On January 8, 2018 Northwoods Book Arts Guild lost a dear, long time friend of the Fairbanks book arts community. Marilyn Askelin died suddenly while on her way home after hip surgery in Anchorage. Her family, friends, and book arts community are grief-stricken by the news.
Marilyn was an active member of Northwoods Book Arts Guild and was elected to its Board of Directors in 2014. Her exceptional organizational skills, interpersonal relationships, and a love of bookmaking were hallmarks of her participation in the Guild from the beginning.
Many of us will remember her highly organized process of entry intake for the exhibition BOOKS AS ART I in 2014 and the charming appeal of her Teeny Tiny Tomes in that Bear Gallery exhibition.
More recently Marilyn’s interests in the Guild focused on its scholarship program. She directed the streamlining of the application process, including making it accessible on the Guild’s website.
Dear to her heart was leading the book repair committee for the Guild. As an outreach project for the Guild, she and her committee members regularly met to repair books donated to the Alaska Literacy Council. Marilyn’s dedication kept this program, now in its seventh year, focused and on schedule. She leaves behind a valuable written archive of this group’s chronology, learning, and growth over time. This work, so important to her, continues.
Most of all, we will never forget Marilyn’s love of books – their history and the very materials from which they were made. It was no accident that she drove around town with her recognizable license plate announcing her love of “PAPER.” She never stopped being a book artist and vital member of the Guild.
Marilyn grew up in Michigan, the oldest of four daughters. She had a career in the Army and served in Germany before being stationed in Anchorage. When she left the service, she moved to Fairbanks where she married her husband Bob. Fairbanks became her home. Here she came to enjoy friends and a variety of interests in the arts, including watercolor painting, Zentangles, and, perhaps most importantly, book arts.
Members of Northwoods Book Arts Guild join her family in mourning her loss while expressing gratitude for her many gifts and contributions.
As requested by her family, donations in Marilyn’s honor may be made to Alaska Literacy Council (517 Gaffney Rd., Fairbanks, AK 99701) and Northwoods Book Arts Guild (PO Box 83572, Fairbanks, AK 99708).
Marilyn’s obituary is available on legacy.com.