PANEL | “Book Club for Book Artists

Featuring BABA members Insiya Dhatt, Karen Rush, and Astrid J. Smith, with special guests Bridget Whearty and Patience Young

LIVE SCREENING WITH Q&A: October 18th, 2020 at 2:30pm – 3:15 PM PST


What do you like to look at to stay inspired? What kind of stories ignite creative sparks? What was the last how-to book that got you rushing to your studio? What book shaped your perspective on art? Most of all, what books would you recommend? While this panel’s theme surrounds the Bay Area Book Artist’s favorite topic, we wanted to hear not only from members but also from other creatives within the world of the arts and humanities; we think that some of their answers might surprise and delight, and may even find their way to the top of your reading list.

Below is a recording of the Q&A from our live session:

Insiya Dhatt is a mixed media artist in San Francisco focusing on book arts, paper art, and photography. Much of her work has been inspired by her travels in India throughout her childhood. She has been a BABA member since 2018 and currently serves as a Board Member at Hand Bookbinders of California and Focus on Book Arts.
Karen Rush has been a member of BABA since 2011, and exploring the interaction of narrative, material and the structure of the book since discovering book arts about nine years ago. The familiar feel and universal recognition of the book structure make it a uniquely personal form that invites viewer participation. Working also in architectural design, and formerly in the semiconductor industry, she makes her own paper and draws inspiration from the physical attributes of materials. Karen uses personal events and experiences and explores larger topics of time, dreaming, consious/uncouncious, history and belonging.
Astrid J. Smith has been a member of BABA since 2008, shortly after graduating with a bachelors degree in art from SFSU where she focused on mixed media and bookarts. She returned to school to obtain a masters in Liberal Arts from Stanford University. She works for Stanford Libraries as Rare Book and Special Collections Digitization Specialist, photographing treasures of the archives to create high quality digital images. Her artistic practice tends toward a balance between chaotic experimentation and technical precision, and she enjoys researching the history and philosophy of how we regard material objects.
Bridget Whearty is an Assistant Professor at Binghamton University where she works in the English Department and the Medieval Studies Program. She teaches classes on the history of the book and medieval manuscripts, as well as courses like “Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Studies” and “The LGBTQ+ Middle Ages.” Whearty researches the digitization of medieval manuscripts and is currently finishing her first book, Digital Codicology: Medieval Books and Modern Labor.
Patience Young is an art historian and museum education specialist. She is retired from the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford, where she served for two decades as curator for education and director of academic engagement; prior to that she worked in education at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and taught art history at Drew University. She is active with the San Francisco Folk Music Club, serves as an advisor to the United Nations Association Film Festival, and has been editing a friend’s book that will be issued in 2021: Anthology of Radical Songs of British Political Reform, 1768-1868.
Screenshot of the panelists preparing the recorded talk.

This virtual event was made possible by BABA members volunteering their time. Please consider making a donation if you have enjoyed our program. Thank you!

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