Elissa R. Campbell | Blue Roof Designs

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.


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!


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.


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

Green leather

Leather close-up

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.


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…


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


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.


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.

Book Arts Guild of VT Spring Exhibit

I recently visited the Book Arts Guild of Vermont‘s spring exhibit, Nature: Beasts and Botanicals, at the Rae Harrell Gallery in Hinesburg, VT. I’m always amazed by the wonderful variety of work created by B.A.G. members and I’m proud to have my work exhibited alongside them.

I have two pieces in the show – A Dog’s Diary


…and Rabbit Glue.


One piece in the show that I enjoyed was Bestiary, uncommon creatures A-I, by Marcia Vogler. It contained nine fabulous, imagined creatures that I wish really existed. Marcia has a great sense of humor, which shines through in this piece.

Artists' book by Marcia Vogler

I also liked Maryann Riker’s A Pop-Up Field Guide to Flowers of North America. She’s got some mad pop-up skills. Seriously.

Pop-up book by Maryann Riker

The show is open now through June 16, 2014. If you can’t make it, you can check out images of the featured pieces on the B.A.G. website.

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.


Worktable Wednesday

Tonight I attended a meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. The hands-on activity was led by Amy Burns, one of our members.

The project was cake box books, but I didn’t have any cake. I had to make a vegetarian chili book instead.

Materials to make handmade book

Sewing handmade book

Handmade book made from a box

Spine of handmade book made from a box

My book now lives in my pantry, next to the bag of vegetarian chili mix it rendered homeless. I still need the directions on how to make it!

Book Arts Guild of Vermont exhibit: Shaping Pages, take 2

The Book Arts Guild of Vermont‘s spring exhibit, Shaping Pages has a new venue! The Creative Space Gallery, a great friend to the Guild, is hosting us through late June.

My book Little Known Facts About Crap is in the exhibit. If you didn’t get to see it at the S.P.A.C.E Gallery, you have a second chance!

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

Get thee to the gallery and see some great crap!

You can view images from the exhibit on the Guild website. Be sure to check out our review in Seven Days, where the author granted my book a “Funny Award”.

If you’d like to check out the show, here’s the scoop:

Creative Space Gallery
235 Main Street
Vergennes, VT 05491
(802) 877-3850

Dates: May 3, 2012 – June 24, 2012
Gallery Hours: Thursday – Friday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday: 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

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?


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?


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’…

Book Arts Guild of Vermont exhibit: Shaping Pages

Book Arts Guild of Vermont exhibit sign for "Shaping Pages"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.

Not only does the gallery host exhibits, but it also manages a number of artist studios. Overall, it’s a breathtaking creative environment.

The show at the S.P.A.C.E Gallery was one of the stops on the First Friday Art Walk, a Burlington event held from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. It was mobbed!

I was thrilled to have my book Little Known Facts About Crap in the exhibit…

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

…and even more thrilled to see folks checking it out…

Dude holding my handmade book "Little Known Facts About Crap"

That's right dude...I was spying on you!

…and even more thrilled to learn that it sold at the opening!

Red dot next to artwork sign - Elissa Campbell's handmade book sold!

This is the first time that I’ve seen a red dot next to my name. It’s weird and I like it!

I wonder if they’ll give the red dot to me when the show ends. Should I ask?

Yes, I’m a dork.

Guild members submitted some seriously fabulous work for the show. One of my favorite pieces is Marcia Vogler’s Dream Burger:

Handmade book "Dream Burger" by Marcia Vogler

Dream Burger indeed!

Everything Marcia makes is super-awesome. That’s right Marcia – if you’re reading this, you now know that I think you have mad skills.

If you’d like to check out the show, here’s the scoop:

S.P.A.C.E. Gallery
266 Pine Street Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 578-2512

Dates: April 6, 2012 – April 28, 2012
Gallery Hours: Thursday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

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 was all about accordion books.

I love making accordion books because they give me the opportunity to use whatever fun papers catch my fancy.

Accordion books prepped for gluing

This week has been crazy.

I’m trying to make as many books as possible so I can bring them to my first show of the holiday season – the Art and Artisans Holiday Market. This is my first year attending the show as a visiting artist – I’m so excited!

Accordion books prepped for gluing

My studio looks like a bomb went off in it. Seriously.

There are piles of everything everywhere. At least the piles of accordion books are pretty.

Accordion books prepped for gluing

This evening I’m off to the monthly meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. I’m looking forward to a gilding demonstration with Maryanne Grebenstein!

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