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Artist talk at T.W. Wood Gallery summer camp

Today I had the privilege of talking to a bunch of kids at the T.W. Wood Gallery Summer Art Camp. I got to put on my bookbinder hat, which was hard because it’s hot and humid here and my frizzy, curly hair creates unfortunate hat interference.

I started off by telling the kids that I made art all through my childhood – painting, ceramics, drawing. I showed them the first book I ever made (or at least that I have), The Dog Who Couldn’t Bark. It is one of my finer works, made of oak tag and bound with staples.

At the kids’ request, I read the story at the end of my talk.

Artist talk with bookbinder Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

I talked about the tools and materials that I use in my work, then passed them around so the kids could experience them firsthand. They seemed particularly interested in the glue eraser. Perhaps it was because I described it as “kind of boogery”.

Something I learned pretty quickly – when you tell kids to let you know if they have any questions…

Artist talk with bookbinder Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

…this is what happens.

Artist talk with bookbinder Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

Kids ask the best questions. In fact, I’m pretty sure that a kid near the front of the group was a professional question asker. He kept me on my toes.

Do you have a studio in your house? What do you use the leather for? How long have you been making books? How long does it take you to make a book? Where do you sell your work? What’s the most expensive book you have?

[quickly followed by]

What’s the least expensive book you have?

I showed them about a dozen different bindings, ranging from accordion to coptic. I also brought some of my one-of-a-kind pieces, which they seemed to enjoy.

We talked about how sometimes you only want to make one of something and keep it for yourself. I was then asked what I do when someone wants to buy something that I want to keep for myself.

My advice was simple – just tell them no. Repeatedly. Sooner or later, they’ll get it.

It seems that no matter what I try to cover in a presentation, I will never ever ever get all the way through my outline. Ever. I think I’m starting to be okay with that.

Many thanks to the art camp for inviting me to speak today – I had a great time!

2 Responses to “Artist talk at T.W. Wood Gallery summer camp”

By Micah - 12 July 2011 Reply

I had a great time at your presentation too!!!

By Elissa - 12 July 2011 Reply

Micah –

Ah…I see someone took one of my business cards. 🙂

Elissa

So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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