Book Arts Guide to Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Handmade coptic bound journal by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof DesignsWelcome to the 2014 Book Arts Guide to Vermont Fall Open Studio Weekend

It’s time for my annual nod to the many book artists participating in Open Studio Weekend. Some of these talented folks are also members of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont, an organization I hold near and dear to my heart.

I created the Google map below, which includes all of the studios to help you plan your travels. Unfortunately, the book arts studios aren’t very close to each other. By the way, I’m studio #91.

I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the purple Vermont Studio Tour Guide. The colors of the studio numbers in this post match the colored markers in the Google map below.

There are several ways to get your hands on a map:

First stop is #2 Meta Strick. Meta really is a Jackie of all trades. She does wonderful mixed media work, including dolls that have a book component. It’s quite wonderful to read the “history” of each doll. She has a great philosophy that you can make anything into a book. Meta has lots of fans, so don’t be surprised if you get to her studio and it’s mobbed. Perhaps pick up some coffee and a snack before you head on over?

Next stop is Shelburne Pond Studios, where you’ll see #17, Lyna Lou Nordstrom. She is a wonderful printmaker, focusing her work on the painterly aspects of monoprinting. Her techniques include the silkscreen process, collagraph and solar plate etching.

The last stop is #90 Kelly McMahon of May Day Studio. Kelly is a letterpress master, carving many of her designs in linoleum for her beautiful gift wraps (which are totally frame-able). She was lucky enough to intern at the San Francisco Center for the Book and packs a one-two punch, also being a bookbinder. Kelly’s studio is about 1.6 miles from mine.

If you do go to any of the studios, share your experiences here and I will live vicariously through you. If you have any pictures, I’d love to see them…you can even do a guest post on my blog!

Make that Book Arts Tour map bigger!

Vermont Open Studio Weekend – Eastern Washington County Artists

Vermont Open Studio Weekend 2010Vermont’s 22nd Open Studio Weekend is just around the corner (October 4 & 5)! If you’re planning on visiting my studio (you know you are…), you can visit other great artists within a 20-ish minute drive of here.

There are 11 studios and galleries participating in eastern Washington County. Artists are offering exhibits and demonstrations of pottery, woodworking, painting, and more.

I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the purple 2014 Vermont Studio Tour Guide. There are several ways to get your hands on a map:

Here’s the rundown of who’s who (click on the links to learn more about specific artists):

I created the map below to help you plan your travels. Because the studios are so close to each other, you can visit quite a few of them within a short period of time.

Have fun!

Make that map bigger!

Wonderful Wednesday

When my phone rings at 9:00 a.m., odds are that it’s a telemarketer. I quickly tell Mr. or Ms. Talker that I’d like to be removed from the calling list. I usually waste no time.

Good thing I didn’t launch into my shpiel today, because this was not the usual call. One of my customers called to tell me that she had a bunch of bookmaking books and supplies that she wanted to give to me (she was a teacher). Then she drove from an hour away to drop everything off – I was floored by her generosity!

The collection of books included many titles not already in my library, which is amazing because I have a lot of bookbinding books. In general, the books were teacher-focused – this is perfect for me because I’m on the Vermont Arts Council’s Teaching Artist Roster and I’m always looking to improve my teaching skills. I was especially thrilled to see a copy of Paul Johnson’s A Book of One’s Own, a book I’ve long had on my wish list.

Pile of bookbinding books

In addition to the books, I also received supplies and a number of kits for both bookbinding and papermaking. I’m looking forward to working on some of these with my niece.

Pile of bookmaking & papermaking kits

Whatever I decide not to keep, I’ll be giving those away to folks in the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. I figure that the least I can do is pay it forward.

Many thanks to Carol for the wonderful gift!

Experiencing technical difficulties

computer motherboard

It seems that there was some very bad computer fallout after my last blog post. Those who subscribed to my blog received an unholy number of notifications and for that, I am so SO sorry.

I want to reassure you that it was not virus-related. Apparently the notification got caught up in some kind of weird loop thing that made the sending computer think that the email never went out. I hope that makes sense. I believe the problem has been resolved.

Thanks to all of you for hanging in there with me. And I sincerely hope that you don’t get this notification 100 times.

Worktable Wednesday

It feels like there’s not a lot of finishing going on in the studio lately. Well, I did finish this one coptic journal today, so that was something.

Coptic book sewing in progress

What I’m talking about is my annual September fever. That’s when I realize that Open Studio Weekend and classes and craft shows are right around the corner…and that my inventory is low. And why haven’t I been better about keeping up my inventory during the summer? Why, why, why?

So I start with the lists and the planning. What do I need to make? Do I have the materials? What are my upcoming deadlines?

Then the calendars come out…September – November. I block out days with classes and shows so I can see what my production availability looks like.


And once I know how much of each book I need, I can start cutting paper, bookboard, and bookcloth. I spend a lot of time hunched over my paper cutter. That’s why not much of anything else gets finished.

Sheets of paper

It might sound like I’m complaining, but of course, I love all of it.

The best part is when I need to shop for materials. Today I purchased one of my favorite things – ribbons! I have long been a super-fan of Offray‘s 1/4″ double-faced satin ribbons – they’re affordable, good quality, and super affordable. You can usually get a 10 yard spool for $0.25 when on sale.

I bought my usual colors of ivory and black, but also one spool each of some new fluorescent colors – yellow, pink, green, and orange. I have no idea how I’ll use them, but the colors were just screaming at me.


Are fluorescent colors officially back “in” again? I must be out of the eighties rewind.

Silver custom order

I’ve been working on a custom order for a photo album – the customer will be bringing me album pages pre-printed with photos to be bound into the album. I love these kinds of personalized books.

The combination of materials she chose is quite lovely – a silver handmade paper with ivory baby’s breath, grey bookcloth, and an ivory iridescent ribbon.

Handmade paper, bookcloth, and ribbon

Since I’m heading into craft show season, I decided to cut a few sheets of bookboard, instead of just cutting what I needed for the order.

Pile of bookboard

After drilling the spine holes in the board, it was time to start the binding process.

Handmade photo album covers in progress

I had a special request for infills on the inside covers, which isn’t standard with my production lines. Infills help to even out the surface of the board so you don’t see any paper edges when you glue down end sheets.

Handmade photo album covers in progress

The covers are now in the press so that they can dry flat. Warped covers make Elissa sad.

I’ll be sure to show you the completed photo album once it’s all bound.

Demos & Desserts at Miller’s Thumb

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of doing a bookbinding demonstration at the Miller’s Thumb Gallery in Greensboro, Vermont. The gallery is really lovely and is well worth a visit if you’re ever in the area.

I arrived at the gallery about an hour ahead of time because I left extra-early – I have a habit of getting lost whenever I drive to Greensboro. I had some time to poke around in Willey’s, the general store next door. The place was hopping and I had to wiggle around to get through the aisles. The store is a local treasure – it has a wonderful feel to it.

The gallery folks brought some of my work closer to the demo area so people could see what I had available for purchase.

Handmade books by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

I demonstrated the binding of my new leather coptic journals. The covers and signatures were prepared in advance so I could focus on the sewing. I managed to finish 2 1/2 journals while I was there.

The gallery hosts demonstrations throughout the summer and the series is officially called Demos and Desserts. I’ve talked about the demo, now here are the desserts – cookies!

Plates of cookies

Woohoo – Milanos! And handmade chocolate coconut yummies made by gallery staff (and fellow book artist) Anna.

I had a great time during my demonstration – many thanks to the gallery for inviting me!

Worktable Wednesday

Today I spent a lot of time folding paper for accordion books. Folding, folding, folding.

Folded cardstock

I’ve accumulated quite a few sets of covers that are just waiting to be filled.

I also worked on lining leather with lokta paper. These will be covers for coptic journals I’ll be binding at this Saturday’s Demos and Desserts at the Miller’s Thumb gallery.


I spent the majority of my time working on a final report for the Vermont Arts Council – this was for the grant I received to go to the Paper and Book Intensive. I am a chronic self-editor, so there was lots of typing and erasing.

I finally printed out a draft and forced asked my hubby to look it over. Once he gave me the okay, I decided that I had spent enough time on it.

I hope I spent enough time on it. The grant was such a wonderful gift to receive!

Wayback Wednesday

Right around the time I got my Kelsey, I made contact with Dick Goodwin, letterpress dude. He was so generous with his time and skill, giving me a tour of his shop and sharing his knowledge about the basics (I still have a lot to learn).

Dick Goodwin - letterpress dude

He’s been collecting letterpress equipment since 1961 and it is quite the spectacular collection.

Rulers hanging on pegboard

Dick Goodwin's letterpress shop

Wood furniture and furniture cabinet for letterpress

I was lucky enough to acquire a cabinet from Dick so that I can put my soon-to-be-mine type in it. It’s a Ludlow cabinet with 20 cases in it. The thing is a behemoth and it weighs a bajillion pounds.

There’s no room in my studio for the cabinet, so it lives smack in the middle of our home office (there’s no room in there either). The plan is for our office to move upstairs so that I can take over the room. At that point, I’ll have enough space to get a small letterpress shop going.

I’m not sure how long that will take to happen. Until then, I have vowed to stop bringing home big things for the studio. Big sheets of paper not included.

Website changes

sledge hammer

I’m making a few changes on my website and there’s dust flying all over the place!

The biggie is that I’ve opened up a store, so now you can buy my handmade books directly from me instead of going to Etsy. I’m still working out the bugs (my images are a bit blurry), but I’m already much happier with how people can view my work.

The other change involves my commenting system. I’ve added a WordPress plugin that will allow you to respond to blog posts via Email. What makes this interesting is that you can reply to your Email and it will carry your reply over to the blog post, all without you having to visit the post – just reply and you’re done!

In order for this to work, you just subscribe to my blog posts via Email. Some of you may already be subscribed to my posts via Feedburner – soon this won’t work anymore. What I’ve done is invited all of you Feedburner folks (and those who’ve commented on my blog directly) to join the new system.

If you received an Email from me about this, it’s not spam. It’s the real deal. If you have privacy concerns, feel free to check out my privacy policy.

If you have any questions or comments about the changes, just let me know. I’d love it if you’d continue being part of the Blue Roof Designs community!