27-31 July 2009
1) How useful were the pre-course readings?
1: Gascoigne's book, How to Identify Prints, was (and will continue to be) very useful. I consider it an essential reference for my antiquarian bookselling business. The other book, The Print in the Western World, was useful but huge and heavy! 2: It was essential to read Gascoigne in advance (harder going than I had expected)—I also found it helpful to read previous course evaluations—so I didn't feel too badly when I found Gascoigne tough to read through. 3: Useful enough. 4: Immensely helpful. The Gascoigne provided the course guts minus the labs and RBS materials. 5-6: Very useful. 7: Pre-course readings were essential to following the complexities of interpretation in examining the original materials during the course. 8: Most useful, especially the Bamber Gascoigne. 9: Very helpful, though Gascoigne is not meant to be read and is quite torturous to read through. 10: Readings essential. 11: Very helpful—I read Hults all the way through and Gascoigne twice before arriving.
2) Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?
1: Yes. I am so happy to have the workbook to take home. I know I will consult it often. 2: Course handbook will be helpful as an aide memoir (thanks for including the list of examples studied in class). 3: Yes. 4: I will carefully preserve all the class materials. The notebook augments Gascoigne and serves as a good outline. 5: Yes and yes. 6: Yes. 7: The syllabus was extremely useful in understanding major points emphasized by the instructor. 8: Yes, more thorough than expected and will be referenced often in the future. 9: Yes. I expect to buy and read much of what was included. 10: Yes both are useful and shall be used. 11: Yes.
3) What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?
1: All aspects of the course were relevant to my job as an antiquarian bookseller. That said, I am most happy that I now understand the difference between engraving and etching, something that I tried to teach myself before but didn't fully understand. 2: Intellectual level was fine. I came to get some general instruction in c19 processes, and the course did this. 3: The discussion of printing processes that are especially typical in the context of books. Yes. 4: I needed a broad survey of the different processes used in printed illustration. I learned a lot from looking at well chosen examples from RBS's holdings. The course was taught at a serious intellectual level. 5: Seeing originals of the processes, and enough of them so that you get a feeling for how they look. Learning that processes were often mixed and changed—i.e. identification is tricky and inexact. Learning about processes (the actual way things were made, not just how they look) and social context, e.g. "the kid." Labs! 6: Classroom lectures and examples of processes very appropriate. 7: The tying together of tangible materials (graphic examples) with societal needs for process innovations was fascinating. 8: Most useful was the common sense contextual information, the sort of stuff which doesn't come across in the technical language of books/descriptions. Intellectual level was high and challenging, even for someone already familiar with some of the content. 9: Level was dead on and as expected. I feel I have a great deal to still learn/process, but now have a foundational understanding upon which to build. 10: The better I can identify what I see, the better I can do my job. The intellectual level of the course was superb. 11: All interesting, relevant and will be useful. Intellectual level about right for me.
4) If your course left its classroom to visit Special Collections (SC) or to make other field trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?
1: Yes, very. I was fascinated by the tour of the Special Collections Library. 2: N/A—but labs on techniques were helpful. I ought to have spent less time on the linocut and more time looking at real examples in the classroom. The linocut lab could perhaps have made its point without taking so long? 4-6: N/A. 7: The hands-on demonstrations of techniques was of particular value in learning and appreciating the artistry of printmaking. 8-11: N/A.
5) What did you like best about the course?
1: I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn from TB. His knowledge of the subject is unmatched by any other I know. Not to mention the fact that he is also an entertaining speaker. I also liked that we got to see, touch, and handle real examples of all of the various types of illustration processes. It helped me to have access to the concrete examples of the concepts discussed. Also, it was fun to do the etchings and the woodcut. Again, it helped to understand the process. 2: Undoubtedly all the packets of examples—wonderful. 3: The variety of activities and the counterpoint between process or chronological segments and thematic segments. 4: I enjoyed the hands-on use and examination of actual prints from the RBS collection. There was a broad range of examples for each process discussed. 5: Labs! Well, see #3. 6: Explanations, examples, depth of instructor's expertise. 7: TB. 8: Having original examples at my disposal is what first comes to mind, but I think the labs will stick with me the longest. Next time I find myself stumped by an obvious relief/intaglio question, I have my own hands-on experience to rely upon. 9: Handling examples in context. Incredibly useful. 10: TB! 11: Small size, breadth and depth.
6) How could the course have been improved?
1: I can't think of any improvements at this time. 2: Would have liked more instruction or exercises in identification (in addition to the tests)—but the week was packed—so I'm not sure how this could be done with a course of this length and breadth of coverage. 3: Even more discussion of the most used printing processes in the book environment. 4: Since dating is so important for identifying prints, I would have been interested in more discussion of the subject. 5: The only thing that detracted from the experience for me was that I spent too much time on my linocut—it was difficult—and that took away time I would have liked to have spent studying. But I couldn't tear myself away; it was fun. You could try to screen out OCD students, I suppose, but that would be counterproductive. Also, more opportunities for discussion may have helped—why two processes look alike, &c. But I can see why there might not be time for that. 6: Too much covered (for me). Longer course or one course on processes to photography and one course post photography. 7: More space. 8: In the time allotted, it could not be—frankly, more time would be appreciated, but those breaks were NECESSARY. Monday is an exceptionally long day with the lecture, but I don't know how that could be avoided. 9: An added week with equal depth and content ... truly, I've just a sense of wanting "more". 10: Obviously, more time with the examples and a period where side by side differences could be observed. 11: If time could be found, more contributions from attendees would be helpful since they have much to add. Not sure how time could be found, however.
7) We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS 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: None. TB was careful to instruct us on the proper handling of such materials at the beginning of the course and to remind us during the week. 2: Handling large prints on top of tables already full of stuff was not ideal (though class members were careful). Space is just a problem. 3: The systems in place and staff handling were exemplary, but some fellow students should have been admonished early in the course for rough handling. There was also a tension between the instructor's oral instruction early to remove objects from mylar and the syllabus' instruction to keep objects in the mylar and lift to the face to examine the object. 4: They were in mostly good condition and were handled respectfully by the class. I do not think anything needed to be improved. 5: Of course it's not possible, but this course really needs a bigger classroom with bigger tables so materials can be more easily handled out and examined. 6: N/A. 7: Instruction on handling materials was provided throughout the course. Perhaps a brief outline on book conservation and handling printed materials could be provided in advance. 8: None, they were handled with great care. I'm happiest about simply having access to these items. 9: N/A. 10: No suggestions. 11: None.
8) If you attended the Sunday and/or other evening lectures, were they worth attending?
1: The evening lectures were fascinating. 2: Enjoyed them! 3: Yes and yes, although not weighty in substance. 4: Yes, even if I've heard the general themes prior years. Sunday night (in particular) attunes me to the RBS week. 5: Unfortunately, I missed Tuesday films—I was too busy making my linocut—and Wednesday study night—I didn't really understand what "study night" was and it was the one time I made dinner plans. (Also, it was the day after a sleepless night due to Rotunda carousing so I would have been too tired to study anyway.) The Sunday night lecture was ok. 6: Stephen Greenberg marginally. Would have preferred more on the collection and less on personnel (past directors). 7: Sunday lecture provided useful background information on the RBS and its mission. 8: N/A. 9: Yes. Interesting and fun (though Helvetica is available via NetFlix). 10: Yes; always want to hear more. 11: I attended and enjoyed every event and found each worthwhile.
9) Did you get your money's worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?
1: I absolutely got my money's worth. My advice to other persons considering taking this course is: do not delay! Thank you for all of your hard work. RBS is a treasure. I appreciate your allowing me to participate. 2: If possible, use Gascoigne with some examples at hand. 3: Yes. 4: Yes, definitely. My advice: prepare for an interesting and sometimes intense week. 5: Yes! Advice for other students: don't obsess over your linocut. Also: thank you. I have been wanting to learn this stuff properly for years and this was so helpful. 6: Yes. 7: In spades. Highly recommended. 8: Money's worth? Yes. For future participants—space out your readings in Bamber Gascoigne—it's not really intelligible in one or two sittings. Get plenty of rest before you arrive—the course is intense. 9: I am on scholarship (though travel/lodging/lost time was significant). Worth every penny and more. I'll do my very best to figure out ways to attend into the indefinite future. Thank you. 10: Definitely got my money's worth. Recommend this course highly with the advice to read the Gascoigne book well ahead of time! 11: Yes. In addition to advance readings get your hands on some prints and try to identify them with Gascoigne at your side. Doing so will better prepare you for class.
Number of respondents: 11
Institution gave me leave: 27%
I took vacation time: 9%
N/A: self-employed, retired, or had summers off: 63%
Institution paid tuition: 0%
I paid tuition myself: 63%
N/A: self-employed, retired, or scholarship: 36%
Instution paid housing: 9%
I paid for my own housing: 72%
N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home: 18%
Institution paid travel: 0%
I paid my own travel: 81%
N/A: lived nearby: 18%
There were 2 rare book librarians (18%), 4 antiquarian booksellers (36%), 2 book collectors (18%), 1 academic administrator (9%), 1 graduate student/project manager (9%), and one rare book appraiser (9%).