Special Collections: A Wealth of Resource Material

By Martha Carothers.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand. This familiar proverb sequences the teaching and learning engaged in the making of books in a university context. Students learn to design, print, illustrate, bind, and make books less so by what they are told and more so by what they see and how they integrate what they see into the creation of their books. Visual resources available to students stimulate ideation as students examine the binding, caress the paper, and turn the pages of the bookworks produced by other printers and book artists. The tradition of these book models prompts students to reinterpret and integrate old technologies and aesthetics with new techniques and visual stimuli. Getting these printed and bound examples into students’ hands entails tapping into the stacks of Special Collections. This presentation reveals the ingenuity of students in the creation and production of bookworks directly influenced by selected research materials in the holdings of the University of Delaware Special Collections. Comparative examples display how student involvement with Special Collections results in a greater understanding of various aspects of the book including concept, text, printing, structure, and binding.

Keywords: Special Collections, Artist’s Books, Text, Image, Binding Structure

International Journal of the Book, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.75-100. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.598MB).

Prof. Martha Carothers

Professor, Department of Art, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA

Martha Carothers is Professor of Art at the University of Delaware where she teaches foundation design, visual communications, and book arts. Carothers’ book arts often highlight text about books, reading, and typography. She produces books with letterpress and hand binding under The Post Press. Her creative work has been exhibited internationally and is included in national and private collections. Carothers’ graduate graphic design research at Penn State University focused on pop-up and moveable books. She continues to research conceptual design and illustration in children’s books. For the past nine years Carothers has directed study abroad programs through the University of Delaware.


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