Elissa’s Picks for Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Vermont Open Studio Weekend logoWelcome the third in my series of blog posts about ways to plan your Open Studio Weekend tour.

In this post I listed the book arts studios I’d visit if I were touring this weekend. Of course, I would also visit studios by artists working in other media.

The batch of studios listed below belong to my fellow board members of the Vermont Crafts Council. These are some hardworking folks, volunteering their time for a great organization and creating fantastic work.

I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the green Vermont Studio Tour Guide 2015. 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:

Starting from the south, my first stop would be #64, Jessica Putnam-Phillips of Battenkill River Pottery. She creates hand carved functional and decorative ceramics. Her history as a military intelligence specialist in the US Air Force has had a great influence on her work – she explores the experience of women in the military in the form and content of her work. It’s really fascinating.

The next stop on the tour would be studio #76, David Stone of The Potter Stone. He works in porcelain and stoneware and (in his words) “combines both traditional forms with a contemporary spirit”. His work is wheel-thrown and hand-built, functional and decorative.

#93, Judith Reilly would be next. Her work is seriously wonderful and Judy is a serious sweetheart (and a good hugger). To consider her a quilter just doesn’t do her justice – she really paints with fabric. In her own words, her pieces “express both realistic and fantastic interpretations in a catawampus and quirky style”.

Next comes studio #10, Becca Van Fleet Webb of Two Potters. Becca’s hubby Nathan is the other member of this potter pair. These two worked in ceramics independently before joining forces in both business and in life. While Becca’s work is soft and organic, Nathan’s work is more traditional in style. In addition to the studio tour, Becca and Nathan will be hosting a live band. Very cool.

#121, Jim Fecteau of Huntington River Smithy is a self-taught blacksmith. He creates functional and decorative hand-forged metalwork – from gates and screens to clocks and candlesticks. Not only is Jim the current Vice President of the Vermont Crafts Council, but he’s also President of the Green Mountain Blacksmith Association – what a busy guy!

Next I’d visit #151, Greg Drew of Personalwoodsmythe. Greg both a woodturner and a wood sculptor. He has deep respect and love for trees. In his words – “I enjoy helping them express their silent stories and the history they’ve witnessed, forever etched in the patterns, textures, and hues of their timber.” In addition to being a fantastic artist, Greg is the President of the Vermont Crafts Council.

Judy Dales, #160, is another master quilter – she has been quilting for over 40 years. Her pieces fully embrace the curved shape, which adds (in her words) a “lyrical, feminine quality to her work”. Judy currently has work on display at the Shelburne Museum – clearly she’s good at what she does.

Lastly, I’d visit #174, Sandy Ducharme of Vermont Floorcloths and Fiber Arts. When you visit her, you get two art forms for the price of one – not only does she create hand-painted floor cloths, but she also hand-hooks wool rugs. She has won numerous awards for her work and you can see the care and love that goes into every piece.

Overall, these studios aren’t very close to each other. If you split your tour up between two days, it might be doable (some hustle may be involved).

Book Arts Guide to Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Leather coptic journalsWelcome to the 2015 Book Arts Guide to Vermont Open Studio Weekend

It’s time for my annual nod to the many book artists participating in Open Studio Weekend. Many 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 #185.

I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the green 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 on the book arts tour is #82 Carolyn Shattuck. A seasoned printmaker, Carolyn cuts up scrap monotypes and uses the pieces in her handmade books. For her, the book arts have been the focus of a body of work combining drawing and print assemblage techniques in three dimensional form. Many of her books include pop-up elements to set the scene for her deeply personal storytelling.

Next stop is #124, Marianna Holzer. In the Holzer family, binding and preserving books is a family tradition. Marianna is a third generation bookbinder following in her father and grandfather’s footsteps. Before founding a bindery of her own in 2008, Marianna helped to preserve and restore the permanent records of hundreds of municipalities across the United States for thirty years. The history behind her work is reason alone to go see her studio.

When you visit Shelburne Pond Studios, you’ll be able to see two artists. At studio #128, Jill Abilock of Six Loons Studio creates one-of-a-kind work that is really inspirational. Her compelling storytelling and creative voice are enhanced by her innovative combinations of materials and structure. And the woman is a fantastic folder.

#129, Lyna Lou Nordstrom, is the other artist with a studio at Shelburne Pond Studios. 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.

Next stop is #132, Nancy Stone. Nancy is one of the founders of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont [insert Elissa’s sweet gaze of admiration here]. Not only is Nancy an amazing book artist, she is also a well-known teacher in the books arts throughout Vermont and has inspired many students.

#154 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 on the tour is #170 Ken Leslie. Ken primarily creates books in a circular format – a practice that developed out of his dissatisfaction with rectangular painting shapes. His themes often focus on natural cycles, such as day and night. The size of his work ranges from miniature to really ginormous – you can walk through some of his books when they’re open.

The last stop is #186 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!

Vermont Open Studio Weekend – Central Vermont Artists

Vermont Open Studio Weekend logo

Vermont’s 23rd Spring Open Studio Weekend coming (May 23 & 24)! If you’re planning on visiting my studio (and why wouldn’t you?), you can visit other great artists within a 20-ish minute drive of here.

There are 12 studios/galleries participating in the Central Vermont area. Artists are offering exhibits and demonstrations of pottery, jewelry, photography, mixed media, painting, woodworking, and more.

I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the green 2015 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!

Good mail day

It’s that time of year again – just over two weeks to go until Vermont’s Spring Open Studio Weekend!

My postcards arrived today – I just ordered them on Monday and here they are, all the way from California. Thanks Modern Postcard!

OSW Spring 2015 postcards - Blue Roof Designs

Here’s a better view of the front of the postcard:

OSW Spring 2015 postcard - Blue Roof Designs

A big thank you goes to my hubby for taking that awesome photo!

If you’re on my mailing list, you’ll be getting one of these beauties in the coming week. If you’d like to join my snail mail list, just contact me and I’ll hook you up – I’ve got a stamp with your name on it!

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.