Touch of Vermont recap

I just finished my last show of the season – the Touch of Vermont Holiday Gift Market. The show is really well-curated – it has a wonderful mix of artists and food vendors.

I love this show not only because it’s a lot of fun, but also because it’s a great place to see people from the community that I love so dearly – it’s only five minutes from my house. I love living in Montpelier! Another reason why the show rocks is that it’s a fundraiser for Our House of Central Vermont, a children’s advocacy center dedicated to the prevention of child sexual abuse.

I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank my silent partner, also known as my “third hand man” – my hubby. I don’t know what I’d do without him. It takes a lot to make a craft show booth go from this…

Assembling craft show booth

 …to this.

Craft show booth - Blue Roof Designs

He does so much for me and he does it without complaint. So to you – yeah you – I raise my glass. Thanks for another great year!

To sleeve or not to sleeve?

I received an interesting email recently that I’d like to share with you. I was asked if when selling my books on consignment, do I enclose them in protective sleeves.

Clear cellophane bags

In an ideal world, I’d love for my work to always stay pristine with no chance of damage. Of course, when it comes to consignment, this is something that is out of my control.

In general, I send my books off without sleeves and hope for the best. I think it’s important for people to be able to touch my books, turn the pages, and feel the texture of the materials. If a book is intended to be used, then I should be okay with people handling my work.

Plastic sleeves are a potential barrier – they send the message that something shouldn’t be touched. How many packages have you opened so that you could examine the contents? I don’t do that very often.

I believe that people are pretty conscientious when it comes to touching handmade things. In all the years I’ve done craft shows, I’ve never experienced any major losses and I’d like to think that this translates into the consignment environment.

I would like to add that I have total respect for galleries that prefer for work to be packaged in protective sleeves. They have a lot of work to take care of and there’s no way that they can keep their eyes on everything. I know that they do their best to keep work safe.

What do you think? To sleeve or not to sleeve? I’d love to hear what you have to say about it!

Focus on Book Arts Conference 2015

Focus on Book Arts logoThe Focus on Book Arts conference just published their workshop schedule for next year. Hopefully, I will be attending the conference for my fifth time (must save pennies).

This conference gets amazing instructors and this year’s batch includes Karen Hanmer, Jim Croft, and Barbara Tetenbaum. Now I just need to figure out which workshops to take. Registration doesn’t open until March 1, 2015, so I have lots of time to figure it out.

Here are some highlights from the roster of workshops:

Color Woodcut Printmaking with Pam Horne:

The connection between woodcut printmaking and the book arts dates to the 15th century. Explore this historic relationship through a hands-on experience of designing, cutting, and printing woodblocks. Utilizing a combination of Japanese carving technique and Western printing methods we will prepare wood blocks, cut imagery, and print three colors reductively with oil-based inks on Japanese paper. We will print the blocks on a small etching press. Hand printing methods and stenciling will be discussed and experienced. The workshop will conclude with making a folded book structure to house the prints.

I love carving rubber stamps and I think that diving into woodcuts would be a fun next step.

Surface Design on Metal Book Covers with Thomas Ashman:

Metals are some of the most enduring and beautiful elements available to book binders and mixed media artists. They add structure, texture, color, and no small amount of pure gravitas to almost any type of art project. In this course, students will receive an overview of several different types of metal and ways to include them in book covers. Students will learn many ways to alter the surface of metals. While making two 6″ x 8″ metal book covers, students embark on an exploration of several processes including torching, chemical and natural patina and rust, painting, stamping, engraving, creating texture, as well as grinding, cutting, bending, drilling, punching, and attaching of copper, brass, tin and more! Instructor will have all sorts of cool tools for you to try out as well.

I’ve worked a bit on metal in Jill Timm’s Amazing Dremel workshop and would love more experience.

Medieval on the Go: The Girdle Book with Karen Hanmer:

The girdle book is a medieval binding featuring a long extension of leather that could be attached to a traveler’s belt. The leather extension terminates in a decorative knot. In this workshop, students will construct a girdle book on the foundation of a typical Medieval binding: text block sewn on double raised supports; wooden boards shaped all around with special attention given to the inside spine edge to match the text block’s natural shoulder, then laced on and pegged; sewn headbands; covered in vividly-colored leather; strap and pin closure, simple bosses at the corners. This is a fast-paced workshop for students who already have some experience with traditional binding.

This workshop is just an undeniable gem. I want in.

The Focus on Book Arts conference is held every other year at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Worktable Wednesday

Today was the second day of winter storm Damon. I love it when they name snow storms. It’s really beautiful here in Vermont right now.

Today I worked on completing the journals I started in this post. One of my favorite things is to walk into the studio and have materials all cut and ready to go.

I had intended to take more process photos, but I got into the flow and totally forgot.


So here the journal covers are, in the press.


This is the last of the work I’ll be doing in the studio this week. I have to start packing for the Touch of Vermont Holiday Gift Market, which will take place in Montpelier this Saturday. I hope to see you there – it’s a lovely show!

Women’s Festival of Crafts recap

This past weekend I exhibited my work at the Women’s Festival of Crafts in Burlington, VT. This was the 25th year for the show – happy silver anniversary!

The show is really competitive to get into. They publish the application online and you really have to send it in that day – they accept people by postmark (it’s not juried). This year I was on vacation at Yellowstone National Park when the application went live. I had to travel out of the park and find a copy shop where I could print out the application. I don’t think it was how my husband wanted to spend that day of our vacation. Thankfully, the time spent was worth it and I was accepted into the show.

As usual, big thanks go out to my hubby for helping me set up the booth. It’s a lot to do by yourself in three hours, first thing in the morning. It takes a while to get your booth brain going.

Setting up craft show booth

It always amazes me how this pile of stuff turns into a booth. It just doesn’t look that interesting at this point in the process.

Plastic tubs & crates full of craft show supplies

But here it is, all set up!

Craft show booth - Blue Roof Designs

That table in the left corner has a lot of stuff underneath it – that’s where I store my back stock during the show.

Pile of handmade books and plastic tubs

The show was very busy and I had a great time talking to customers and catching up with my artist friends. One of the down sides to exhibiting in a show is that it’s hard to get out and see what other people are selling. I don’t like to wander far from my booth because I want to be able to answer any questions folks might have.

Here’s hoping that I can get in again next year!

Worktable Wednesday

Today I worked on a couple of projects. The first was to finish a photo album that I started back in September. The customer printed out pages with photos from her daughter’s wedding and had them cut and scored, ready for binding.

Supplies for handmade photo album

Here’s a picture of the finished photo album:

Handmade photo album by Elissa Campbell

I was asked to do something I’d never done before, which was to overlay the ivory binding ribbon with a grey linen thread. I think it’s a really interesting combination and adds texture to the binding.

Closeup of handmade photo album by Elissa Campbell

The next thing I worked on was cutting materials for one of my journals. The Red Cranes Chopstick Journal has definitely been my best seller this year and I just sold the last one I had in stock – time to make more!

The cover paper is so beautiful, covered with graceful flying cranes. This is a hard paper to cut into.

Red Japanese Chiyogami paper with white cranes

Then comes the bookcloth, which is an elegant Japanese black mohair.

Cutting bookcloth in progress

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

Handmade journal by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

I should have three of them completed in time for my last craft show of the season, the Touch of Vermont Holiday Gift Market in Montpelier, VT. Maybe I’ll see you there!

How Chiyogami is made

When I show my work at craft shows, I use a number of signs in my booth to give folks information about one thing or another. I have a selection of books that are made with Chiyogami paper (a.k.a. Yuzen), which is silk screened by hand in Japan and I have a small sign that talks a bit about that process.

Too bad I don’t have room to show a video in my booth. Thanks to Pinterest, I just found a wonderful video produced by the Japanese Paper Place that shows Chiyogami as it’s made. The video makes the process look easy, but I’m not fooled. I know that’s hard work.


For those of you who can’t see the embedded YouTube video, here’s the link.

A Bookbinder’s Black Friday

I used to have more of a stomach for Black Friday shopping. I would totally get up at an entirely unfriendly hour to take advantage of some wacky deal that seemed too good to pass up. Now I’d much rather sleep in.

If you’re at all like me, perhaps you would rather take advantage of the online deals (when not shopping locally). Luckily, there are some sales that may be of interest to you bookbinders out there (no waking up early!):

Arnold Grummer‘s is offering Black Friday discounts on presses and papermaking supplies.  All presses are 20% off! From now through 11/30/14, you can save an additional 13% on your order by using code BFSAVE13.

Paper-Papers is offering 50% off clearance items now through 12/1/14 with code clear121. In addition, they’re offering 10% off everything on their site through end of year – no code is required to get the discount.

Cloth Paper Scissors logo

Cloth Paper Scissors is offering 50% storewide from now until Wednesday, December 3rd until 11:59 p.m. Mountain time. This sale includes books, DVDs, and magazines. No need for a code – just go directly to their website and shop!

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I learned how to make books while working at Paper Source during my grad school days. I have lots of love for this store and what’s not to love about free shipping on online orders over $50.00? Now through December 1st, use code THANKS50 at checkout to get the discount.

Paper Mojo is one of my favorite paper sources – they have a great selection and the prices are reasonable. From now until 12:00 midnight EST on December 1st, Paper Mojo is letting you choose your own deal. You can either take 20% off your entire purchase with code BLACK2014 or you can get free domestic ground shipping on your $60+ order and get a free scrap pack with code FRIDAY2014.

Happy shopping!

Celebrate at Studio Place Arts

Over the weekend I attended the opening reception for Celebrate, Studio Place Arts‘ annual member show. There are more than 75 member artists participating and I am thrilled to count myself among them.

The reception was full of folks admiring out the local artwork.

Studio Place Arts opening reception

Artwork at Studio Place Arts opening reception

Artwork at Studio Place Arts opening reception

Studio Place Arts opening reception

My hubby was kind enough to take some pictures of my work on display while I was busy yakking and cramming cheese in my face.

Handmade books on display by Blue Roof Designs

Handmade books on display by Blue Roof Designs

Handmade books on display by Blue Roof Designs

Handmade books on display by Blue Roof Designs

Handmade books on display by Blue Roof Designs

The show is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the Barre area. The show is on all 3 floors of the SPA gallery and includes a wide variety of one-of-a-kind gifts. I bought a handmade something that will be a holiday gift for someone I won’t mention.

The show is open now through December 27th – gallery hours vary by day, so visit the SPA website to see the open hours.

Worktable Wednesday

I started my day off by addressing and stamping around 300 postcards as part of my holiday mailing. I am sooo thankful that stamps are self-adhesive!

bundles of postcards

This is the front of my postcard:

Holiday 2014 postcard mailing for Blue Roof Designs

I love the image – my hubby took the picture. He’s a fantastic photographer. If you’re not already on my snail mail list and would like to be, just let me know and I’ll hook you up. As of now, I have about 3-4 mailings a year.

And in case you’re wondering, Wiggum was of no help with the mailing.

Standard poodle, sleeping

I spent the rest of my day working on photo album covers. I’ve gotten back into high gear as I prepare for two upcoming craft shows – the Women’s Festival of Crafts and the Touch of Vermont Holiday Gift Market. I’m very excited to be exhibiting at both of these venues again this year.

Handmade photo album in progress

Handmade photo album in progress

I can’t believe we’re almost through November – how did that happen? I hope you’re staying warm in your neck of the woods – we have snow on the ground already!