14 August 2017


Over three years ago book artist Hisako Nakazawa asked me if I would help her with an idea for an exhibit that would involve members of the Tokyo Bookbinding Club and book artists residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. I immediately said "yes."

In those last 3 years the project has evolved, waxed, waned, and stalled before it became reality. Now, this idea has finally come to fruition. About a year ago the Tokyo Bookbinding Club secured a place on the exhibit calendar at the Urawa Art Museum, just outside of Tokyo, for the first leg of the exhibit. Hisako and I set about inviting Bay Area book artists to participate in the exhibit and the Tokyo Bookbinding Club queried their members, as well.

[PRAYER]: Memories of 4/16,2016 Kumamoto Earthquake by Hisako Nakazawa

The result is an exhibit entitled MUSUBU: Tokyo: California: Urawa. Twenty-four members of the Tokyo Bookbinding Club are exhibiting and 21 book artists that reside, or have strong ties, in the San Francisco Bay Area are participating.

Boro Vessel: Topsy Turvy, Inside Out and Outside In by Jody Alexander

When choosing the artists to represent the United States we looked for artists who were active members of the book arts community in the San Francisco Bay Area who created pieces that incorporate innovative book structures with strong content, possess solid craftsmanship, and a creative use of materials. Each artist also actively exhibits in the San Francisco Bay Area, and many exhibit nationally and internationally. They are also professors and teachers of the book arts at local colleges, universities, and art centers. In a sense it is a "dream team!" If you are familiar with the book arts world you will see what I mean when you read this list of participating US artists:

Rhiannon Alpers, Elizabeth Boyne, Macy Chadwick, Lucy Childs, Marie Dern and Danielle Giudici Wallis, Casey Gardner, Alisa Golden, Jennie Hinchcliff, Charles Hobson, Lisa Kokin, Bryan Kring, Hedi Kyle, Howard Munson, Penny Nii, Felicia Rice, Judith Serebrin, Larry Van Velzer and Peggy Gotthold of Foolscap Press, Katherine Venturelli, Kenneth Wilkes, and co-curators Hisako Nakazawa and Jody Alexander.


Members of the Tokyo Bookbinding Club who are participating are:

Yoko Bato, Keiko Fujii, Michiko Fujita, Sinki Fukuda, Mari Hatano, Fumiko Ichida, Masumi Inayama, Junko Inque, Hisako Kawashima, Rie Kondo, Yukari Kunii, Ikuko Nakajima, Hiroko Nakano, Amu Nakao, Eiko Nakao, Kunie Ogoshi, Maki Sato, Katsuyuko Sawada, Ariko Shibata, Keiko Suzuki, Yoko Taguchi, Hiroe Takahashi, Akiko Tsumura, Maya Yamashita.

Hisako Nakazawa, the brainchild of the exhibit, is one of the founding members of the Tokyo Bookbinding Club, and she currently lives in California. She was interested in having the book artists living in these different parts of the world, that also have very active book arts communities, share their work with one another. Keiko Fujii is a member of the Tokyo Bookbinding Club and is also a co-curator of the exhibit along with Akiko Takiguchi who is a curator at the Urawa Art Museum.

    Seven Wonders of Honjyo by Akiko Tsumura

Hisako's husband helped us come up with the title for the exhibit: MUSUBU. Musubu means to tie, to connect, or to be bound by friendship. We thought this was the perfect word to represent an exhibit of bookmakers and bookbinders who are forming connections through their artwork.

I will be traveling to Tokyo in September and giving a talk at the Urawa Art Museum on September 12th, and am very much looking forward to seeing the exhibit.

Here is information about the exhibit:

Musubu: Book and Art: Tokyo: California: Urawa

Urawa Art Museum, Urawa-ku, Saitama, Japan

September 12th - 24th, 2017

Artist/Curator Talk by Jody Alexander, with Howard Munson and Kenneth Wilkes on Tuesday, September 12th from 3:00 - 4:30

Our very exciting news is that the exhibit has secured a US venue at the American Bookbinder's Museum in San Francisco, CA, in April/May 2018.

If there are any Tokyo readers out there I hope that you will try to make it to the Urawa Art Museum to see this exhibit. And, I'll be sure to share information about the San Francisco show as that date approaches.



  1. this looks amazing. wish i could see the exhibition!

  2. I really enjoyed this place and you can definitely find me here for more events. I didn't eat anything when on my recent visit to venues in Los Angeles, but those around me had truffle fries, pizza, and wings all seemed to enjoy.