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Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild

Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild -  Business & Services
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In 1982 Jill Willmott, a bookbinder and restorer from Kingston, Ontario, perceived the need for a single cross-Canada listing of craftspeople working in the hand book arts and as a private venture undertook the task of collecting names and addresses of Canadian hand bookworkers, including papermakers, paper decorators, bookbinders, book restorers, and paper conservators, both amateur and professional. She mailed a questionnaire to the 242 names she had collected and received an enthusiastic response.

Shelagh Smith, bookbinder and paper decorator from Woodbridge, Ontario, had been organizing seminars and workshops in the book arts as a private undertaking. She took up the challenge started by Jill Willmott and, with the help of other bookworkers, organized a founding meeting in February 1983, where she and Betty Elliott were asked to write a draft constitution for a Canadian book arts organization. In May 1983 a public meeting was held and the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild was formed.

The aims of CBBAG were set in response to the need expressed by those who responded to the questionnaire:

•    to provide contact among workers in the hand book arts in order to foster a spirit of co-operation and kinship;

•    to provide access to education in the book arts;

•    to promote greater awareness of the book arts by the general public;

•    and to advocate and promote high standards of excellence in the book arts through exhibitions, workshops, lectures and programme meetings, and publications.

Led by a fifteen member board of directors, CBBAG is a volunteer-run organization with over 500 members. Originally the mailing address of CBBAG was care of the Secretary and correspondence to members was hand addressed. In 1988 CBBAGCBBAG moved to a 675 sq.ft. studio – divided into office, library and meeting area, and bindery for workshops and open studio – in the Queen Street West area of Toronto. Six years later, in the spring of 2003, CBBAG moved to a 762 sq. ft. studio in Toronto Artscape’s Liberty Village building. CBBAG has a small library collection which is available to the public by appointment. The Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild is a non-profit, charitable organization.

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