From Conference Blogger Michelle Wilson -- Bay Area Attractions: The San Francisco Center for the Book

18 May 2011 4:27 PM | Anonymous

“From this place words may fly abroad/Not to perish on waves of sound/But fixed in
time/Not corrupted by the hurrying hand/But verified in proof/Friend, you stand on
sacred ground/This is a printing office.”

This selection of words hangs on a broadside from the University of California,
Berkeley, in the San Francisco Center for the Book. Celebrating their fifteenth
anniversary this year, SFCB is more than an institution; it is a phenomenon for book
art in the Bay Area.

Founded by Mary Austin and Kathleen Burch, a mundane description of SFCB is a
place that offers workshops, exhibitions, public events, and residencies in book art.
And yet, SFCB offers much more than this, it is more accurate to say that it fosters
a community of book artists, pushed the boundaries of the medium, and builds
bridges with other communities, both in the Bay Area and beyond.

This is most evident in their artist residency programs. Every year, SFCB invites an
artist from outside of the book art world to create an artist book in their facility.
These artists, unfamiliar with the history and tradition of books and letterpress,
have introduced new ideas, structures, and concepts to the medium. This year’s
artist is Kota Ezawa.

Their other residency program is their Small Plates Editions. SFCB does 3-4 books in
this series a year, all around a central theme. When closed, each book measures 4 by
4 inches. Not limited only to professional artists, this program selects one student in
the Bay Area to participate in this program.

Currently on view in their gallery is “Blanket Impressions, Brad Freedman, Clifton
Meador, and the Offset Artist’s Printed Book,” curated by Steve Woodall. In a change
from previous exhibitions, this is the first at SFCB in which the public is invited and
encouraged to handle the books. Taking advantage of the length and narrowness of
the gallery space, the exhibition design evokes the feeling of the color separations of
the offset process.

As planning for the 2012 College Book Art Association’s Conference continues, keep
your eyes peeled for the conference tours. A visit to the San Francisco Center for the
Book is ensured to be included, and not to be missed.

For more information on the San Francisco Center for the Book, please visit:
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