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Motivation, cont'd



Last January, we had a fascinating thread on which work of art had the most
influence on, or had most motivated list members to become involved in some
aspect of the book arts. I didn't participate in the discussion because,
not being graphics oriented, my inspiration had been a person, not a work
of art.

Then, that song from the musical, "Hair", kept going around in my head:
"What a piece of work is man..." and I realized Shakespeare had said it in
Hamlet: man is a work of art!

About a dozen years ago, after having been away from the craft for many
years, seeing the need for good techniques in the repair department of the
volunteer library in my new community, I volunteered. I had just joined The
Hand Bookbinders of California and received the membership list, when I
bought a copy of GIFTS OF AGE: portraits and essays of 32 remarkable women,
by Charlotte Painter. On page 80, I found my inspiration: Stella Nicole
Patri, bookbinder, born on Nov. 1, 1896, no date of death. And there she
was, in the HBC membership book, a founding member of the organization.

Stella Patri first became interested in bookbinding when her former
husband, Giocomo Patri, a well-known artist, was working on a book on
linoleum cuts, illustrations for a story. In order to bind the book, she
took lessons from Ocatavia Holden, then later, in 1938, whe worked with
another well-known woman, bookmaker Peter (Edna) Fahay.

She was sixty-three when she started her own bookbinding business. She went
to Rome in 1960, where she studied paper restoration for the Italian
government, then to Framce for lessons in finishing, and to England to
study book restoration. In 1966, at the time of the great flood in
Florence, she was among the first volunteers for CRIA, the Committee to
Rescue Italian Art in the Bibliotequa Nacionale. She traveled to Japan
several times, studying papermaking, conservation and binding. Her work in
San Francisco included restoring books for UCSF Medical Center Library and
private commissions.

She continued her private practice in San Francisco until, in her
mid-eighties, arthritis in her hands slowed her down.

My inspiration will be 103 on Nov. 1. Her eyes are dim but her mind is
still sharp. Long may she live!

Who inspired you?

Betty
Betty Storz   storz@mcn.org


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