Elissa R. Campbell | Blue Roof Designs

Worktable Wednesday

Today started out with the most awesome surprise. The doorbell rang around 8:00 a.m. and I opened the door to find a former student of mine bearing a batch of leather! She said that she wasn’t going to use it and thought that I might be able to make something with it.

I happily took it off her hands.

Pile of leather

I didn’t use any of the leather today. Instead, I continued working on a batch of coptic journals that I started earlier this week.

Paper in punching cradle

Unbound cover and pages for journal

Handmade coptic journal in progress

Stack of handmade coptic journals

I’m feeling very productive today!

Star and Tunnel Books Workshop

This past Saturday I taught a Star and Tunnel Book workshop at Studio Place Arts in Barre, VT. I had 5 very industrious women in my class and they managed to finish both books ahead of schedule.

Bookbinding workshop students hard at work

I love setting up for workshops. I get to make place settings, kinda like Thanksgiving, except we’re making books instead of eating turkey.

Bookbinding workshop setup

 I have more classes coming up this summer, so stay tuned to find out more!

Student working on tunnel book

Accordion book tutorials

Accordion book by Elissa Campbell

I recently received a request for directions on how I make my accordion books. Although I haven’t written a tutorial myself, I found several great tutorials online.

Feeling adventurous? Try a triangle!

If you’re interested in other bookbinding tutorials, you can find a bunch on my Pinterest Board Bookbinding | Tutorials. The board not only includes tutorials on how to make books, but also includes directions for making your own bookbinding equipment. To date, I have over 800 pins on this board – check it out!

Worktable Wednesday

  Japanese stab binding book covers and chopsticks

Today I finished up seven chopstick journals that have been sitting in my studio, unfinished, for several months. Those covers were just taunting me from my shelves – Hey lady, make us into books!

I feel much better now.

Japanese stab binding book covers and pages

Japanese stab binding in progress

Handmade Japanese stab bound books

I need to get the green journal on Etsy. I have to take some new photographs of it to make that happen. Adding it to the to-do list…

Flexagons, part 2

Last month I wrote a tutorial for the woven flexagon. I asked for pictures of any flexagons you have made, and many thanks to Jessica Wright who sent me a link to her video showing the operation another type of flexagon.

I think this is the tutorial you would use to make one yourself. Her tutorial includes a pdf that you can print out to show how it’s put together. And if that’s not enough, she also has a pdf that shows you how to operate the flexagon.

Thanks go out to Cathy Miranker for her generosity!

Worktable Wednesday

The weather folks have been warning us all week about a snow storm that was coming our way and their predictions have proven correct. The snow has been coming down steadily for hours. Luckily, my studio is in my home, so there hasn’t been any disruption in my work.

Snowy window view

View out my studio window

Today I worked on making a model tunnel book for an upcoming workshop I’m teaching at Studio Place Arts.

Folded paper for tunnel book

Folded and cut paper for tunnel book

Basic tunnel book structure

Tunnel book cover in progress

Glued tunnel book cover

Completed tunnel book

Completed tunnel book

I love the crazy, bright orange bookcloth that I chose for the model. The book has a serious Halloween vibe going on. I’m looking forward to the class!

Workshop at Springfield H.S. Arts Academy

I spent the last two days teaching bookbinding at the Springfield High School Arts Academy in Springfield, Vermont. Over the course of those days, I taught a total of 123 students in eight classes.

This was my fourth year teaching at this school and I had a great time. As I’ve mentioned before (here and here), the Springfield Arts Academy is based on the premise that integrating the arts into all subjects helps to reinforce concepts that students are learning. The classes I visited included German, American Studies, and Supernatural Literature (who wouldn’t want to take that class?).

Springfield High School Arts Academy students hard at work

I love the fact that the arts are integrated into so many different subject areas. The timing of my residency was perfect – it came on the heels of a training I recently took through the Vermont Arts Council and Saint Michaels College (among other organizations). We learned about integrated arts learning through readings and observation of classes at the Integrated Arts Academy in Burlington, Vermont.

If you’d like to learn more about arts integration, visit the Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge website – it’s a wonderful resource.

I taught three different book structures – the flag book, woven flexagon, and star book. Each class had a different structure, so I was constantly on my toes with the directions.

Handmade woven flexagon books

Flexagon party

As in years past, I had 100% participation in all of the classes and the students worked really hard. It still amazes me how engaged students get in the process of creating. All of the students were friendly and welcoming to me.

I am amused by the inevitable snickers that come from my talking about the bone folder. Heh, heh…bone. They are teenagers, after all.

Student working on flag book

Sadly, I didn’t have an assistant this year. This meant that I had a run around a lot more and my feet were on fire by the end of the day (totally worth it). Luckily, I had students to escort me from class to class. There are so many elevators in weird places in that school and I never know where I’m going.

Cart full of bookbinding supplies

The cart of awesome

All of the classes were working on the theme of icons and it was approached in different ways. Some classes were focused on cultural icons, while others worked with those in popular culture. The work will culminate in the school’s Annual Arts Festival, where all the books will be on display.

Worktable Wednesday

I started today gluing covers for some coptic journals. I used marbled papers by Nancy Morains that I picked up at last year’s Paper and Book Intensive.

Marbled paper and bookboard

Gluing bookboard covers for handmade book

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I glue in a way that’s against tradition – I put glue on the board and not on the paper. I tried brushing glue on the paper today and it was really difficult to control. I find that gluing the board gives me greater control.

It’s weird – my brain tells me this is wrong but my hands tell me it’s right.

Gluing bookboard covers for handmade book

I also sewed a couple of my space travel journals with a double needle coptic stitch. Each journal requires four needles to complete the sewing.

Coptic stitch sewing in progress

Coptic stitch sewing in progress

Handmade coptic journal

I love how the black and red threads look together. Three space travel journals down, nine more in the edition to go!

Ken Leslie’s Gold Dome Cycle

Last week I attended the opening for Ken Leslie‘s Gold Dome Cycle at the Vermont Supreme Court. I was particularly interested in seeing the exhibit because I’m taking a workshop with Ken at the Paper and Book Intensive in May – he’ll be teaching how to make his toroidal (a.k.a. doughnut-shaped) book structures.

For Gold Dome Cycle, Ken painted the view from the top of the Vermont State House every two weeks over the course of one year. One of the cool things about the shape of his books is that it allows him to depict things in a panoramic view. As a resident of Montpelier, I loved seeing his rendering of buildings I pass every day and take for granted (the DMV!).

The piece is really stunning. The person who created the frame is a genius.

Handmade book by Ken Leslie - Gold Dome Cycle

Gold Dome Cycle

Handmade book by Ken Leslie - Gold Dome Cycle

Gold Dome Cycle – detail

In addition to Gold Dome Cycle, there were more than a dozen pieces on display – all stunning.

Handmade book by Ken Leslie - Akureyri Summer Cycle

Akureyri Summer Cycle

Handmade book by Ken Leslie - Svalbard Summer Cycle

Svalbard Summer Cycle

Handmade book by Ken Leslie - Kotzebue Summer Cycle

Kotzebue Summer Cycle

Handmade book by Ken Leslie - Akureyri Summer Cycle

Akureyri Summer Cycle

The exhibit runs now through March 28th at the Vermont Supreme Court in Montpelier, Vermont. If you’d like to learn more about Ken’s work, check out the wonderful video below, produced by Stuck in Vermont.

Worktable Wednesday

Today I worked on completing covers for more of my space travel journals. I started off by carving out the insets for the spaceship badges.

Bookboard and space exploration scout badge

Carved bookboard Next, I covered the boards in bookcloth…

Gluing bookboard covers for handmade book

…which was followed by gluing in the end pages. Luckily, I was able to find another copy of Stars by Isaac Asimov. This means that the journal will be produced in an edition of twelve. I guess I would call it a variable edition because the end pages are all different.

End pages of glued book covers

Here’s what the journal looks like when it’s finished:

Handmade space travel journal by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

Handmade space travel journal by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

It has both white and black pages. The black pages are for those who feel that they need to take space notes. Doesn’t everyone have space notes?

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