2013 Edible Book and Tea

The second edition of the Book Beautiful Edible Book and Tea was once again enjoyed in the Atrium of the beautiful Drinko Library. Students from the Book Beautiful 2  Marshall University Honors course delighted judges and guests with clever, and bookish, culinary delights. The judges declared each and everyone a winner, but sadly the awards were limited to:



Best in Show
Tor-Till-A Mockingbird by Emily Walton and Max Layne






Most Drop-dead Gorgeous
Book of Kells by Frances Lazell






Most Delectably Appetizing
The Cat in the Hat by Sandra Farley and Brandon Posey






Most Pun-derful
Brittle Women by Katherine Endicott





Lord of the Rings by Suzann Al-Qawasmi and Erin Hensley





Gray’s Anatomy by Jenna Barbour and Rachael Hager





Harry Potter by Katherine Adkins





The Hunger Games by Tiffany Parker





Noah’s Ark by Kaitlyn Wood





The Three Feathers by Kyle Wilson and Laura Campbell





Judges (left to right) Professor Mary Grassell, School of Art and Design Program Director; Professor Lyle Brown, Special Collections Curator; Dr. Susan Gilpin, Honors College Associate Dean; Dr. Nicki LoCascio, Honors College Interim Dean.





Event Committee: Kyle Wilson, Jenna Barbour and Frances Lazell provided a splendid CMYK theme. Invitation Design: Jenna Barbour Continue reading


Building a collection of books, artifacts and ephemeral can not only be a scholarly endeavor but a personal love that lasts a lifetime. Often these collections find homes in academic and public libraries as gifts from the collectors. They are valuable archives that will not diminish in value as the world digitizes. In fact, their value increases as digitized collections can be used without the expense of traveling to where the collections are housed. But it cannot be ignored that viewing a beautiful binding with one’s own eyes, or feeling the pages of handmade paper cannot be replaced by images. The art of collecting books, and all things related to those books, is a needed one. To support this effort several organizations have joined (list of links below) to sponsor the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest recognizes college and university students for their work in book collecting in and effort to “encourage young collectors to become accomplished bibliophiles”. Several Universities and colleges support their own competitions with the winners then representing those institutions in the national event. But of course, why could we not have a collection of digital books as well? Will libraries move from walls and shelves, to digital tablets and apps?

The National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest rules state: “A collection should reflect a clearly defined unifying theme or interest. It may incorporate ephemera, maps, prints, autograph material as well as books, either hard cover or paperback, as long as they are germane to the collection’s focus. How well a collection reflects the collector’s intent is more significant than either the number of items or the monetary value of the collection.” (rules)

The deadline for this year’s contest is May 31, 2013. An essay on the motivation behind, and the criteria for the collection is required, as well as a bibliography of at least ten titles that represents the collection.

The National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest

AbeBooks’ Reading Copy Book Blog

Fine Books & Collecting Magazine

The Library of Congress Center for the Book

The Antiquarian Booksellers

Kislak Foundation

Rosanna Alexander Blake’s personal collection
of confederate history at Marshall University

Dr. Charles A. Hoffman’s collection
of Medical Sciences at Marshall University

Beautiful Artist’s Books

Claire Van Vliet | Circulus Sapientiae

he term book arts, refers to the arts and crafts in the making of a book.  Binding, papermaking and printing are all part of the book arts. Book artists, in the sense that this blog will address today, are artists who employ all these crafts, and contemporary technologies into creating unique, often extremely limited editions of highly artistic books. Book artist are not unlike fine artist in that their work can be of a unique personal style and very collectable. There is a magic to well designed and executed artist books. It takes the idea of the author and transforms it into a sensory story using words, illustration, interaction and often, sculptural effects. My reason for introducing the book artist at this point in time is to expose you to the magic of artist books. You will need to find this magic for your edible books –  that idea that you translate with food stuffs that moves your reader. Enjoy the the beautiful books below by contemporary book artists. To learn more about the book and the artist, click on the image. Can you identify the magic?

Pat Smith | Hidden Ancestors
Lark Burkhart | The Good Book Kit
Bonnie Thompson Norman | The Windowpane Press
Chela Metzger | Bird Book
Margery S. Hellmann | The Holburne Press
Gloria Helfgott | Arachne: Vida Lobo
Margery Hellman | Ulysses
Charlene Matthews | Virus: A Love Poem
Jody Alexander | Due Date: It’s No A Popularity Contest
Alicia Bailey | December 1: The Hunt
Su-Ju Wang | Esther
Todd Pattison | Little Library
Claire Van Vliet | Tumbling Blocks
Karen Hammer | Even Before You Left the Farm
Emily Martin | Naughty Dog Press

Patience from Glowing Heads on Vimeo.

The Icebook (HD) from Davy and Kristin McGuire on Vimeo.

Hitch from Pascal Monaco on Vimeo.

More Images of the Hitch Cookbook

Books of Ice, by Basia Irland from Orion Magazine on Vimeo.

International Edible Book Festival: the Marshall Edition

It is almost here! The Book Beautiful’s second observance of the International Edible Book Festival on 2 April 2013. All of you will be creating edible books. You may team up, no more than two per team, or create your own book. We will begin with a brainstorming session next week, so if your going to team up, make those calls before the next class. It will take some grocery money to buy your supplies, and as a team you can split the cost. Individual books are most welcome! The book making will culminate with awards, tea and book eating! Worthless prizes will be offered for Best in Show, Most Drop-dead Gorgeous, Most Delectably Appetizing and Most Pun-derful. Rules dictate that the edible book must be bookish in nature and that the professor suffers not from food poisoning. Details will be given on the assignment during class.  We will need folks to make invitations and plan the tea with all the hostess-with-the-mostest skills.

Visit the links below to help you get an understanding of edible books.

International Edible Book Festival

International Edible Book Festival Facebook Page

2012 Book Beautiful Edible Book and Tea

Edible Book Ideas (not edible books but design ideas that could be used for edible books)

Kalamazoo Book Arts Center

Seattle Edible Book Festival

Hosting an Edible Book Festival

“I MUST BEFORE I DIE, create the type for today of ‘The Book Beautiful’ and actualize it –paper, ink, writing, printing, ornament and binding. I will learn to write, to print and to decorate.” T. J. Cobden-Sanderson

The private press flourishes under the late 19th century Arts and Crafts movement influenced by William Morris (1834-1896) and Sir Emery Walker (1851-1933). The book beautiful is named in honor of the statement above made by Walker’s partner T. J. Cobden Sanderson. The two men operated the famous Doves Press and bindery in Hammersmith, London from 1900 until a dispute dissolved the press in 1909. Contemporary private presses produce books of high quality, taking into consideration the elements of the book beautiful as Cobden Sanderson (1840-1922) defines it.

Traditionally private presses use historic and elegant forms of typesetting and printing. Handset foundry type, Linotype and Monotype casting, and letterpress printing on historic iron and platen presses were performed by master craftspeople. Today, digital type used by means of polymer plates; and the Vandercook proof press is popular as well as the historic methods. The quality of the materials use, as in the paper and binding, are of special stature. Paper can be hand-made with a unique watermark for that particular edition, and that edition alone. Private press books are normally produced as limited editions and quite collectible. Libraries and private collectors are the primary buyers for these handsome books.

A description of the materials and methods used to create a private press book can be found on the book’s colophon page. The colophon will often list the paper and type used, printer, and number of copies produced for that edition as well as indicate the number of that particular copy. The colophon will also list additional large paper or other unique editions.

Another special element often found in private press books is the printer’s device. The use of a printer’s device can be traced back to incunabula as visual signature of the printer’s work and generally appear on the title page. In today’s commercial books, publisher’s logos claim this space. A short list of historic and contemporary private presses can be found listed below next to their printer’s mark.

Kelmscott Press

Doves Press

Golden Cockerel Press

Gregynog Press

Village Press

Grabhorn Press

Peter Pauper Press

Spiral Press (Joseph Blumenthal)

Kat Ran Press

The Printery

King Library Press

Book Terms

A book may start out as one of many in an edition, but they live individual lives. An edition will share some special characteristics, paper, type, design and content, but individual owners may add notes on the pages, order a new binding, or paste in their bookplate, creating a unique history for that book. Collectors look for these individual characteristics that can add value to a book. An edition may have an added special edition, that is, a small number of books produced with special paper, in a larger size, or include a portfolio of special illustrations. When looking at library entries, or investigating to purchase the book beautiful, the collector learns the language behind book descriptions. Featured at this link is a interactive image on deciphering book descriptions.

Case binding, or as it is commonly called, hard cover, is the most common type of binding found in both fine, and commercial books. Commercial paperback books use perfect binding, where individual sheets are held together with glue and a paper spine. Binding a case bound book first requires the gathering and sewing of signatures with either binding tape or cord. The signatures are then placed into the case. The case is constructed of binding board that is wrapped in leather, cloth, paper or a combination of one or more of these materials.  There are different methods for decorating the book; gold tooling, stamping, inlay, beading, fore-edge painting and other extremely creative methods employed by bookbinders.

Binding is an art, and the work of master binders belongs in art museums. I believe the best way to learn about and appreciate fine binding is well… to view it. Follow this link for a virtual tour of binding. The first two rooms (middle/top) in the museum explain the basics of bookbinding. Please visit them first, for they will help in understanding the specialty rooms to follow. Do you recognize the floor plan? Enjoy!