South Africa Scouts – Reader Badge

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts (here, here, here, and here), I have a special interest in bookbinding-related scout badges. I recently discovered the Reader Interest Badge from SCOUTS South Africa and while not a bookbinding badge, it does include a requirement that’s conservation-related (just in time for Preservation Week).

6. Discuss the care and repair of books with the examiner, and show the examiner some of your own books.

SCOUTS South Africa is a pretty cool organization – it’s open to children and adults, from age 7 – 30. Founded in 1907 by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, it encourages public service and environmental awareness through hands-on activities and projects.

It’s Preservation Week!

Preservation Week logo

April 26 – May 2, 2015 marks Preservation Week, a time when institutions work to raise awareness of the importance of protecting and conserving both public and private collections. The event is sponsored by the Association for Library Collections & Technology Services (ALCTS), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

From the ALA website:

Preservation Week was created in 2010 because some 630 million items in collecting institutions require immediate attention and care. Eighty percent of these institutions have no paid staff assigned responsibility for collections care; 22 percent have no collections care personnel at all. Some 2.6 billion items are not protected by an emergency plan. As natural disasters of recent years have taught us, these resources are in jeopardy should a disaster strike. Personal, family, and community collections are equally at risk.

The hope is that organizations can inspire people to get involved through participation in events in their community. The ALA website has a Google Map of planned events and speakers – check it out. Remember – small actions add up!

Want to get involved? Here are some ideas:

 I’d love to hear about what you’re doing this week – let me know!

Trip to Miller’s Thumb

Yesterday, I took a snowy (yes, I said snowy) drive to Greensboro, VT for my annual drop off of work at The Miller’s Thumb gallery. The gallery is located in a historic grist mill that was built in 1792 – it operates on a seasonal basis. This will be my 4th year showing my work at the gallery.

Miller's Thumb Gallery

It’s a really beautiful space – open with lots of natural light. As you can see below, the gallery hasn’t opened for the season yet. You’ll have to wait until May 15th to get your art fix.

Miller's Thumb Gallery

I brought a selection of photo albums, journals, and cards. The gallery staff always does a great job with displaying my work.

Piles of handmade books

As I mentioned above, the gallery doesn’t open for the season until May 15th – the spot is well worth a visit if you’re in the area. They represent a wonderful variety of artists.

FYI – The gallery is acting as an official information center for Vermont Open Studio Weekend (May 23 & 24), so if you’re traveling that weekend and you need a map, they’re the place to stop.

Happy World Book and Copyright Day!

World Book and Copyright Day logo

World Book and Copyright Day is an annual event on April 23rd, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The day is also known as the International Day of the Book. The event was created to honor the value of books and promote reading. It also hopes to increase awareness of copyright laws.

Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO said the following about books:

Books are invaluable platforms for freedom of expression and the free flow of information – these are essential for all societies today. The future of the book as a cultural object is inseparable from the role of culture in promoting more inclusive and sustainable pathways to development.

Heck yeah!

In celebration of the date, events (book fairs, conferences) are being organized throughout the world. You can see what’s going on in your neck of the woods by checking out a map on UNESCO’s website.

I found out that you can download books published on UNESDOC for free. Out of curiosity, I did a search on the site and I found a book that includes a chapter on bookbinding – The Different Aspects of Islamic Culture, Volume 5: Culture and Learning in Islam. The chapter by Hasip Oktay Aslanapa, which focuses on the history and qualities of Islamic binding, is an interesting read.

In honor of World Book and Copyright Day, I think that I’ll finally order some books that I’ve had my eye on.

What are you going to do today?

Cover To Cover 20th Anniversary Edition

I recently found out through the 23 Sandy Gallery blog that Lark Books has just published the 20th anniversary edition of Cover to Cover. The book, by the late Shereen LaPlantz, is a classic. It’s hard to imagine improving it, but it includes updated photography and is in full color.

Pretty much everyone I know owns the original book – it’s a standard among members of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. It was the first book on bookbinding that I bought. Whenever someone asks me for a good introduction text on bookbinding, I always recommend it.

I don’t yet own the new edition, but it will make its way into my library soon. If you own it, I’d love to hear what you think about the updates.

I do own two of Shereen’s handmade books – Innovative Bookbinding: Secret Compartments and Hidden Messages and Designing and Working with Gocco. I consider myself so very lucky to have these – you can feel the love that went into creating them.

I also participated, along with David LaPlantz and Laura Russell, in the publication of the 3rd edition of Innovative Bookbinding, now available on Lulu. I am thrilled to have been a part of such a wonderful project.


Open Studio Weekend is coming!

One sure sign of spring is the arrival of the Vermont Open Studio Weekend guides. This year’s guide is a vibrant green – very springy!

VT Open Studio Weekend guides

I was thrilled to find that there’s an Artist Books section included in the guide – I’m glad that there’s enough of us to warrant inclusion!

Closeup of VT Open Studio Weekend guide

Vermont Open Studio Weekend will take place during Memorial Day Weekend – May 23 & 24, 2015. You can request a map from the Vermont Crafts Council website.

Book Works exhibit

The most recent meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont took place at the SEABA Gallery – it was the setting for our current group show, Book Works. I’m always impressed by the quality and variety of work that is created by members of our Guild.

Here’s a description of the show:

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. A group of books altered by folding and manipulating pages represents the outcome of the guild’s monthly meeting program where members share skills and encourage creative work. Other works represent the broad definition of the book as explored by painters, textile artists, and paper lovers.

My entry for the show was Superhero Handbook, a book I created during the 2014 Book Arts Improv. It was so nice to see it on display…

Artists' book - Superhero Handbook by Elissa Campbell

…and even nicer to see that it had sold!

Exhibit wall sign

Here are some of my favorite pieces from the show:

The show is fabulous and well worth a visit. You can check out the work up close, now through April 24th. If you can’t make it, you can view the exhibit on the Book Arts Guild of Vermont website.

Worktable Wednesday

There hasn’t been much making going on in the studio lately. Unfortunately, I am knee-deep in the inventory of my studio. I got a late start this year due to some personal stuff that involved unexpected travel. Thankfully, we were granted an extension on our taxes.


I’m always amazed at just how much stuff I have squirreled away in my studio. Throughout the year, I usually think that you can never have too much paper – when it comes to counting it however, you tend to change your mind.

Plastic tubs full of handmade journals

I have a pretty good system in place for doing inventory – everything that’s counted get a little post-it flag on it with the date that it was checked. I also have a detailed checklist for making sure that I don’t miss anything.

Thankfully, I’m in the home stretch. I’m looking forward to getting back to creating!

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!

Daniel Essig is coming to Vermont!

North Country Studio Workshops logoI was thrilled to discover that from January 26 – 31, 2016, Daniel Essig will be teaching Wooden Books—Greek & Centipede Binding at the North Country Studio Workshops in Bennington, VT.

Dan is an amazing book artist from Asheville, North Carolina who creates hand-bound wooden books and sculptures. According to his website, he primarily uses the Ethiopian-style Coptic stitch in his work – his stitching is impeccable.

His work has been published in a number of books, including The Penland Book of Handmade Books and 1000 Artist Books, Exploring the book as Art. I highly encourage you to visit his website to check out his drool-worthy portfolio.

The upcoming workshop looks fantastic – here’s the blurb about it:

Easily master the centipede stitch by first understanding the structure and workings of this ornate 7th century Greek binding. Using simple hand tools to begin, we will drill, shape, and smooth our wooden book covers. Sealing the covers with milk paint will create a leathery appearance. We will adorn our books with the centipede stitch using two different colors of thread. This elegant sewing structure, combined with wooden covers, opens a wide range of possibilities for both the beginner and the advanced bookbinder.

Registration is open now and the application review process begins June 1st. Start saving your pennies now, ladies and gents – this workshop is going to be awesome!