Book Arts Improv Book #1: Craft Show Love Affair

I just completed my book for this week’s Book Arts Improv. Thankfully, the creative process was on my side this week and I didn’t have any major catastrophes.

Here are the themes I was working with this week:

  1. What’s the last thing you photographed? My booth at my last show for the year
  2. A bad response to “I love you”: I couldn’t say it until I really felt the same
  3. Something interesting you keep in your attic or basement: Several boxes of stone sculptures

And here’s the finished product – my first Improv book for 2015, Craft Show Love Affair:

Handmade book by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

The covers are covered in a reversible Unryu paper (the reverse is a dark green). I printed the text folios using Book Antiqua on Speckletone True White cover stock. The base accordion structure was made from Canson Mi-Teintes paper. The book measures 3.5 x 2.5 x 0.625 inches.

Handmade book by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

Front page spread (click to enlarge)

Handmade book by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

Back page spread (click to enlarge)

The form of the book is a nested accordion. It involves a slight variation from the form presented in Peter and Donna Thomas’ book, More Making Books By Hand: Exploring Miniature Books, Alternative Structures, and Found Objects. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the base accordion structure (grey) is all one piece of paper.

Section of nested accordion book

View from above

I rather quickly developed the concept of two people falling in love at a craft show. Craft shows are so intense – a lot can happen over a period of just a few days. It seemed that two artists could easily see each other across a sea of booths and instantly be smitten with each other.

I imagined that the gentleman (aren’t artists always polite?) in the relationship created indoor stone sculptures, so there are collages of cairns throughout the book.

Close-up of handmade book by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

Here’s the story:

I set up my booth,
put out my life’s work.
A typical show.

Then I see him
across the aisle,
obscured by boxes of sculptures.

I catch his eye.
He smiles.
I smile.

Opening time.
We brave the crowds.
An occasional furtive glance.

He mouths “I love you.”
My heart skips a beat.
But I’m not ready to say it back.

Two days go by.
The doors close.
He comes over.

He takes my hands,
smiles warmly,
says, “See you next year.”

We go our separate ways.
Inventory in the van
and longing in our hearts.

As I have done in previous books, I incorporated a pocket in the back of the book to hold the colophon. Mmm…pockets. This book was made in an edition of five.Colophon close-up - handmade book by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

I hope you enjoyed the book!

I’ll be posting the new Improv themes tomorrow, so be sure to come back if you’d like to enter the weekly drawing.

I look forward to next week’s challenge!

7 Responses to “Book Arts Improv Book #1: Craft Show Love Affair

By seley1 - 10 January 2015 Reply

Love the book…who won?

By Elissa - 11 January 2015 Reply

Sidney –

Donna won this week’s book.


By marcia - 10 January 2015 Reply

You’re amazing.

By Karen Krieger - 10 January 2015 Reply

Brilliant Elissa!


By Tammy - 10 January 2015 Reply

What an imagination! Love the plot line.

By Shira Lea - 11 January 2015 Reply

I love both the concept and the execution on this one, Elissa…what a great job!

By Elissa - 12 January 2015 Reply

Thanks to everyone for your kind words! You help keep me motivated through this crazy project. 🙂


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