SHELF LIFE: An interview with Patricia No from Publication Studio

Shelf Life

Continuing with the coverage on our ongoing Shelf Life exhibition, Publication Studio, the lovely publishers-in-residence, have been hard at work bringing fresh books made daily to the shelves of the Henry Art Gallery (and you gotta love those shelves). I had the chance to chat with Publication studio co-founder Patricia No about her work with Publication Studio and the role of books in general. The following is a transcript of our conversation, and due to hardware failure, a paraphrasing of the second half of our conversation afterwards. As always, come check out Publication Studio in-person. They’ll be at the Shelf Life space through July 10.

Patricia No enjoying the Shelf Life studio space, now with coffee table!

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RYAN DIAZ
So I guess we can begin. Could you state your name?

PATRICIA NO
Sure, I’m Patricia No.

RD
And you’re from?

PN
I’m originally from upstate new York, in Rochester. I also went to school in upstate and then I went to Bard and studied writing there. That’s where I first became interested in literature. My senior year I wanted to bind my thesis by myself, so I took a bookmaking class, I kind of fell in love with the book as an object at that point. Then I moved to Portland, had a bunch of different jobs and I was working at an architecture firm when I met Matthew Stadler. We decided to do this project together, which we originally called an experiment to see if it would work as a way to be a publication studio.

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Installing Now: SHELVES FOR SHELF LIFE (and typography nuts)

Artist Jason Wood is here this morning installing the shelves for Shelf Life, which opens July 1st (tomorrow!) in the lobby space at the Henry. My jaw dropped when I saw them.

As a book lover, book designer, type nut, and big fan of bookshelves in general, I’m all …… swoon.

Later today we’ll be installing the first rotation of books from the Book Arts Collection from Special Collections at the UW Libraries. (These books will be housed in vitrines — not on these letter-shelves!) Curated by Sandra Kroupa, University of Washington Book Arts and Rare Book Curator, this first display (with two more to come!) will focus on multiplicity — in both the text and ways of reading a text. Next week we’ll be welcoming Publication Studio, the Portland-based publisher, who will bring their combination workshop and storefront to the Henry lobby from July 5th – 10th. The lobby space will be open for visitors during regular museum hours on those days (starting at 1pm on  Tuesday, July 5th). Watch Publication Studio make ‘fresh books daily’, chat with David and Patricia, or stop by Thursday evening, July 7th, for a talk by co-founder Matthew Stadler titled “What Good are Bookstores?” starting at 7pm. (Admission to the talk is free.) Matthew is currently on a North American book tour for his new novel, Chloe Jarren’s La Cucaracha, and will be at the Sorrento Hotel the previous night for dinner and conversation. (More details here.) On Sunday, July 10th, Publication Studio will host a REBIND event, where you’re invited to bring in your old, tattered copies of books and for $7 Publication Studio will re-bind them with sturdy new covers.

Shelf Life is the Henry’s summer ode to BOOKS and READING. From July 1 – October 15th, the Henry has invited book lovers from various fields — independent publishers, librarians, poets, writers, designers, and, most importantly, readers — to share with us what they do and why they love to do it. For a complete list of Shelf Life related programming, please visit this page.

Upcoming Shelf Life Events

Shelf Life is well on its way to the Henry’s lobby! And we’ve got the dish on all its awesome events!

  • What Good Are Bookstores?
    (Guest Matthew Stadler from Publication Studio looks under the hood of literature’s future by asking “what good are bookstores?” Lobby space, Free with admission)
    Thursday, July 7, 2011, 7:00 – 8:00 PM 
  • Rebind
    (Bring in your old, tattered, much-loved paperbacks and have Publication Studio re-bind them into a sturdy new volume in standard manila folder covers. Lobby space, fee is $7.)
    Sunday, July 10, 2011, 1:00-3:30 PM 

 

  • Poste Restante c/o Eric Fredericksen
    (Guest Eric Fredericksen, curator of Poste Restante, will give a talk on the contemporary state of the object in art. Lobby space, Free with admission)
    Thursday, September 29, 2011, 7:00-8:00 PM 

If none of these events work for your schedule (highly doubtful, but ya never know), then feel free to stop by during Henry’s opening hours and peruse the rotating display of independent publications.

Shelf Life runs from July 1st through October 16th in the Henry’s Lobby Test Site.

Publication Studio, Maker and Destroyer of Books, comes to the Henry

In a couple weeks we’ll be welcoming Publication Studio as they temporarily transplant their publishing practice from a Portland storefront to the Henry Art Gallery. As part of the program Shelf Life, the Henry’s summer ode to BOOKS and READING, Publication Studio will be stationed in the lobby space between July 5-10 and will go about their day-to-day work of making ‘fresh books daily’ and doing the things they do as the vanguard of the independent press.

Founded in 2009 by Matthew Stadler and Patricia No, Publication Studio began as a print-on-demand publisher equipped with little more than a small laser printer, a hot glue binding machine, and a desire to make books with writers and artists whose work they love. Two years later they have ‘sibling studios’ in five other cities around the U.S. (started by like-minded individuals who grew to love the Publication Studio philosophy and bought publishing equipment of their own), added designer David Knowles to the team in Portland, and just recently produced their 10,000th book.

Besides the lack of waste that comes with making books only when customers want them, Publication Studio is notable for the attention they give to a book as it moves from idea to object to screen. To Publication Studio, a publication involves the creation of a public, which they actively cultivate as part of the ‘social life’ of a book, both online and off. Most of their titles are uploaded to a digital commons where readers can comment and annotate pages. In addition, Publication Studio hosts dinners, readings, talks, and events that encourage continued conversations about publications and that bring authors into contact with readers.

For a detailed description of a day-in-the-life of Publication Studio, check out this feature at DesignObserver. To learn even more about the Publication Studio philosophy, check out this interview with BookForum (where Michael Miller named Publication Studio “the most innovative and philosophical new independent press”) and this article at Publisher’s Weekly.

THE DETAILS: Publication Studio will be in the Henry lobby from July 5th – 10th and open to the public during regular museum hours on those days (with slightly shorter hours on Tuesday, July 5th). Stop by and check out their books, chat with David and Patricia, or stop by Thursday evening, July 7th, for a talk by co-founder Matthew Stadler titled “What Good are Bookstores?” starting at 7pm. (Admission to the talk is free.) On Sunday, July 10th, Publication Studio will host a REBIND event, where you’re invited to bring in your old, tattered copies of books and for $7 Publication Studio will re-glue them with sturdy new covers.

Publication Studio kicks off Shelf Life, aka the Henry’s summer ode to BOOKS and READING. From July 1 – October 15th, the Henry has invited book lovers from various fields — independent publishers, librarians, poets, writers, designers, and, most importantly, readers — to share with us what they do and why they love to do it. For a complete list of Shelf Life related programming, please visit this page. Join us, won’t you?