New Mesa Public Library exhibit celebrates the beauty of a book

-A A +A
By Kirsten Laskey

Perhaps it seems as though paper is taking a backseat to PDF’s and e- books are flourishing while conventional books collect dust on shelves, but the art of making a book is far from being lost or dead.


For instance, Mesa Public Library is hosting an exhibit by Libros New Mexico Book Arts Guild, which started Monday and will run though March 26.  A reception and workshop on how to make a handmade book will be held from 1:30-3:30 p.m. March 13 at the library.

A huge variety of handmade, artistic books are displayed. Marilyn Stablein, a member of the guild, said, “There’s a lot of variety of books all made by hand.”

These include flag books or  books that have an accordion spine and make the pages, that lie on either side of the spine, fall in different directions, diaries, travel journals and mini-books,  as well as more sculptural pieces.

Some of the books are made by individuals and some are  Libros collaborative books made in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Selected works are for sale as indicated by contacting Libros directly.

“We like to celebrate the book, the handmade book and all its representations and forms,” Stablein said.

The exhibit is not all books. “There is some new work that is hanging on the wall,” Libros member Geri Michelli said. “Some beautiful monotypes.”

She added one member, who is a print maker, will show her work and Stablein will  display her work, which is similar to shadow boxes.  

This is the second time the guild has exhibited in Los Alamos and Stablein said members are eager to return.

“Just to celebrate and honor the book and share our personal artistic visions using a range of materials … there’s so much that goes into a hand made book … and we love doing it,” she said.

Michelli said, “This is a whole new group of work ... all the pieces are new to the library and there is a real nice variety of things.”

Stablein said that showing art in the upstairs gallery is a great opportunity. “It’s a beautiful space and it is an opportunity to share the work we’ve been doing.”

Plus, the guild is eager to share their knowledge of book making with the community.

“It gives people a chance to make their own books,’ Stablein said.

Besides, “this is the day of the electronic world; regular books are taking a beating. It’s a chance to show that books are an art form.”

Additionally, books come with a history. “And it’s possible for anyone to create their books.”

Michelli added, “If the book art is something they’re interested  in, they will see a real range of work and it’s very inspiring, I think, to anyone who is interested in doing handcrafted work. It’s always inspiring to see what people can do with some pretty simple materials.”

Libros New Mexico Book Arts Guild is an educational organization formed to stimulate interest in – and encourage development of – the book arts through workshops, classes, exhibitions and lectures on the book and related arts. For more information about Libros, visit www.librosnm.org.