Upcoming Events


SOLD OUT. Paper is Part of the Picture: Highlights from the Strathmore Archive, 1898-1964. A reception, pop-up exhibition, and presentation by Chris Harrold, Creative Director at Mohawk Fine Paper.
Monday, June 8, 2015, 5-7 pm

Unfortunately, this event has sold out, but please click here to be added to the wait list.

Celebrate Design Week at the Book Club of California with a hosted reception, pop-up exhibition, and presentation by Chris Harrold, Creative Director at Mohawk Fine Paper.

The history of Strathmore Paper Company’s promotional efforts beginning in the late 19th century is intimately related to the emergence of American graphic design as a profession distinct from both printing and art. Throughout the twentieth century, Strathmore relied on well-known designers, illustrators and typographers to demonstrate how paper was more than a substrate but an element on par with illustration and type. The evidence of this sustained commitment has been beautifully preserved in the Strathmore Archives. Individually, every object is an example of impeccable craftsmanship. Together they chronicle over 100 years of American design and style.


Dance for Life: The California Legacy of Isadora Duncan. An Illustrated Talk by Margaretta K. Mitchell
Monday, June 15, 2015, 5-7 pm

Dance for Life,  Margaretta K. Mitchell’s stunning portfolio of photogravures and original text, tells the story of the Temple of Wings in Berkeley, California and the legacy of the dance of Isadora Duncan that was practiced there for three generations. The project is the result of twenty years of original research and photography. It culminated in a 1985 exhibition at the Oakland Museum, and inspired a symphony, Berkeley Images, commissioned by Kent Nagano for the Berkeley Symphony in 2000.

In this illustrated talk, Mitchell will share images from the portfolio as she describes the process of creating it—including printing and design. Along the way, she will describe the legacy of Isadora Dunca (as famous in her day as Madonna is now); the dance she inspired; her friendship with her fellow-progressive, Florence Treadwell; and the architecture of the Temple of Wings—the product of an early-twentieth-century Bay Area culture that envisioned a “new Mediterranean” with Berkeley as the Athens of the West.

Margaretta K. Mitchell is a highly accomplished photographer, writer, and educator. Her work has been exhibited nationally and is in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, the New York Public Library, Princeton University, UCLA, the Bancroft Library, Smith College Museum, and the Royal Print Collection, Windsor, England, among others, including many private collections. She is the author of five books (including, most recently, The Face of Poetry, UC Press, 2005) and is a contributor to many more books and publications.

Photo: Victory by Margaretta K. Mitchell, from the portfolio Dance for Life.


Murder Most Foul: Printed Sources on Homicide in Early America
Monday, June 22, 2015, 5-7 pm

In the summer of 2012 the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan mounted an exhibition of primary sources on murder in America from the 1670s to 1900.  Clements director Kevin Graffagnino’s PowerPoint presentation of murder books, pamphlets, serials, prints, photographs, and ephemera illustrates the ways our ancestors dealt with murder as vehicle for moral instruction, basis for social attitudes and legal policy, and source of guilty-pleasure titillation.  Given the enduring popularity of crime and punishment for American readers, collectors, and researchers, this lecture should appeal to scholarly and popular audiences alike, while also offering libraries and historical organizations a golden opportunity to cultivate new support among their local cutthroats, assassins, poisoners, stranglers, hatchet men (and women), decapitators, cannibals, parricides, matricides, fratricides, pistoleros, and other mischievous folk.

Kevin Graffagnino has been director of the University of Michigan’s William L. Clements Library since 2008.  He has also served as executive director of the Vermont and Kentucky state historical societies, as library director at the Wisconsin Historical Society, and as a Special Collections curator at the University of Vermont.  Author or editor of seventeen books and dozens of scholarly and popular articles, Dr. Graffagnino has delivered hundreds of lectures from Maine to California on American history, antiquarian books, and related topics.  He started his bibliophilic career as a seventeen-year-old antiquarian bookseller specializing in Vermont history to pay his way through college.


The Book As Art: Form and Function in Creative Book Structures. An Illustrated Talk by Dominic Riley
Monday, July 13, 2015, 5-7 pm

This lecture illustrates the potential of the book as a three dimensional object, from pop-ups, hidden fore-edge paintings, peep-show books, to books with hidden compartments and intriguing surprises. Whatever the reason for the creation of these unusual books, playfulness and humor is always a guiding principle. Dominic will show work from his favorite book artists, including examples of experimental book structures he has collected and some he has made himself as part of his interest in this creative genre. Seen together they represent over two hundred years of questioning the notion of ‘what is a book?’

Dominic Riley is an internationally renowned bookbinder, artist, and teacher, having won over twenty prizes for his unique fine bindings, made either for exhibitions, competitions, or for commission. His work is in many public and private collections worldwide including the British Library, the Grolier Club, and the Bodleian in Oxford. In June 2013 he won the Sir Paul Getty award for the best binding in the International Bookbinding Competition. He spent the year after the competition traveling round Europe with the exhibition, and recently spent two months lecturing and teaching in Australia and New Zealand.


Gold Beating: How Gold Leaf is Made. An Illustrated Talk by John Hastings.
Monday, July 27, 2015, 5-7 pm

In 1820, John Hastings’ great grandfather founded Hastings and Company, a gold leaf manufacturing company in Philadelphia. It went on to become the largest gold leaf manufacturing company in America, lasting nearly 150 years. In this illustrated talk, Hastings will describe the age-old craft and all the traditions, methods, and surprising facts surrounding it–for example, it takes one ounce of gold to make 175 square feet of gold leaf. Hastings will also discuss gold beating in Japan and Burma, various uses of gold leaf, and why the market for gold leaf collapsed, and he will show an 80-year-old film about gold beating.

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