[This is the third in a series of profiles of CBAS Board members.]
A recent Q & A with CBAS Board member Lou Kroner—
Lou in his bookmaking studio
CBAS: Tell us a bit about your personal background.
LK: Although I am now retired, I spent thirty-six years as an elementary school teacher in several area schools. I also taught with Miami University’s Ohio Writing Project.
CBAS: When/how did you get interested in book arts?
LK: I’ve always been interested in paper and papermaking. When our own children were young, we made blender paper. While teaching, I helped students make their own paper by recycling construction paper scraps. The students then used their paper to cover a class book. In terms of bookmaking, I used to produce small booklets of my students’ writing. For several years, I was part of a team of teachers that produced Acorn Magazine, a literary and artistic publication for elementary school writers from several schools.
Can you mention any particular influences?
LK: I have been fortunate to study papermaking and various book arts with some excellent teachers including Mary Hark, Jo Stealy, Dolph Smith, Carol Barton, and Catherine Nash. I’ve also been inspired by CBAS presenters including Gabrielle Fox, Carolyn Whitesel, Beata Wehr, Karen Hanmer, Ed Hutchins, Peter Thomas, and Paul Johnson. Of course, the work of CBAS artists is always an influence.
CBAS: What types of book forms do you like best?
LK: I enjoy experimenting with books that are housed in a structure, often a box. This comes from a long interest in the work of Joseph Cornell and from my class with Dolph Smith.
CBAS: What are you currently working on?
Bins of plant materials
LK: Most recently, I’ve been making paper from various plant materials (iris and cattail leaves, goldenrod, moss, and gourd vines) and dyeing papers with walnut ink and indigo.
Papermaking studio and wood shop
CBAS: Where do you work?
LK: I work in several spaces in our home: a garage space that doubles as a papermaking studio and wood shop and a basement space for bookmaking. I work outside when cooking fibers for papermaking.
CBAS: How often are you making books?
One of Lou’s handmade paper sampler accordions
LK: I alternate between bookmaking work, papermaking, and assemblage projects and usually have several projects in various stages of completion at one time.
CBAS: How did you learn about CBAS? How long have you been a member? What have you enjoyed most about your CBAS membership?
LK: I joined CBAS after visiting one of the first Bookworks exhibits at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. My membership has allowed me to meet and learn from others who share an interest in bookmaking. I enjoy opportunities to work with aspiring bookmakers like Books by the Banks and through other CBAS outreach efforts.
CBAS: What is your Board role?
LK: I have served as CBAS chair and newsletter editor and currently serve as a member of the Board.
Recent assemblages to be featured in September exhibition
Lou will be teaching bookmaking workshops this winter and spring for 2 troops of Girl Scouts in Mason, patrons of the MidPointe Library in West Chester and students at Gamble Montessori High School. And mark September 2016 on your calendar. That’s when you can find Lou’s artwork featured locally with that of his brother Paul (a painter and sculptor now living in Cambridge, Massachusetts) at Ruth’s Parkside Cafe, 1550 Blue Rock Street, Northside.