as we assembled them in a bookbinder’s rack, then clamped them tightly together and glued a strip of mesh fabric along the spine. The board covers were replaced if they had bent corners or worn coverings. When the covers were ready, the book core was placed in the middle between the two sides and the edges of the binding fabric pasted to the cover boards. Lastly, end papers were cut and pasted on the inside of the cover to hide the binding fabric and make everything neat.

Mrs. Jalowetz also taught us to make covered portfolios and boxes for holding photographs or letters. She not only showed us how to do the work but she also always applauded our efforts."

Excerpt from the Black Mountain College Project

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Nag Hammadi

Two weeks ago I assisted with a workshop at the Garage Annex School for Book Arts. The instructor was Julia Miller and during the workshop we constructed a model of Nag Hammadi Codex IX. The Nag Hammadi codices are the earliest surviving books in codex form with their covers intact. They were found in Egypt and are a collection of Gnostic writings from the 4th century. Each of the eleven surviving codices has a similar structure, but all have subtle and beautiful unique details. We completed one model and a sample card showing some of the leather attachments found in each of the eleven. Julia Miller has visited Egypt to view the codices in person and has done extensive research on the subject. Her knowledge is phenomenal and she is a great teacher. Now I just need to get out my copy of Philip K. Dick's Valis and re-read his sci-fi take on the Nag Hammadi codices.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sample Work for Kolo

In the past week I've met with the product designer for Kolo and will be producing samples for the company to use in photo shoots, etc. I just finished a batch and am looking forward to seeing the photos that emerge. The designer who works for Kolo began as a traditional fine binder and is excellent with developing new book structures and color palettes for the company.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I did three brand books for Saucony that I just shipped out yesterday. I was sent the sheets from the printer which I then trimmed down and bound by hand. There were some interesting challenges in this project (besides the three day deadline!). One was the transparent vellum flyleaf which had an aversion to moisture. I used a heat activated adhesive to attach it to a japanese paper hinge which was then attached to the textblock. The whole textblock was perfect bound because the designers had to send individual 11 x 17" sheets rather than folded sheets, and they didn't want to lose any information in the gutter margin if it were to be sewn. The front logo is foil stamped in silver and the back tread mark is screenprinted on.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Miniature Gardens Redux

This is an artist's book that I recently rebound. The drawings inside are my own. My training previous to working as a bookbinder is as a painter and printmaker and books were a natural progression for me from printmaking. This was one of the first artist's books I created of my own work circa 2001. Recently, I became dissatisfied with the craftsmanship and decided to rebind it. The pages are all graphite on tracing paper. As you lift one page, imagery may appear or disappear, depending on the layering of the tracing paper pages. It is a simple pamphlet stitch sewn onto a cloth hinge that then gets glued into the case. The case is based on the cover construction of Gary Frost's sewn boards binding. The covers are paste paper, created by me, over boards. The pastedowns are this amazing mustard yellow japanese paper that I drummed on. Label is from the same paper. Title letterpress printed in 18pt Univers.


An incredible article from 1977 in which Richard Minsky and his assistant, Peter Seidler, detail the process of making one of the most well known non-codex book structures, Buckminster Fuller's Tetrascroll. I am drawn to the elaborate descriptions of the process from initial prototypes and material testing to the final piece, finished the day it was to be shown (!) at MOMA. It also reminds me (fondly) of the work that occurs at Daniel Kelm's studio in Easthampton, MA, where I worked for two years--new structures, new materials, contemporary books.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Shelter Bookworks is a bookbinding, letterpress and design studio located in Western Massachusetts, owned and operated by me, Amy Borezo. This blog will be a place where I gather and organize information on contemporary book practice as well as update you, the reader, on my own projects.