This coming April, Robert E. Kennedy Library will host its spring exhibit, “Pressing Forward: The Book Club of California at 100.” In honor of the Book Club’s centennial, the traveling exhibition will host various activities including talks from a professional bookbinder and woodcut artist.
“Our mission is to promote fine press printing related to the history and literature of California and the West,” programs manager Georgeanna Devereux said. “We’re dedicated to helping people who love fine letterpress books learn more about those books and connect with fellow book-lovers, binders, printers, collectors and sellers.”
Founded in 1912, The Book Club of California is a non-profit membership organization that publishes fine-press books. Devereux said the group wanted to create a special way to celebrate its 100-year achievment.
“To celebrate, we wanted to create a traveling exhibition, telling the story of the Book Club that would travel across the state and beyond,” Devereux said.
The exhibit will feature fine-press books and keepsakes from the Book Club of California (BCC) and selections from the library’s Fine Print and Graphic Arts Collection. In addition, the exhibit will showcase photographs of club members and their own libraries.
The exhibit will also feature winners of Kennedy Library’s Book Collection Competition. Photographs of the winning collections, student work from Cal Poly’s graphic communication department and “Flight,” an installation by art and design junior Bryn Hobson, will be included as well.
“Under the leadership of Catherine Trujillo, (Kennedy Library) photographed and interviewed several BCC members and their libraries,” Devereux said. “It is a stunning project.”
According to Trujillo, the Special Collections and University Archives library assistant, the library is a long-time supporter of the club.
“Kennedy Library has been a book club member since 1979,” Trujillo said. “We’ve been collecting their books for over 30 years.”
The opening of the spring exhibit is highlighted by two different events.
On April 5, Stitched! will feature a hands-on Japanese bookbinding workshop from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
“Stitched! is a Science Café which is an ongoing event series with an expert,” communications and public programs coordinator Karen Lauritsen said.
The event will host professional bookbinder Erin Zamrzla who will demonstrate Japanese bookbinding and lead a hands-on workshop.
“People can come to ‘Stitched!’ and learn from (Zamarzla),” Lauritsen said. “She’ll talk about her work, and she’ll give a demonstration (and) help people with their own work.”
Later that day, Kennedy Library will also host an opening reception for the celebration.
“We’re having an open reception and talk,” Trujillo said. “A celebrated woodcut artist by the name of Tom Killion will be talking and present his work.”
Killion, a Northern California-native,will discuss his series, “Landscape Prints of California,” as well as his printmaking techniques, which according to Trujillo feature Japanese-style wood block woodcuts. Students will be able to see his work as well as buy his books at the reception.
“(Killion) has been published in The Book Club of California’s publications,” Trujillo said. “We’re really excited that he’ll be here. He’ll have his progressive proofs with him and his slide presentations with his works.”
The opening reception and talk will be 5 to 7 p.m. on Robert E. Kennedy Library’s second floor cafe area.
The exhibit will be open from April 5 through June 8 on the library’s second floor Learning Commons. It is free and open to the public.