TACOMA, Wash. — What images and ideas occur to you when you hear the words “Pacific Northwest?” Puget Sound Book Artists (PSBA) came up with a few: trees, ferns, slugs, smog, eagles, clams, blackberries, tulips, sea glass, herons, mountains, fog, rain, crows, beaches, arsenic, pho, seals, tankers, whales, grunge, coffee, tattoos … and the list goes on. All this is our community: an inspiring and often mystical and magical place.
Northwest Musings is the theme for the PSBA 7th Annual Members’ Exhibition, running June 1–July 28 in Collins Memorial Library, University of Puget Sound. The exhibit will feature 47 original books by 31 artists and will be accompanied by an artists’ conversation and a panel discussion. Entrance to all events is complimentary and everyone is welcome.
This year’s show marks a departure from previous exhibitions. The artists’ books run the gamut of regional themes, from celebrating the beauty and grandeur of the Pacific Northwest, to providing commentary on social issues that affect our communities.
"A goal of the PSBA is to make the book arts more accessible, and we thought a themed show would resonate with the Tacoma and Puget Sound communities,” said Jane Carlin, PSBA board member and Collins Memorial Library director. “We want to celebrate our location and give back to Tacoma for all the support that our organization has received. We hope the community will be excited to see the area reflected in book form."
An opening reception will be held 5–7 p.m. Thursday, June 8. The PSBA Artist Conversation will take place 5:30–7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 22, in Collins Memorial Library, Room 020. The PSBA Panel Discussion will be held 5:30–7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19, in the library, Room 020.
"Themed exhibitions are always a challenge and Northwest Musings is no exception," said Mark Hoppmann, PSBA president. “What better way to test our imaginations than by celebrating the Pacific Northwest and sharing our visions in this exhibition.”
"The artists this year have challenged our thinking,” added Jan Ward, lead curator for this year’s exhibit. “From the serious and disturbing memories depicted in Lynn Skordal’s work, The Bomb, to the delight of exploring our area celebrated in Peter Newland’s Travel Musings; from Suze Woolf’s careful use of native woods to create unique books that can be "read" as stories, to Laura Russell’s Hit the Road! Highway 99 pop-up books—the diversity of skills and forms used to depict each artist’s musings make this a must-see exhibit."
Curators for the 2017 exhibition include:
Jan Ward is a book artist from Edgewood, Wash. Her unbridled exploration and use of all manner of materials, techniques, and methods often leads her work to the edge. Her current interests are in uncovering, exposing, and disentangling the chaos of life so things can be reexamined and appreciated.
Dorothy McCuistion is a printmaker and book artist living in Tacoma, Wash. Her work focuses on monotype prints, and she often combines these prints to create unique art books. She strives to make universal connections and statements that begin from a personal perspective.
Bonnie Larson, who lives in Federal Way, Wash., expresses the beauty of nature and color through handmade books, watercolor paintings, sewing projects, and calligraphy pieces.
Sally Alger is a papermaker from Tacoma, Wash. She studied art and art history at University of North Dakota and for the last few years has had a special interest in the challenge of transforming scraps of computer paper and plant material into art collages, books, and even jewelry.
Puget Sound Book Artists is a nonprofit organization comprised of professionals and amateurs from all quarters of the book, paper, and printing arts—including bookbinders, papermakers, printers, book artists, archivists, and conservators. The group aims to provide educational opportunities and to foster excellence through exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and publications dealing with various aspects of the art of the book. In 2013 PSBA was awarded the City of Tacoma AMOCAT Arts Award for Community Outreach by an Organization. The group sponsors a variety of workshops, lectures, and special events designed to be learning opportunities for beginning and experienced book artists.
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