Why Beg an Indulgence When You Can Buy One?

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Announcing the Virginia Arts of the Book Center’s 2010 Annual Members Project.

In the tradition of the founding father of our craft, Johann Guttenberg the VABC will issue a “book” of Indulgences.

For this year’s annual members’ project, we will do a book of indulgences—coupons granting the bearer a pass on some modern sins, offenses, lapses, peccadillos, or transgressions. The books will be sold at an upcoming VABC event and each contributing artist will receive one.


Permission to Embellish Your Life Story – Nancy Kober
Permission to Have a Crush on Your Best Friend—Michael Swanberg
Permission to Commit a Sin of English—Addeane Caelleigh
Permission to Eat Endangered Fish—Angie Hogan
Forgiveness for Your Carbon Foot Print—Garrett
Forgiveness for Texting While Dining with Loved One—Kristin Miles

Permission to Have a Bad Hair Day
Forgiveness for Roasting the State Bird on a spit of the State Tree while Playing the State Song
Permission to Drunk Dial
Permission to Send that Flaming Email
Forgiveness for Forging a Diploma
Permission to Steal One Image from the Internet


The book will be in the form of tear-off certificates or coupons, about the size of stock certificates (such as 10” x 17”). Inside this space is a breakout of template areas detailed at the link below:

View PDF of Page Size Specifications CLICK HERE

To achieve cohesion as a project, we recommend that this template/matrix for design be implemented. Creative ways to engage the two major block spaces (the Record Area 9″x2.5″ and the Certificate 9″x12″) are encouraged. Leave room for a perforation or perf line between them.  Within the Certificate area, artists are encouraged to suggest a border area (12″x9″) with image, text, or artwork that fills to full area.

Pages will be available (if desired) with common preprinted “Certificate Border” (same design as on verso). The space (artwork edge to edge) within the preprinted border is 6″x9″.

A suggestion for each page will have some type of official seal.  Some options discussed:

°         The artists/writers will be free to interpret the seal as they wish, but the seal should always be in the same place (far right side—away from gutter). The seal may be printed; if added, the material used should not be raise the paper thickness by more than double its original thickness, so the pages will not look too bulky in one corner when bound.

°         The pages could have both front and reverse seals (artist’s own on front, VABC on back).

°         The seal could be embossed, and a ribbon or fixture may exceed the edge of the page. Again, something less than double the page thickness will be preferred.


Each participating artist/writer will decide on the topic and design of the sin or transgression for his/her page. The design can be any colors (no guidelines in this area). They will register their choice to Garrett Queen and be listed above to avoid duplication.

Officious, bureaucratic or obscure language consistent with the tone of an indulgence-granting agency is encouraged.

The written part of the design could have blanks to be filled in, like an official number or the name of the person who buys it. The blanks could be filled in with a special color, such as the violet or green ink used historically for church documents.

Participants who want to design their own left (receipt) side of the page are encouraged to think about the interplay between the left and right sides.  For example, one size could have a different tone than the other.

Book features

The pages will be bound into books with an edition size of about 50. We will each make 55 copies of our prints to hit this goal and leave room for selecting the best. Each participating artist/writer will produce one page and will receive a copy of the book.

All the pages will be the same Crane Lettra paper. It is cut to size.

The cover may have an inset hot wax seal, perhaps be tied with “red tape” to give it an “official” appearance.

Subcommittees will be set up to decide on the printing of the reverse side of the sheets, cover design and binding, technical specifications such as paper type and size, and table of contents and title page.

For questions contact:

Garrett Queen
VABC Printer in Residence
& Clerk of the Works

4 Responses

  • Hey…will you indulge me and allow me to purchase a copy of this?

    520 906 8661

    Michael Green
  • Can I purchase a book of indulgences?

    Michael Green
  • Publication of the Indulgences project has been rescheduled to this spring, as a result of the disruption in our operations (move to Ivy Rd location).
    We’ll shortly be announcing a date for a Release Event and a REVERSE AUCTION for the Book of Indulgences.
    We’re planning on “previewing” the Indulgences project on November 12, 5:30-8PM at our VABC Raucous Auction. (Rumor has it that you can bid on the creation of a custom indulgence to absolve your own special sin).

    Garrett Queen

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  • New workshops from VABC « Charlottesville Words :

    [...] you’re contemplating joining as a member, you can participate in our collaborative project, “Indulgences.” Contact Garrett Queen [...]

    -- May 6, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

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