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Modes of Codex: The Art of the Book from Medieval Fragments to Movable Type and Fine Press Printing: Opening Event

This exhibition focuses on the history of the written word and book production. It begins with ancient manuscripts created by hand on clay, papyrus, stone, wax, wood, parchment, and other materials.

A conversation with book artists

Opening event:

Thursday, January 28
4:30 pm Exhibition viewing
5 pm A Conversation with Book Artists affiliated with UCSB's College of Creative Studies
6 pm Reception

Moderator: Roberto Trujillo, former librarian from UCSB, AUL of Special Collections at Stanford.


  • Harry Reese
  • Sandra Reese
  • Linda Ekstrom
  • Carolee Campbell
  • Mary Heebner


‘Codex’ Exhibition Highlights Faculty Artist Books

On one wall hangs a facsimile leaf from a Gutenberg Bible, published circa 1455, looking just like you’d expect, a large page with long columns of Latin text in ornate script.

In a case nearby is Linda Ekstrom’s 1993 Spherical Bible, looking not at all like you’d expect, with the Bible turned into strips of text wound into five spheres that resemble balls of yarn.

Both texts are sacred in their own way.

Welcome to “Modes of Codex: The Art of the Book from Medieval Fragments to Movable Type and Fine Press Printing,” UCSB Library’s inaugural exhibition in the new Special Research Collections (SRC) curated by its head, Danelle Moon.

On display through April 29, “Modes of Codex” features rare books, manuscripts, artist books and other SRC texts that chronicle the art of book production.

A panel discussion held to celebrate the exhibition opening featured five book artists who are also UCSB instructors and/or alumni from the College of Creative Studies (CCS), renowned for its book arts program: Ekstrom, Harry Reese, Sandra Reese, Carolee Campbell, and Mary Heebner. Roberto Trujillo, Director of Special Collections at Stanford University, and a former UCSB librarian, moderated the panel.

The panelists spoke about how they came to be book artists, and the importance of creating literary artifacts in a world that is becoming increasingly digitized.

A few of their responses:

Sandra Reese: “I try to make something that … draws the viewer into a reading and understanding that can’t be gained through a computer screen.”

Ekstrom: “As part of my altering the book … while I’m eradicating the readability, I’m actually opening it up to a new kind of readability.”

Campbell: “The book is our cultural legacy, and we dare not not pay attention to it.”

Heebner: “So much more of our cultural heritage … has been lost. What we get from the past is just a fragment. People really want to know things, and books hold information, they’re the carriers … of those things.

Harry Reese: “Students and faculty here understand how important books are in … what we know about ourselves as people … involved in something creative.”

“Modes of Codex” will be on display on the 3rd Floor, Mountain Side, during SRC regular hours. Admission is free.

Video of opening event

A Conversation with Book Artists from UCSB's College of Creative Studies.


Photographs from opening event

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