Shaping Pages Review

Handmade book "Little Known Facts About Crap" by Elissa Campbell

The Book Arts Guild of Vermont‘s spring exhibit, Shaping Pages opened on April 6th and is on display now through April 28th at the S.P.A.C.E Gallery in Burlington, VT.

My book Little Known Facts About Crap is in the exhibit, one of the books I created during the 2012 Book Arts Improv.

I was surprised to see that Seven Days, one of Vermont’s independent newspapers, reviewed our exhibit.

Overall, it was a favorable review. For that reason, it’s hard for me to express my concern that the writer doesn’t seem to know much about the book arts. The following comments worried me:

None of the works is an actual book, of course. Among the techniques in evidence here are repurposing book pages in sculptural constructions; making “pages” out of something else, such as cloth; referencing the concept of books in a mixed-media facsimile; and using printed text within a wholly un-book-like artwork. Some pieces in the exhibit seem to qualify as “book” art only because they are constructed from paper. But then, who said there were rules?


Our exhibit included flag books, accordion books, and coptic bindings, among others. Those seems like “actual books” to me. And to imply that a book can only be “real” if it’s made of paper?


Check out the exhibit for yourself.

Even though I’m not happy with how the book arts were portrayed in the review, I’m excited that my book was singled out:

If there were a Funny Award in this exhibit, it would have to go to “Little Known Facts About Crap,” by Elissa Campbell. Inside the covers of this small book are tiny paper “pages” the shape and color of turds. On these Campbell has written nonsensical “facts,” such as “Holy crap can be repaired with duct tape.” With an apt self-deprecation that many legitimate authors ought to display, she concludes, “The contents of this book: total crap.”

I now have a virtual Funny Award in my studio. Whee!

And I’d like to point out that she did state that my piece was a book, didn’t she?

Inside the covers of this small book are tiny paper “pages” the shape and color of turds.

Just sayin’…

2 Responses to “Shaping Pages Review”

By frank woods - 27 April 2012 Reply

how often do you get a favorable talking about “…the shape and color of turds? This must be the pinnacle. I LOVE it – and wish I had seen the “little book” in real life.

By Elissa - 27 April 2012 Reply

Frank –

Well, if you come by during Open Studio Weekend, you can see one for yourself! The book is part of an edition. It’s tough to put a limit on turds.

🙂 Elissa

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