Published February 23, 2016
Personalize your library as you expand your artistry to the art of the bookplate – a once common but now rare adjunct to the art of the book – in our new class Ex Libris Letterpress coming up March 11-13 with Roni Gross.
Bookplates—those beautiful printed labels that identify a book’s owner—go back to the Late Middle Ages, when books first became available for purchase. If you were lucky enough to own a few books, you wanted to be sure that anything you lent would be returned, so you commissioned bookplates from an artist. The design and production of book plates flourished to such an extent that it became a field for print collectors, reaching its height during the nineteenth century.
Today this nearly lost form is regaining popularity, as many artists create bookplates for their own libraries, and as gifts for friends. See a set of bookplates from the Center’s collection, below, which were created for the Center for Book Arts.
Our upcoming workshop, Ex Libris Letterpress, will begin with a trip to the Grolier Club to view beautiful artist examples of bookplates and help shape your ideas for your own design. Back at the Center for Book Arts, you will work in our printshop, using metal and wood type as well as our collection of ornaments to create a new example of this form. Once you have finalized your design and typography, you will go on press for your edition.
Instructor Roni Gross is the proprietor of Z’roah and Zitouna presses and is one of the Center’s Printshop Stewards. Her work is in the permanent collections of the New York Public Library, the National Design Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum.
Below: Set of five Ex Libris Bookplates from the Center’s collection, created by Russell Maret, John Ross, Mikhail Magaril, Mindell Dubansky, and Roni Gross.