Shereen LaPlantz (1947–2003) was a California-based artist and educator widely recognized for her seminal publications, Cover to Cover: Creative Techniques for Making Beautiful Books, Journals, & Albums, and The Art & Craft of Handmade Books. Throughout her extensive career she taught hundreds of workshops associated with the art of the book. An exhibition of the artist’s personal collection of handmade books and teaching materials will be on display at Collins Memorial Library on the campus of University of Puget Sound Jan. 21–March 12, 2010. The collection belongs to Rochelle Monner, a Tacoma educator and artist, and a personal friend of LaPlantz.
LaPlantz’s recognition that book structures could be a combination of two- and three-dimensional formats, and that they could tell their own story, while providing information, inspired her to research and write Cover to Cover. Published in 1995, it provides an overview of book structure and design, with chapters on binding, stitching, and presentation. More than 170 book artists contributed images to the book, which remains a standard work in book design. The exhibition at Puget Sound will showcase many of the artist’s book-making models which she used to demonstrate folding, format, and binding techniques, as well as examples from her personal book collection.
LaPlantz initially studied textiles at California State University. After graduating in 1968, she continued to explore fabric design and weaving at the well-known Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. In 1970 she married artist David LaPlantz, a jeweler and metalsmith.
LaPlantz’s early work focused on weaving and basketry as an art form. In the late 1980s, she took a new direction, creating a series of baskets with small books integrated into the physical context of the work. This project marked her transition to the book arts.
Throughout her life LaPlantz shared her passion with numerous students, many of whom are now considered some of the country’s leading book artists. In The Art & Craft of Handmade Books she wrote:
“Book arts is now a vibrant medium where creativity can be expressed through techniques, materials, formats, and content. It’s an exciting time to be making books. Artists are experimenting, pushing boundaries, exploring historical ideas, and applying familiar techniques in new ways.”
On the exhibit’s opening night of Thursday, Jan. 21, from 4:30–6 p.m., members of the Tacoma Book Arts Group, an informal community of book artists and designers, will be on hand to demonstrate many of the techniques covered in LaPlantz’s books. The public exhibit hours are:
Monday through Friday: 8:00 am to 9:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Press-quality photos of works from the exhibit are available on request or can be downloaded from www.pugetsound.edu/about/offices--services/office-of-communications/newsroom/photos/
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