The digital age may have ushered in the emergence of e-readers, but on Tuesday morning, Northeastern University took printed books back to their roots.
Deborah Davidson, an accomplished artist, curator and teacher, led a workshop in the Snell Library lobby instructing students, teachers and staff on how to create a book by folding a sheet of paper into eight panels. Participants were able to collage, draw, write and even sew to make the books their own, while sifting through a wide selection of pencils, markers, yarns, pictures and stencils.
The workshop kicked off a three-day slate of events with Davidson, sponsored by the Humanities Center’s Artists and Practitioners in Residence Program (APRP). The theme of Davidson’s residency is “Considering Books.”
“There is something profound about the object of a book, which has remained unchanged for centuries,” Davidson said. “The book as a container of ideas, narrative, images and text is ever compelling for artists, designers and writers — for those who critique and understand culture.”
Even as the popularity soars for electronic devices such as Kindles and iPads, Davidson stressed the importance of recognizing the book as an object.
“I personally embrace both. I think the two worlds have to co-exist,” said Davidson, who is a faculty member in the Master of Fine Arts program in the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University.
One participant in Tuesday’s workshop was third-year student Rachel Bater. A dual major in communications studies and art, Bater said the workshop offered a new opportunity to explore art in an engaging way. “It gives me a little inspiration. I can start something here and then take it home with me and do something more with it,” said Bater, who also works at Northeastern’s Gallery 360.
The gallery is currently hosting an art exhibit — “What is Contained: The Book as Subject and Object” — through April 12 that features the work of six artists, including Davidson, who explore the book as an essential part of society.
The residency events continue this afternoon. Davidson will host a workshop focusing on the rewards and challenges of pursuing a career in the arts, from 2:50 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Humanities Center. She will take part in a panel discussion, “Beyond the Pages: The Future of the Book,” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in 309 Kariotis Hall. Both events are open to the public.
Created in 2009, the APRP brings innovative, creative individuals to campus to create interdisciplinary dialogues that engage and energize the Northeastern community.