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ISU Rendezvous Journal uses artistic approach to chronicle book art

Posted March 26, 2007

The current double issue of the Rendezvous Journal of Arts & Letters, an independent journal produced by the Idaho State University Department of English and Philosophy, uses an artistic approach in chronicling Paper and Book Intensive (PBI). PBI is a series of artist's book and handmade-paper workshops that have been held annually in various locations throughout the United States and in Japan since 1982.

The boxed, two-volume set titled “Rendezvous, PBI – A Retrospective” becomes, in part, the book-art medium to deliver its message. The journal’s co-editors this issue are Dr. Roger Schmidt, ISU professor of English and philosophy, and Paula Jull, co-chair of the ISU Department of Mass Communication and herself a book artist who teaches the class “Art of the Book” at ISU.

The journal includes articles written by various prominent book and paper artists who have participated in PBI. The journal also incorporates elements of book art. It contains samples of handmade paper that were pasted by hand into the journal by the eight-member journal editorial board. It has pigment samples, illustrations and historical photos from workshops. The two navy blue and white striped volumes come packaged to readers in blue handmade slip-case boxes, which feature hand-printed, letter-press labels attached to their fronts.

“Elements of the craft of book making and papermaking have gone into each volume to make each one of them esthetically pleasing and unique,” Jull said. “The journal is not only a historical record and reference to the work done by artists at the PBI, but the volumes themselves try to embody the values of the PBI.”

According to Timothy Barrett, research scientist of the University of Iowa Center for the Book Paper research, Production and Curriculum, PBI has “become the premier annual convocation peers in the various book and paper arts.” Other aspects of the PBI include the conservation of rare books and works of art on paper, papermaking, book binding, artists’ books, and the history and future of the book, Barrett said, in a letter to ISU College of Arts and Sciences Dean Dr. John Kijinksi, in which Barrett commended the efforts of Jull and Schmidt.

Barrett and other artists and PBI participants have been highly complimentary of the new issue of Rendezvous, according to Jull.

“We’ve had a lot of positive response both nationally and locally,” she said.

Copies of this issue of Rendezvous are still available for $25. To purchase a copy, contact Schmidt at (208) 282-2374 or Jull at (208) 282-4260.