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The most recent Guild of Book Workers members traveling exhibition "In Flight" is coming to the Southeast. "In Flight" is a fascinating exhibition of artist's books and fine bindings, with calligraphy, letterpress printing and excellent craftsmanship in abundance.  The exhibition is going to be on display at...

Schatten Gallery

Robert W. Woodruff Library



Emory University

Atlanta, Georgia 30322

May 15 to July 7, 2004


In Flight : The Guild of Book Workers¹ 2003-05 Triennial Exhibition.

Many events, nationwide, have celebrated the December 17, 2003, centennial of the Wright Brothers¹ first flight, but none as unusual as the Guild of Book Workers¹ 2003-05 Triennial exhibition featuring the theme: In Flight. Fifty-four book works, created by Guild members specifically for this juried show, will be on view from January 16 through March 5, 2004, at the Book Arts Program at the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, in Salt Lake City.

The achievement of the Wright Brothers was a culmination of a long line of trials and errors, not only by themselves, but also by their predecessors¹ attempts at finding a means to fly. The quest to discover the secret of flight, both in myth and science, has captivated man¹s imagination from the ancient Greek legend of Icarus, the boy who flew too close to the sun with waxed wings, to Leonardo Da Vinci¹s late 15th century diagrams of an archaic flying machine. The Wright Brothers¹ invention of a powered, ³heavier than air² biplane at the onset of the 20th century paved the way for unbelievable feats in aviation in the decades to follow.

In Flight, as an exhibit theme, has offered a broad topic for interpretation, not limited to aeronautics, for GBW members to create an exciting exhibition through their craft of book related arts, including leather binding, box work, fine printing, calligraphy, broadsides, and, most popular in this exhibition, the creation of artists¹ books. Three jurors selected the works for this exhibition: Madelyn Garrett, curator of rare books at the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah ; Craig Jensen, proprietor of BookLab II, San Marcos, Texas; and Daniel Tucker, founder of the Ah Haa School of the Arts and The American Academy of Bookbinding, both in Telluride, Colorado.

Some of the book works appearing in the In Flight exhibition have been made with original texts inspired by historic writings and speculations on man in flight, as tributes and recollections of W.W.II pilots in the Pacific, or the pilots who flew the Air Mail. Women aviators and other pioneers of flight are remembered. The myth of Icarus is a reoccurring subject; while the legendary bird, the Phoenix, and the romance of ballooning are represented in the exhibition. A century of flight is recognized, from the Wright Brothers¹ first lift off in 1903, spanning the first lunar landing, to the tragic end of the Columbia Space Shuttle in 2003; as well as a solemn memorial to the horrors of 9/11/01, when commercial airliners were used as weapons of mass destruction.

But, the GBW In Flight exhibition is not limited to aeronautics or aviation history. The beauty of flight in nature, of birds and insects, can be seen; the whimsical illustration of flights of fancy and fantasy; or by contrast, the definition of flight as fleeing from danger, or escape. All of these texts are presented in diverse mediums, from hand lettering, printing with hand-set lead and wood type, to the adaptation of modern inkjet and laser printed text and imagery as a contemporary art medium. They are bound in tradition leather or cloth covers, or in alternative artist book structures incorporating handmade papers or other unusual materials. When viewing the GBW In Flight exhibition, questions may arise: ³Are these really books, or what defines a book?²

It is appropriate that the Guild of Book Workers has chosen to celebrate the centennial of the first flight as an exhibit theme, as the organization approaches its own 100th anniversary in 2006. Founded in New York in 1906, by a group of forty book workers whose goal was to keep their crafts alive through exhibitions like this. It is one of the oldest book craft societies in continuous operation in the country. Today, there are nearly 900 members nationwide (both professional and amateurs) and ten regional chapters. A full color catalog has been published to document this exhibition ($25. plus $3.85 shipping). For information about the Guild of Book Workers, visit their web page at <http//>

or contact Priscilla Spitler, GBW Exhibitions, at