As a co-leader of a Girl Scout Troop, I was excited to see the Book Artist Badge in the book of options for the girls at the Cadette level.
A few years ago as a S.W.A.P.S. (Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere) project, I helped my daughter make miniature books and attached them to safety pins for trading at the World Thinking Day. The books were so popular that the girls didn’t really want to trade them all away! Given this interest, my co-leader and I decided to present the girls with the chance to complete the Book Artist Badge.
At the San Francisco Center for the Book, Bettina Pauly, local Book Artist, meet with the girls in the book binding studio for a history lesson combined with an introduction to the creation of the book. Bettina showed the girls the machine in the letterpress studio as well as the bindery. The girls were able to help her pull the Guillotine to cut a text block, as well as look at different pieces of type in the typeset drawers. Bettina also led the girls in folding and sewing a simple book. It was the first time any of the girls, including my daughter, had visited the Center for the Book. It was delightful to see them broaden their knowledge around all of the areas of skill and craftswomanship that go into the creation of books.
When my studio dreams are complete, I hope to be able to provide similar opportunities for youth to learn about different aspects of printing and book binding. Not only is the history of the press and the book important for them to know, but the introduction to the skills involved as different art forms is also valuable exposure.