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Carolee Campbell, a fine-book printer from Sherman Oaks, Calif., will present a slide lecture on “The Handmade Book: Concept to Completion,” at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, September 28, in the Instruction Room of Lafayette’s Skillman Library. The event is free and open to the public.

Handset type, exquisite handmade papers, and poetry are now the tools of the trade for Campbell, who starred in the network television soap opera “The Doctors” for nine years. Now, from the home she shares with husband Hector Elizondo (who plays Dr. Phillip Watters on “Chicago Hope”), Campbell operates her Ninja Press, where she single-handedly designs, prints, and binds her limited editions, from Thoreau essays to works by contemporary poets.

Diane Shaw, Lafayette’s special collections librarian and archivist discovered Campbell’s books at the annual Oak Knoll Book Fair in New Castle, Del. Shaw has since added all of Campbell’s works to Skillman Library’s growing collection of handmade books, many of which are on display in the circulation area through September. Included in the display is a unique edition of the W.S. Merwin poem, “The Real World of Manuel Córdova.” Campbell will discuss the making of this 15-foot, persimmon-washed accordion book, illustrated with a depiction of the meandering Amazon River, during her Lafayette talk.

“Carolee Campbell’s books are marvelous,” says Shaw. “She is able to combine creative artistry with exquisite craftsmanship to a degree seldom matched in the world of hand-made books today.

Campbell founded Ninja Press in 1984. While there was no specific literary agenda governing the selection of works to be published at the outset, the abiding interest has been contemporary poetry. One of the primary goals is to strive toward the highest standards of excellence in craftsmanship and quality while attempting to find new approaches to the union among word, image, and book structure.

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