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Spring Break Book Week: Field Trip to Special Collections

Studio study buddy, humanities-itarian, and stab binding superstar Christina Lawrence reports from the field:


This week at New Urban Arts, while schools are on April vacation, students and artist collaborators will be writing, illustrating, printing, and binding books, culminating in therelease of “Brilliant Minotaur,” a small edition ofartist books, on Friday at Craftland from 7-8. To start the week, we took a trip with Delia Kovack to the Special Collections Department at the Providence Public Library, where Jordan Goffin showed us some art books from the library’s collection.

I was expecting the group to be polite but somewhat disinterested when presented with books from several hundredyears ago. However, it became clear that these intricate books from the past in fact inspired a certain reverence. For some, the gold details on the book covers were memorable, while the elaborate writing or designs inside the books inspired others. Katie enjoyed the typeset in the collection, saying, “It was so tiny andintricate and wonderful.” Erin remarked on a book that came in its own ornate box. She pointed out, “It was a 

sbf3For the mentors on the trip, it was magical to see this new appreciation for old objects. I was excited to see teenagers walk through a door that said “Adults Only” and start exclaiming to each other about stories in a newspaper from 1819. I’m sure this energy will continue as“Brilliant Minotaur,” whatever that may mean, takes shape this week. -C.L.mystery, because you kept unwrapping it.” Sherly added, “I liked that the books showed how these people used their time and materials to make something special. I didn’t like the part where I couldn’t keep any of them.” Not only were students paying attention to the craftsmanship of the books, but they were also thinking critically about their purposes. For example, several students pointed out that it didn’t make sense to create a complicated, gold cover for a book appealing to a patron to create a house for the poor. Why not put the money spent on the book towards funding the project? When we left, people expressed interest in making appointments to return and view the collection in more detail.

sbf5Many thanks to Delia Kovack and Jordan Goffin for sharing your worlds with us! And toPriscilla, Christina, CJ, and all the New Urban Arts family for an all around wonderful day. And Noel, thank you for cooking us all breakfast. The waffles were delicious.

 Today, Tuesday, we write the book!

And once we finish the book? Not only are we having a release party at Craftland, joining the gallery exhibition “Magic Child Repository”, but also, Jordan Goffin wants one for the Providence Public Library Special Collections!