A memorial was held today at Columbia College’s Center for the Book and Paper Arts, for Barbara Lazarus Metz who died last December. She and Marilyn Sward founded the Center bringing book and paper arts into the legitimate arts community here in Chicago. I blogged in February about my friendship with Barbara.
Today’s memorial was worthy of an artist. It began with us all making book covers for a memorial scrapbook. Many of Barbara’s papers were available for decorating/ collaging the covers— marbled papers, monoprints, and watercolors she had created at Artists Bookworks, Columbia College, Ragdale, and Oxbow. After the covers were completed, students at the school helped with drilling holes and gold leaf stamping. One of Barbara’s sons had printed images of Barbara’s life, which served as the contents of the scrapbook.
The memorial service followed the binding of the books where many of us spoke about our connections to Barbara. Listening to stories and experiences over her span of 81 years was engaging, poignant, and inspiring. It is remarkable how one life can touch so many others and in an incredible variety of ways.
At the end, over wine and hors d’oeuvres, we shared stories and memories, in an abbreviated but intense shiva. Some of the books Barbara had made and some of her book collection were available for purchase, the proceeds going to the scholarship fund her children are establishing.
JB felt this was the kind of celebration he envisioned at his parting— a little artmaking, remembrances and laughter, and some hearty drinking.
Here’s to a life well-used and well-lived.
A scholarship fund has been established in Barbara’s name. Contact Columbia’s Center for the Book and Paper Arts, 312.369.6639, if you are interested in contributing.
(Photos by JB)