Category : Book Arts Guild of Vermont

The Book as Art exhibit

I’m so excited to have work on display as part of The Book as Art exhibit at Axel’s Gallery & Frame Shop in Waterbury, VT. The exhibit was co-curated by Axel’s owner Whitney Aldrich and visual artist Marilyn Gillis and is open now through April 8, 2017.

Window display of altered books

Here’s what the gallery has to say about the exhibit:

In the exhibit Book as Art, nine women artists explore the limitless artistic possibilities of the book. Each work challenges our ideas of what a book can be with innovative structures, content, materials and creativity. Artist books will delight and fascinate as they move you beyond the page.

I have several pieces in the show and I’m thrilled to be joined by the fine company of other Book Arts Guild of Vermont members – Marilyn Gillis, Dorsey Hogg, Penne Tompkins, Ann Joppe-Mercure, Rebecca Boardman, Vera Ryersbach, Judy Sgantas, and Marcia Vogler.

Note: I apologize in advance for the quality of my photos – boo to funky lighting.

You can find one of my favorite Improv books in the exhibit, DOs and DON’Ts for Not Being a Dumbass… 

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - DOs and DON'Ts for Not Being a Dumbass

…as well as one of my most recent pieces, Peace Kannon.

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - Peace Kannon

Rounding out my contributions to the show are Godzilla, Extreme Couponer and a batch of small leather journals with varied stitching.

Handmade books by Elissa Campbell

So enough about my work – I’d like to show you some pieces by my co-exhibitors. First off are two pieces by Marcia Vogler. I have long been envious of her illustrative style. She’s just.so.good.

By the way, check out how Whitney displayed Marcia’s panel book on the wall. She created a backing support and clipped the book to it. I have to admit that I was bad and peeked behind the magic curtain:

Next up is Rebecca Boardman. In America’s Transparent Dichotomy, she cleverly used slide mounts in a Jacob’s Ladder to create a piece in response to our current political climate.

Cochleate utilizes some amazing folding that makes my brain hurt (in a good way). Rebecca created the stand specifically for displaying this piece.

And lastly, here are two pieces by Dorsey Hogg, Vermont’s master of altered books. I can describe her skill as nothing other than insanity death folding.

There are so many wonderful pieces in this show – it’s totally worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Here’s the scoop on gallery hours:

  • Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Axel’s is located at 5 Stowe Street.

Light it up with Jill Dawson

I recently attended the monthly meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont and we had an awesome presenter for the month of October – Jill Dawson. She introduced us to the world of paper circuitry, which I knew nothing about.

In a nutshell, you use conductive metal tape (instead of wires) to create an electronic circuit. You can use this to add lights to your work. I hope that I do a decent job of explaining what I learned.

Paper circuitry handout - Jill Dawson

We received a kit with the following supplies:

Paper circuitry supplies

Jill started off by introducing us to the basics of how the lights operate. The LED light has two wires (leads) coming out of it, one longer than the other. The longer wire is the positive lead and the shorter wire is negative. To get the light to turn on, you have to connect the long wire to the positive side of the battery and the short wire to the negative side.

Battery and LED light

In addition to the traditional bulby looking lights, there are these cool things called circuit stickers. They kind of look like metallic candy corn. The stickers have positive and negative parts, just like the bulbs (it’s marked right on them). They are much less bulky than the other lights and are probably more appropriate for use in books.

Circuit stickers

Jill taught us how to make a parallel circuit. In the example below, the circles indicate where the battery will be placed. The copper tape creates two paths that will lead to both the positive and negative sides of the battery. The two lines of tape have to be in close proximity (parallel) in order to connect to both leads on the light. You can place more than one LED on a parallel circuit.

Sample parallel circuit

It was recommended that we bend the ends of the LEDs in different ways so that we can more easily determine which lead is positive and which is negative. Jill bends the negative wire in a zig-zag shape and the positive wire in a curly shape.

I placed the copper tape on my card so that the two lines were in a close, parallel configuration. The battery is located in the bottom right-hand corner of the card – the binder clip holds it in place underneath the folded corner. I touched the positive and negative leads of the LED to the corresponding strips of tape and voila! We have light!

Parallel paper circuit

We then had time to design the card so that it incorporated the light(s). My drawing skills are somewhat lacking, but I managed to crank out a creepy eye – it looks pretty cool with the red light behind it.

Handmade card with LED light

I think that there’s a lot of potential for using lights in bookmaking. I loved Carol Barton‘s Five Luminous Towers, A Book to be Read in the Dark from the first moment I saw it. I’m starting to understand how something like that can be done.

The thing that has my brain churning is how you choose a location for the battery – I wouldn’t want it to stick out and it would have to be accessible so that it could be replaced as needed. I’m thinking that a book cover could be made from two thicknesses of bookboard, with one layer having a recess cut out for the battery.

I’ll have to play with the technology and see what develops!

Book Works – Book Arts Guild of Vermont exhibit

BAG 2015 exhibit postcard

The Spring 2015 exhibit from the Book Arts Guild of Vermont is entitled Book Works, and includes work from members and friends interested in the structure and format of books. The artists redefine the normal concept of the book, using various mediums and techniques to construct or reconstruct pieces that tell a story, and can be ‘read’ in some way by the viewer. Other works represent the broad definition of the book as explored by painters, textile artists, and paper lovers.

The exhibit is taking place at the SEABA Center Gallery at 404 Pine Street in Burlington, VT during the month of April. The opening is tonight, on April 3rd, from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., during First Friday Art Walk.

I have one piece in the show, Superhero Handbook – this is one of my books created during the 2014 Book Arts Improv.

If you’re interested in hearing me talk about the book, come to the gallery on April 8th from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Members of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont will present to discuss their work. I think it’s fascinating to hear about artists’ creative process and inspirations, especially in person – it’s so much better than just reading a sign on the wall.

I hope to see you at the gallery!

Leather journals with the Book Arts Guild of Vermont

In the past week, I talked about my preparations for my teaching gig at this month’s Book Arts Guild of Vermont meeting. Well, the meeting finally happened and it was lots of fun.

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There were 20ish people in attendance, which is a bit of a teaching challenge. I totally admire teachers who handle this size crowd on a daily basis – I don’t know how they do it. It takes a lot of energy!

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I taught Keith Smith‘s Diamond X binding, which can be found on pages 246 – 247 of his book 1- 2- & 3-Section Sewings: Non-Adhesive Binding Volume II. I highly recommend that you get the book if you don’t already have it – it has instructions for lots of fantastic bindings.

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I was thrilled when everyone at the workshop completed their books. My heartfelt thanks go to B.A.G. for giving me the opportunity to teach to such a wonderful crowd!

Worktable Wednesday

Next week I’m doing a hands-on presentation at the monthly Book Arts Guild of Vermont meeting. I’ll be teaching Keith Smith‘s Diamond X binding using a soft leather cover.

I spent today prepping the kits that I’ll be handing out to participants. First came this awesome leather:

Pile of green leather squares

Then came the anxiety that accompanies such lovely leather – I was really afraid of messing up the measurements. I somehow overcame my fear and just dove into the cutting. This binding has a strap closure that will attach to the back of the journal.

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After the leather was cut, I had to measure out pieces of thread. I chose the green leather to coordinate with some flax thread I won in an auction at PBI. Measuring seems like it should be an easy task…apparently this is not the case for me. The thread went from being in a tidy skein…

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…to a most massive knotted nightmare. I think I spent more than an hour untangling it.

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Then came my handouts. Even though the B.A.G. meeting isn’t one of my longer classes, I decided that I wanted to make cool handouts anyway. These are four pages long and include leather-related resources and references.

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I’m really looking forward to teaching at the B.A.G. meeting. Come on by if you’re in the area – the meeting is on July 9th, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Society Church located at 152 Pearl Street in Burlington, VT. Click here for more information on directions/parking.

Worktable Wednesday

Vermont Open Studio Weekend signsToday was a very busy day. I had two presentations – one for the Vermont Crafts Council (VCC) and one for the Book Arts Guild of Vermont.

My worktable got no action today.

The first presentation for the VCC was about how artists can use social media for promoting Vermont Open Studio Weekend. I had a very lively audience with lots of questions. I like when people keep me on my toes!

The next presentation was done with my dear friend, Jill Abilock of Six Loons Studio – we talked about the basics of using a Dremel.

Worktable covered in Dremel supplies

The topic was inspired by Jill Timm‘s workshop, The Amazing Dremel. Our presentation was in no way meant to replace the fabulousness that is Jill’s workshop. In fact, she’s teaching not too far from here next month – the New England Guild of Book Workers is hosting her workshop on May 10 – 11 at the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, MA.

We take safety seriously at the Book Arts Guild of Vermont and we brought face masks for everyone to wear while we worked on dusty materials. It was fun presenting to an audience of masked women!

And I achieved my one goal for the presentation – to not bleed. I figured that blood might be a deterrent to anyone wanting to try a Dremel for the first time.

 

Shaping Pages Review

Handmade book "Little Known Facts About Crap" by Elissa Campbell

The Book Arts Guild of Vermont‘s spring exhibit, Shaping Pages opened on April 6th and is on display now through April 28th at the S.P.A.C.E Gallery in Burlington, VT.

My book Little Known Facts About Crap is in the exhibit, one of the books I created during the 2012 Book Arts Improv.

I was surprised to see that Seven Days, one of Vermont’s independent newspapers, reviewed our exhibit.

Overall, it was a favorable review. For that reason, it’s hard for me to express my concern that the writer doesn’t seem to know much about the book arts. The following comments worried me:

None of the works is an actual book, of course. Among the techniques in evidence here are repurposing book pages in sculptural constructions; making “pages” out of something else, such as cloth; referencing the concept of books in a mixed-media facsimile; and using printed text within a wholly un-book-like artwork. Some pieces in the exhibit seem to qualify as “book” art only because they are constructed from paper. But then, who said there were rules?

Huh?

Our exhibit included flag books, accordion books, and coptic bindings, among others. Those seems like “actual books” to me. And to imply that a book can only be “real” if it’s made of paper?

Wuh?

Check out the exhibit for yourself.

Even though I’m not happy with how the book arts were portrayed in the review, I’m excited that my book was singled out:

If there were a Funny Award in this exhibit, it would have to go to “Little Known Facts About Crap,” by Elissa Campbell. Inside the covers of this small book are tiny paper “pages” the shape and color of turds. On these Campbell has written nonsensical “facts,” such as “Holy crap can be repaired with duct tape.” With an apt self-deprecation that many legitimate authors ought to display, she concludes, “The contents of this book: total crap.”

I now have a virtual Funny Award in my studio. Whee!

And I’d like to point out that she did state that my piece was a book, didn’t she?

Inside the covers of this small book are tiny paper “pages” the shape and color of turds.

Just sayin’…

Worktable Wednesday

Tonight I’m doing a workshop for the Book Arts Guild of Vermont – folded books. The structures I’m teaching were either invented by Hedi Kyle or were inspired by her work.

Paper models of origami fold books

I wanted to make sure that I had the structures nailed down, so today I worked on making models. I had hoped to get the models done before today, but I’m in week three of the never-ending cough. I am sick of being sick! 🙁

Researching folded books

I am loving Alisa Golden‘s book Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms. It has directions for a number of folded structures, including Hedi’s Crown Binding – I’ll be teaching this binding tonight.

Worktable Wednesday

Today’s worktable was off-site as I attended the monthly meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont (B.A.G.). On the menu – making my first piano hinge book.

I know what you’re thinking – you never made a piano hinge book before? At least 5 people at the meeting asked me that.

Nope, never made one before. I can’t do everything, try as I may. 🙁

I was loving the fluorescent colored paper – it reminded me of the 80’s. The little triangles we cut from the pages looked like teeny paper birds. Brightly colored birds on a Fiskar sky.

Fluorescent pages for piano hinge book

 Here’s the spine of my completed book:

Spine of piano hinge book

And here’s the obligatory wingspan shot:

Completed piano hinge book

 Many thanks to B.A.G. member Jill Abilock for teaching such a fun workshop!

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