The College Book Art Association Biennial Conference took place this past weekend at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. It was, to say the least, a great deal of fun.
I have written many times, both on this blog and in books, about how important the book community (artists, writers, teachers, readers, collectors, critics, students, etc.) is to me and to what I do. Books are public things, existing in the world, irrefutably a part of the world, and it is always an honor and a pleasure to get to spend time in that world, with the rest of the book arts community. & so we can all be a part of that world together.
There were too many interesting presentations to see, but the ones that I did get to were great. Some highlights were a presentation about teaching chapbooks (in a writing class at an art school) by Casey Smith, “relational aesthetics” and the book arts (Book Bombs, ILSSA, Temporary Services) by Bridget Elmer, a talk that described the distribution models of ‘zines and proposed them as models for distributing artists’ books, by Emily Larned, and a presentation about a public, sustainability-focused book project done at Wellesley College, by Katherine Ruffin and Amanda Nelsen. & there were many more. & I will be able to draw from all of those things for years to come.
This was my first time attending one of these conferences. I knew some people there (two good friends that I was really looking forward to seeing couldn’t come at the last minute, alas!) but not many. There were around 200 attendees in total, which is small enough to see & meet just about everyone, but large enough for there always to be someone new to talk to. At other large academic conferences I have found it difficult to meet and talk to people. Not so at this one—everyone was friendly, welcoming, approachable, and interested in who you were, and what you were up to.
So join up. Get involved. Be welcomed & welcome others. We are all, always & marvelously, thankfully, in this thing together.