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Assemblage Studio assembles creative books

Jacob Choroszy , Entertainment Writer
April 29, 2014
Filed under Entertainment

Local book artist Kathy Hackbarth brought her talents to the Assemblage Studio in downtown Green Bay on April 26.

The Assemblage Studio is located in the back of the “Somewhere in Time” Antique Mall on N. Broadway.

It’s an art stuido that holds classes to create different art projects.

Hackbarth’s project for the daywas to create a piano hinge styled book.

Hackbarth has taught art in just about every school in the Green Bay area.

“My favorite thing about her as a teacher is you can never make a mistake, but if you can make one, she can fix it easily,” said Barb LaFontaine, a retired librarian from Oshkosh.

A piano hinge style book is a book with a spine resembling a piano hinge on a door.

“I just think piano hinge books are pretty funky and you can do whatever you want with them,” Hackbarth said.

She brought with her many different colorful papers to create the unique books. Each one was previously painted by her.

Those attending her class first picked out one of the larger paintings that they wanted to make as their book cover.

Then each person went through and painted wooden skewers that were going to be used to hold the pages of the book together.

Once everything was painted, the rest of the time went to putting the book together.

There was a great deal of gluing, cutting and folding for the cover of the book and for the pages before everything was put together.

“Making piano hinged books is a really interesting method,” Beanie Crothers said, a retired special education teacher from Pulaski. “They’re tedious, but easy to make. So, I know it’s something I can do again and again.”

Hackbarth was very professional when teaching the techniques to making the piano hinge books. For each step, she would make sure everyone stopped what they were doing and watched her.

The last steps of the book making process were to interlock the pages around the wooden skewers and then tie them off with waxed thread. Everyone finished up by dabbing a small amount of glue around the thread to hold it all in place.

“This is the fourth book I’ve made in one of Kathy [Hackbarth]’s classes, and I just love them,” Nancy Whitfield said, a registered nurse from Hobart. “They are all so unique and I’ve been able to use them as gifts.”

Those attending shared laughs and stories while crafting.

Hackbarth’s next class will be on paste paper painting and she is holding it in her backyard. Signups for it will be taken at the Assemblage Studio in person or by phone (920) 562-3759.

Teresa Gifford, owner of the Assemblage Studio, opened the doors in April 2006. It was originally located in De Pere before moving to its current location in March 2013.

Her goal in opening the studio was to have a place where those interested in paper arts can learn the different techniques. Then hopefully those who go will  create their own versions and designs.

Gifford has a background in fiber arts, painting, collage, bookmaking and assemblage. Many of the classes are taught by her or local artists.

“Besides things like book binding, we do altered art, shadowbox assemblage art, jewelry, collages and lots of wonderful things,” Gifford said.

Gifford has known Hackbarth for almost as long as the Assemblage Studio has been open.

“Hackbarth just moved back to Green Bay, found me and decided that she had to teach at the Assemblage Studio,” Gifford said.

The next class at the Assemblage Studio is May 3 at 10 a.m. Local mixed media artist Dawn Love will return to the studio to instruct some do-it-yourself techniques.

Activities will include fabric and paper flowers for embellishing, creating washi tape and mixing chalkboard paint.

Everything learned for that session will be incorporated into a special tag project that those attending will take home with them. There will be a $35 fee for all the materials.

The Assemblage Studio is open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, visit