Millennium in a Box

Community Exhibition Available to Libraries, Schools, and Galleries

The Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild has available Millennium in a Box, a travelling community exhibition, curated by Shelagh Smith and Susan V. Corrigan and featuring the work of thirty-five artists from across Canada (participants and collections which own the portfolio are listed below). Produced for the then upcoming new millennium, each artist produced a conceptual interpretation of where the new millennium might lead, whether technically, societally, in terms of personal development, where the book arts may go, or in any other way that challenges them. Each work was produced in an edition of 50 and in limited-size format. 

The participating artists are recognized in their fields and represent most areas of the book arts: paper making, calligraphy, paper decorating, design binding, fine printing, and artists books. The works include Oriental books, miniature books, origami books, tunnel books, concertina books; paper decorating techniques such as marbling, paste paper, indigo dyeing (shibori); calligraphy; fine printing of broadsides and pamphlets; and many other forms. 

The range of work is truly remarkable, with traditional techniques and contemporary technology intermingling and reinforcing each other, as in Holly Dean and Larry Thompson's use of leather, metal and paper, calligraphy, and digital woodcuts. William Rueter, Alan Stein (above), and George Walker have used letterpress printing to great effect, while other such as Lise Melhorn-Boe, and Derek Cowan & Priscilla Tetley (right)have used new printing technologies. 

The artists' books are particularly interesting. Martha Cole's wonderful "The Story of the Earth" (left) a 92 inch hand coloured linen canvas scroll time-line is hand calligraphed using an original script designed by the artist. 

In "You Are an Open Book" (right) Ian Clarke uses cuneiform, hieroglyphics, binary, and genetic code to reflect on the changing nature of the book from clay tablets to supercomputers. His ceramic cover is embossed with the opening lines of an ancient Babylonian creation story. Mira Coviensky's interpretation of a tunnel book substitutes movement through space for the passage of time in "Time Passes". Robin Muller's tunnel book traces the development of textiles over the last thousand years. Don Taylor's adaptation of the 19th century travel journal, with hilariously inappropriate travel tips, is illustrated by visually allusive snippets of his decorated papers. 

Many artists have used the beauty and power of Japanese paper as an essential design component as in Sigrid Blohm's gorgeous Shibori book (left), in which she has used the traditional Japanese indigo dyeing technique, letterpress printing, and oriental binding. 

Watermarks have been explored in very different ways by Wendy Cain and Brian Queen. Wendy Cain applied acrylic paint directly to the mould and produced brilliantly pigmented colour
ed papers with playful, light hearted watermarks. Brian Queen (right) used a complex process to debosscopper screen and produce perfect white paper with an incredible shaded watermark. Hand papermaking is extensively and effectively used by Marion Cox, Kathy Hamre, Ann Vicente, and many others. The papers range from Ted Snider's cotton and flax paper with flower inclusions, to Dan Mezza's bullrush and leaf paper with woodblock print, and Dorothy Field's kozo, abaca, and bullrush paper with additional colouring using graphite and Crisco. 

Kristina Komendant, Lindley McDougall, Lorraine Douglas (left) and several others have beautifully explored hand written letterforms and calligraphy. 

The collection in its entirety is delightful and exhilarating. These book arts time capsules will inspire countless future generations. The project was designed to motivate, stimulate, and inspire the artists; to be eye-opening and involving for its audience, whether young students or the general public; to provoke interest in the book arts; and to delight those who view or handle the works themselves. 

Several boxes are available to circulate to libraries, schools, and galleries for display. The work may be handled by students and the public in supervised situations and should be displayed in cases in all other circumstances. It is envisaged that schools will use the collection to stimulate artistic creation by students, and to provoke thought and discussion about the future, or about comparisons between the future and the past. The collection will be particularly appropriate for exhibition by libraries and galleries with limited exhibition potential. 

Exhibitors are responsible for shipping costs to and from Toronto and insurance in transit and on site. There is no exhibition fee. 

For more information contact CBBAG at

Participants: Millennium in a Box 

Tara Bryan, Flat Rock 
Linda Brine, Fredericton 

Susan Mills, Inverness
Robin E. Muller, Bedford 

Jocelyne Aird-Bélanger, Val-David
Hélène Francoeur, Quebec 

Reg Beatty, Toronto
Sigrid Blohm, Toronto
Wendy Cain, Newburgh
Ian D. Clark, Toronto
Mira Coviensky, Toronto
Rebecca Cowan, Toronto
Marion Cox, Markdale
Holly Dean, Merrickville
Lise Melhorn-Boe, North Bay
Dan Mezza, London
William Rueter, Toronto
Shelagh Smith, Woodbridge
Ted Snider, Seeleys Bay
Alan Stein, Parry Sound
Don Taylor, Toronto
George Walker, Toronto
Mercedes Cirfi Walton, Toronto

Janet Carroll, Winnipeg
Lorraine Douglas, Winnipeg

Martha Cole, Lumsden
Kathryn Hamre, Regina
Kristina Komendant, Blaine Lake

Lindley McDougall, Calgary
Carolyn C. Qualle, Calgary
Brian Queen, Calgary 

Pamela Barlow Brooks, Pender Island
Dorothy Field, Cobble Hill
Derek Cowan & Priscilla Tetley, Cumberland
Ann Vicente, Vancouver

Millennium in a Box can be found in the following public collections: 

 Art Gallery of Ontario Library, Toronto, Ontario 

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Banff, Alberta

 Bibliotheque nationale du Québec 

 Bruce Peel Special Collections Library, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta 

 Ferriss Hodgett Library, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University of Newfoundland

 Grimsby Public Art Gallery, Grimsby, Ontario 

 Killam Library, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia 

 Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario 

 MacKimmie Library, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta 

 Nova Scotia College of Art and Design Library, Halifax, Nova Scotia 

 Repertoire international du livre d'artiste, Marseille, France 

 Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library, Toronto, Ontario 

 Toronto Reference Library, Toronto, Ontario 

 Toronto Waldorf School, Thornhill, Ontario

 University of British Columbia Library, Vancouver, British Columbia 

 University of Manitoba, Faculty of Education, Winnipeg, Manitoba

 Wellesley College Library, Wellesley, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

 York University Library, Toronto, Ontario  
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