1) How useful were the pre-course readings?
1: Gascoigne was excellent. 2: Very relevant. I could not have taken full advantage of the course if I had not done the reading. 3: Gascoigne was essential reading. 4: It's essential to read and comprehend Gascoigne, as much as is possible from seeing reproductions, before coming. 5: Very useful. 6: Excellent. 7: The pre-course reading was essential for this course. 8: Very useful - mainly Gascoigne. The other I would consider optional. Someone who did not read Gascoigne would not be able to keep up with the multiple processes discussed each day. 9: Most useful - and essential. 10: Very.
2) Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?
1: Extremely. I particularly relied on the timeline in the workbook. 2: Yes. The timeline and list of illustrative techniques were particularly helpful. 3: Reading lists were very useful; the course workbook was excellent. I won't be taking up linocuts or etching as a hobby, but they are nice mementos to take back (and view in private). 4: Yes - I referred to them often during class and will keep them handy in the future. 5: Yes. 6: Yes - definitely. 7: Yes, the materials are relevant and will be of further use to me. 8: Yes. Lists and charts, as well as the reading list, will be useful. Being able to work with actual prints is the most important thing about coming here for this course. 9-10: Yes.
3) Was the intellectual level of the course content appropriate?
1: Yes - I was constantly challenged, but rarely overwhelmed. 2: Yes. 3: Yes, spot on. 4-6: Yes. 7: Yes, I found the course challenging and feel that I have gained a lot. 8: Yes. 9-10: Yes.
4) If your course had field trips, were they effective?
1-3: 5: N/A. 7: Yes, visiting and working on the printing press helped me understand some of the processes better.
5) Did the actual course content correspond to its RBS brochure description and Expanded Course Description (ECD)? Did the course in general meet your expectations?
1: Very much so. 2-10: Yes.
6) What did you like best about the course?
1: The feeling of being loaded up with knowledge and skills. I feel as though outfitted for battle, and am eager to return to the front. 2: The combination of listening to the instructor, looking at examples, and trying some techniques. 3: The exceptional number of print examples that could be examined with a glass. The range of examples was truly amazing, and to have 12 or so examples of early prints meant that we could all have the same thing in front of us. Surely this is a unique course element. 4: TB's astounding knowledge and experience in the subject and his wry humor in presenting it. 5: Looking at the packets of various types of illustrations. 6: The wide knowledge of the instructor on a broad range of subjects. 7: I liked being able to view many examples of the prints. I also enjoyed the hands-on portion of the course. 8: Working with the great variety of prints in the BAP collection. 9: The direct visual and tactile use of actual examples. One can read about processes, but having the pieces in hand is most useful. 10: Getting to see so many examples - having those examples available to us to look at during our free time.
7) How could the course have been improved?
1: It all seemed perfect. The drypoint, lino, and etching projects were ideally timed to prevent information overload. 2: A "decision tree" would have been immensely helpful. Gascoigne has a section where he compares techniques with each other, but a visual "tree" would have been valuable. Also, more time to look at examples independently would be helpful, and more time to go over the test exercise at the end. 3: Maybe a little less time on some of the actual print making. It's nice to know the general techniques, but if you have no practical experience, some time is wasted in pressing on to the end of a project. 4: Considering the limitations of time and space, I can't think of any. 6: It was fun! Much note taking is not necessary. 7: The course was great! 8: Spend much less time on the linoleum block project. I think having each person make a few cuts all on one block would be sufficient, since the course is not really about making prints. 9: It's difficult to imagine how it could be improved, other than perhaps by dividing the course into two separate week long courses, e.g., "Intaglio Book Illustration to 1890" and "Color Book Illustration to 1890." There is an incredible amount of information to absorb in one week. 10: I would have liked the linocut to have been simpler so it didn't take so much time to do and keep us from looking at prints.
8) We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the BAP's teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa's Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?
1: Everyone in the class seemed to employ adequate care when handling materials - no one made me nervous. 2: Everyone seemed to handle all materials respectfully; however, I do not think food or drink should be allowed in the room when materials are being handled. Class members should be reminded to wash their hands after breaks and lunch. 3: Mylar protections seemed to work very well. We had no accidents. 4: Hundreds of examples were handled very efficiently by TB and Tony Pirnot. 6: Can't think of any. 7: I believe that the expectations for handling were made clear and that a continual reminder would probably be a good approach. 8: Have people use pencil, not pen, to take notes, since prints were always on the table. 9: Accordion folders and boxes to store examples (and for private subsequent access) seemed to work fine as well as protect the material.
9) Please comment on the quality/enjoyability of the various RBS activities in which you took part outside of class, eg Sunday afternoon tour, Sunday night dinner and videos, evening lectures, Bookseller Night, tour of the Alderman digital/electronic centers,, &c.
1: I attended all the lectures and Bookseller Night. Greer Allen was very good, cheery, light lecture (I appreciated the "light" part after an intense first day of class). Ellen Dunlap was good, though I hoped for more on "innovation as tradition." TB, as always, gave a fine fireside chat. Booksellers Night was nice, low key, though not enough had WINE (bravo, Blue Whale). 2: All the outside activities added to the total experience. 3: All these were very good indeed. Even though I have been to RBS before, I always go on the guided tour. The lectures (especially GA) were great and I always enjoy Bookseller Night. There's not much room (or time) for any improvements or additions. 4: All were very enjoyable and enhanced the RBS experience. 5: The lectures were very good and worth the time. The Sunday night dinner was good for meeting the members of one's class. 6: Good variety. 7: I attended all of these activities and felt that they enhanced this learning experience. 8: Very good, but too many for me to attend all of them. I attended two evening lectures and saw the Rotunda exhibition, all of which were worthwhile. I think each person needs to be selective and go to those events in their area of interest, and not get exhausted trying to do everything. 9: All were more or less the same high quality as in previous years. I was, however, disappointed in the quality (and quantity) of booksellers in Charlottesville. Both seemed to be substantially less than last year. Maybe I'm just getting jaded? 10: Evening lectures were great. Bookseller Night was fun - I liked it a lot.
10) Any final thoughts? Did you get your money's worth?
1: Read Gascoigne thoroughly, but with the assurance that if he's not quite clear at times, it will be during class. DEFINITELY got my money's worth! As TB points out, Howard Nixon had no qualms about calling a binding old leather. Likewise, a strong course of study in book illustration lends foundation (and a personal sense of OK-ness) to the statement "looks like aquatint photogravure, but I don't know." 2: I feel that I got my money's worth, without question! 3: Very good value for money - on what was, anyway, a unique course. There is no other comparable course available for me. This course is certainly an eye-opening experience. 4: It's a must-take course, but be prepared. 5: A great deal of information was conveyed in a relatively short period of time. All of it was worthwhile, and the course was well worth the time and cost. 6: I am certainly glad I came. 7: Excellent program! I hope to be back next summer. 8: Definitely worth the money. I don't know of any other course where students can handle multiple original prints. The BAP collection is the unique aspect that makes this course so valuable. 9: This is an excellent course and certainly worth the time and money invested. The follow-up course mentioned tongue-in-cheek ("Book Illustration since 1890") would be of equal value. 10: My institution got its money's worth. I found Gascoigne surprisingly readable, but wish the illustrations more closely approximated the process he's illustrating - you might issue a caveat about that in the reading list instructions. I was surprised to find that some actual prints looked very different from the illustrations in the book.
Number of respondents: 10
There were ten students: two (20%) archivist/manuscript librarians, two (20%) book collectors, two (20%) rare book librarians, and one each (10% each) was an art librarian, a conservator/binder/preservation librarian, a general librarian with some rare book duties, and a retiree.