The Fine Art of Bookmaking

Non-profit Booklyn (note the absent “r”) is a project of the Brooklyn Artists Alliance intended to promote books made by artists—both as an art form and as an educational resource. “Booklyn’s mission is to encourage the proliferation and appreciation of people-made books as an antidote to industry-produced counterparts,” the group’s website reads. But it’s not as simple as “people-made” vs. “machine-made,” Marshall Weber, an artist and directing curator of the Brooklyn Artists Alliance, explains. “In the 21st century, there is so much hybrid practice that the primarily 20th-century dichotomies of machine-made and handmade, analog and digital, pop art and high art, are not so useful for describing what artists are creating,” he tells us. “If I want to print 100,000 books or prints, and I am focusing on a written text and reproduced imagery, I am going to use a machine. If I want to make a book that smells like cinnamon and looks and feels and sounds like it was made 1,000 years ago, and is in itself an artwork as opposed to being a reproduction of an artwork, I will have to do it by hand… I read a lot of machine-made books and I read a lot of artists’ books; they have different functions, but I love them all.

Photo Kirstin Roby

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