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[BKARTS] Archival vs. Art

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of
> norman shapiro

> I'll SAY IT AGAIN:  If Ihad my druthers, I'd rather be make art that is
> art than archival. Archival is an 'emperor without clothes' . Too much
> space her is taken up with crafting and buying the right book supplies,
> and it outweighs all other discourse as to what books express ....
> exemplify as a genre of ART!

Coming to this list as a bookseller who aspires to create art and artists
books, and as one who employs the services of book and paper conservators
for my merchandise/collections, I submit that there are several interests
served on this list which, while not exclusive of each other, have different

Conservators are interested in the best archival methods for restoring and
preserving precious or fragile documents. I was surprised when I first
started using conservator services that many of these people do not see
books/ephemera in terms of "value" as I do. Nor are they oriented to
content, as I am. They are interested in restoring an item to as near its
original condition as possible, or in such a way as to make it last as long
as possible. I depend utterly on their expertise but I find that I have to
explain carefully regarding content and I often startle them when I mention
"value." For many of them, the context of the piece is of less interest than
the physical structure and needs.

Bookbinders are mostly interested in structure and structural integrity.

Book artists put more emphasis on content, along with structure that
reflects the content.

Anyone who creates something is interested in having it last - if only so
that an item sold to someone doesn't disintegrate or degrade within a few
years, reducing its value.

As a bookseller, I very much appreciate attention to details such as
adhesives, paper quality and lightfastness, inks ditto, etc. I have handled
many fine books where the adhesive has stained through the endpapers, where
cover paper has faded or crumbled, where text pages have turned color or
where image and text ink has faded or lost its vibrancy. I'm not talking
about antiquarian items, either. Many of the products of fine presses from
the past 30 years are self-destructing, at least in terms of lightfastness,
adhesive failures and staining, and paper degradation.

As a (VERY amateur) artist I participate in trading groups and altered book
groups. I want the things I make for other people to be the best I can do,
both artistically and in terms of archival integrity. As a wannabe book
artist, I'm absorbing much information from this list about materials and
methods. As a bookseller who sometimes requires restoration work, I applaud
the meticulous attention to detail of our conservators. The REASON I employ
conservators is because they not only have the know-how, they have the
patience to attend to fine details. I don't.

Approaching this list with a broad perspective lets a lot of light filter
in! Let's not restrict its creativity with narrow-focus parameters.

Regards, Lee

Lee Kirk
Cats are composed of Matter, Anti-Matter, and It Doesn't Matter

The Prints & The Paper
PO Box 5432
Eugene OR 97405
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