AuthorElissa

Worktable Wednesday

Wow. I have not done one of these Worktable Wednesday posts in quite a while! I wish I had some work in progress to show you, but my table has been used for a different reason lately.

The Focus on Book Arts conference is a month away. My original session of Three is a Magic Number filled up in two days and another one was added. Just to be safe, I’m preparing kits for a potential 24 students.

[start bookbinding workshop math here]

24 students x 9 books each = 216 kits. So.many.kits. Plus I’m preparing extra materials in case mistakes are made (and they do happen). Yowza.

[end math]

As you may have guessed at this point, my worktable has been the stage for many workshop prep activities.

I started out with approximately 17 pounds of leather. For whatever reason, it didn’t look like a lot after it was cut down. I will say that I loves me some piles, so watching the leather accumulate was very satisfying.

Then I decided to make one big pile out of it. Just because. It’s 15 inches tall.

One of my hides was hair on, so it shed a bunch as I cut it. It was like some dude visited my studio and shaved over my table. I had to use packing tape to get all of it off my cutting mat. This really is as gross as it looks.

Pieces of hair from cut pieces of leather

Next I cut and sanded sticks for one of the book closures. These were gathered on walks with Wiggum in the woods behind my house. Yes future students, you’re getting genuine Vermont sticks!

Sanding cut birch sticks

Supplies for each binding are being organized in separate bags and I ended the day inserting leather into them.

Bags with bookbinding supplies

Oh, and a few embellishments went in as well. Hello black suede cord!

Bags with bookbinding supplies

This is what a crate full of 216 kits looks like:

Crate full of bags with bookbinding supplies

And that’s as exciting as it got today. I’m hoping to get the kits completed by the end of this week so I can ship them out to FOBA. I want to make sure that everything gets to Oregon well in advance of the conference.

I will have to carry some stuff with me on the plane and that stresses me out. This would be the worst time for luggage to get lost!

Book Arts Guide to Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Handmade leather journal by Elissa CampbellWelcome to the Spring 2017 Book Arts Guide to Vermont Open Studio Weekend

It’s time for my biannual rundown of the book artists participating in Vermont Open Studio Weekend (May 27 & 28). Some of these talented folks are also members of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont (B.A.G.), an organization of which I am a member.

I created the Google map at the bottom of this post which includes all of the studios to help you plan your travels. I wish I could say that the book arts studios are close to each other, but they’re not. Boo.

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. By the way, I’m studio #57.

There are several ways to get your hands on a map:

I tried to find the most direct route between the studios so you could avoid backtracking. This route starts at the northernmost studio and travels counterclockwise. Here we go!

The first studio is #30, Meta Strick – she is a Jackie of all trades. She does wonderful mixed media work, including dolls that have a book component. She has a great philosophy that you can make anything into a book – in fact, she recently presented at a B.A.G. meeting focusing on junk box books. It was sooo much fun.

Next stop is studio #2, Shelburne Pond Studios, where you’ll find Jill Abilock of Six Loons Studio. She 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. In addition, she’s my partner in crime – we’re currently acting as the co-chairs of the Book Arts Guild Vermont.

#153 is Carolyn Shattuck, a seasoned printmaker and bookmaker. She often 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.

When you visit studio #58Kelly McMahon of May Day Studio, you get double the awesome – she’s both a letterpress printer and a bookbinder. I’ve seen her space and let me tell you – I have serious studio envy. She carves 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.

Last stop on the tour is #48 – Ken Leslie. Ken often creates books in a circular format – a practice that developed out of his dissatisfaction with rectangular painting shapes. His themes frequently focus on natural cycles, such as day/night and the seasons. The size of his work ranges from miniature to really ginormous – you can walk through some of his books when they’re open.

If you go to any of the studios, please share your experiences in the comments below. And if you have pictures, I’d love to see them…you can even do a guest post on my blog!

Happy National Notebook Day!

National Notebook Day image with handmade book by Blue Roof Designs

That’s right folks, today marks the second annual National Notebook Day. This event takes place on the third Thursday of May each year.

I love blank books – there’s such a world of possibility that lives within those pages. I believe that books are a great vehicle for telling your story, whether with words, images, or a combination of both.

So you like journals but don’t know what to do once you get your hands on one? Well, just head on over to my Pinterest board Whaddaya do with a blank book? There are tons of ideas there to help you get started.

And another thing – if you have first page anxiety (most people do), I recommend that you start writing on the second page of your book. That way, you won’t have to deal with the pressure of making that first page look “right”. You can simply begin. The first page can easily be filled in later with a title or dates.

Feel free to satisfy your book pic cravings today by heading on over to Instagram – you can check out the event account or images tagged with #nationalnotebookday. Or you could just head on over to Etsy to do a bit of shopping…

Go forth and write and/or doodle!

Vermont Open Studio Weekend – Montpelier/Worcester/Berlin Artists

Vermont Open Studio Weekend logo

Vermont’s Spring Open Studio Weekend is celebrating its silver anniversary this upcoming Memorial Day Weekend, May 27 & 28. Twenty-five years is quite a milestone!

Open Studio Weekend is a statewide celebration of the visual arts and creative process, offering a unique opportunity for visitors to meet a wide variety of artists and craftspeople in their studios, some of which are only open to the public during this event. 

The event is a part of Vermont Arts 2017, a year-long celebration highlighting the wide variety of arts events taking place throughout the state. You can join the party by following #VTarts2017 on social media (Instagram, Twitter).

If you’re planning on visiting my studio (oh, yeah!), you can add on visits to other locations within a 1/2 hour drive of here. The Montpelier/Worcester/Berlin region of Vermont has a sweet little cluster of artists (six, to be exact) for your studio hopping pleasure.

In the lists below, I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the green 2017 Spring Event & Resource 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):

Note: If you’re wondering why the studio numbers are different colors, that’s because they correspond with the marker colors on the map I created to help you plan your travels. Behold – the Google Map!

If you plan on coming to the Montpelier area, let me know and I can recommend some local restaurants for your munching pleasure.

I hope to see you at the studio!

Book Arts at North Country Studio Workshops 2018

North Country Studio Workshops logo

Omigod omigod omigod omigod.

Hedi Kyle is coming to Vermont! Yep. That Hedi Kyle. This is pretty much the best thing ever.

From January 23-28, 2018, she’ll be teaching at North Country Studio Workshops (NCSW) in Bennington, VT. Every other year, NCSW offers five-day intensive workshops for those seeking a collaborative and creative learning experience. The event is held at Bennington College.

I took a workshop with Hedi at the Garage Annex School back in 2005. It.was.amazing. That was pre-blog, so I have no pictures. Sadness.

Seriously, I would take any workshop with her, no matter what the subject. If she were teaching how to alphabetize North Atlantic sea life, I’d be there. A deep study of the health benefits of liver and onions? I’m there. And I hate liver.

Here’s the description of her workshop Paper Structures:

Learn to fold a generous variety of books, folders, and boxes – mostly from one large piece of paper. The structures you create will not remain blank, in other words, bare of content. With techniques such as stenciling, rubbing, and blotter printing, you will apply patterns, text, and images to pages, pockets and spines.

Registration opens June 1, 2017. But don’t sign up until after I do.

Focus on Book Arts Faculty-Staff Exhibit

Now through June 10th, the Focus on Book Arts conference has a Faculty-Staff Exhibit at the Collins Gallery of the Central Library in downtown Portland, Oregon. My artist’s book/game hybrid, You Can’t Take it with You, will be part of the exhibition.

Artist book/game hybrid - You Can't Take it with You bye Elissa Campbell

I’m so honored to have my work shown alongside such a spectacular group of artists. Exhibitors include Pietro AccardiAnne CovellSam EllenportHelen HiebertAndrew HuotRoberta LavadourJana PullmanShawn SheehyBonnie StahleckerBarbara Tetenbaum, and Shu-Ju Wang.

The opening reception will be on May 3rd from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. There will be live music and refreshments – since I won’t be there, be sure to eat some cheese for me if you go.

In conjunction with the exhibit, there will be an artist panel discussion, Structure and Influence, on May 7th from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. It’s sure to be an interesting event, well worth a visit.

When the exhibit closes in Portland, it will move to the Pacific University Library in Forest Grove, Oregon. It will reopen on June 13th and close on the last day of the Focus on Book Arts conference.

If you want to see the exhibit, here’s the scoop on gallery hours at each location:

Collins Gallery Hours:

  • Monday: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday – Wednesday: 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Pacific University Library Hours:

  • Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: Closed

If you can’t make it to the exhibit, you’re in luck – you can view the work online.

I’m looking forward to seeing the exhibit when I get to the conference in June!

Happy Preservation Week!

2017 Preservation Week logo

Hey everyone – it’s Preservation Week! This annual event, presented by the American Library Association (ALA), is going on now through April 29th.

Here’s what the ALA has to say about the event:

Memories and treasures should last a lifetime and be passed on to future generations. Sponsored by the ALA’s Association of Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), Preservation Week inspires actions to preserve personal, family, and community collections in addition to library, museum, and archive collections. It also raises awareness of the role libraries and other cultural institutions play in providing ongoing preservation education and information.

I think that we’re so focused on the digital world right now that it’s too easy to forget about the valuable, tangible items that document a life.

It’s so important for people to be able to tell their stories and share them with future generations. That’s why I love making blank books – they’re just waiting to be filled with stories.

So what can you do this week? Here are five suggestions to get you started:

  1. How about taking your photos out of those evil sticky photo albums and getting them into acid-free books? Preserve Your Treasures: How To Remove Photos from a Sticky Album (Smithsonian Institution Archives)
  2. Get tips on photo preservation from the Library of CongressCare, Handling, and Storage of Photographs (they don’t like sticky photo albums either)
  3. Once you’ve picked out an archival photo album, how about making your own photo corners? The National Park Service can teach you how to do that!
  4. Got curly photos? Learn how to flatten them.
  5. Do the terms acid-free, lignin-free, and photo-safe all sound like gibberish to you? Learn how they’re different in this article by Scrapbook Retailer.

Let me know what you’re up to!

Happy National Library Week!

2017 National Library Week logo

Everyone knows that libraries are awesome, so it’s no surprise that there’s a National Library Week designed to celebrate this awesomeness. This year the event takes place April 9-15, 2017 and the theme is Libraries Transform.

From the American Library Association‘s website:

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.

Here’s the sweet gem of my community, the Kellogg Hubbard Library:

Celebrations during National Library Week include:

  • Monday, April 10: The State of America’s Libraries Report will be released, including the Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2016.
  • Tuesday, April 11: National Library Workers Day, a day for recognizing the value of all library workers.
  • Wednesday, April 12: National Bookmobile Day, a day for acknowledging the work of our nation’s bookmobiles and those supporting outreach in their communities.
  • Thursday, April 13: The newly-designated Take Action for Libraries Day highlights the need for continued support of the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The U.S. government’s proposed budget cuts include eliminating this critical source of funding for libraries and museums.

Personally, I will be contacting my local officials to let them know how important libraries are to me and the communities they serve. If you’d like to do the same, you can get more information here.

Looking for other ways to celebrate? Check out the suggestions on the I Love Libraries website.

You can also follow along on social media using the tags #NationalLibraryWeek and #LibrariesTransform.

International Edible Book Festival

International Edible Book Festival logo

The arrival of April Fool’s Day also means that it’s time for the International Edible Book Festival. Yes, this is a real thing. And it’s super cool.

This annual event takes place on/around April 1st and it’s celebrated worldwide. The premise is simple – create books out of edible materials (a.k.a. food) and then eat them. Pieces can be inspired by a specific story, include something punny, or simply be in the shape of a book.

Judith Hoffberg and Béatrice Coron created the festival in 2000 to commemorate the birthday of French foodie Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, author of Physiologie du goût (translation: The Physiology of Taste).

Many locations are celebrating by holding contests with categories such as:

You can see awesome examples of edible books on Flickr – here are a few of my favorites:

If you participate in or visit an edible book festival, I’d love to hear about it! If you’ve pictures, even better. Feel free to shoot me an email and give me the scoop.

* All photos by florador used with permission via a Creative Commons license.

The Book as Art exhibit

I’m so excited to have work on display as part of The Book as Art exhibit at Axel’s Gallery & Frame Shop in Waterbury, VT. The exhibit was co-curated by Axel’s owner Whitney Aldrich and visual artist Marilyn Gillis and is open now through April 8, 2017.

Window display of altered books

Here’s what the gallery has to say about the exhibit:

In the exhibit Book as Art, nine women artists explore the limitless artistic possibilities of the book. Each work challenges our ideas of what a book can be with innovative structures, content, materials and creativity. Artist books will delight and fascinate as they move you beyond the page.

I have several pieces in the show and I’m thrilled to be joined by the fine company of other Book Arts Guild of Vermont members – Marilyn Gillis, Dorsey Hogg, Penne Tompkins, Ann Joppe-Mercure, Rebecca Boardman, Vera Ryersbach, Judy Sgantas, and Marcia Vogler.

Note: I apologize in advance for the quality of my photos – boo to funky lighting.

You can find one of my favorite Improv books in the exhibit, DOs and DON’Ts for Not Being a Dumbass… 

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - DOs and DON'Ts for Not Being a Dumbass

…as well as one of my most recent pieces, Peace Kannon.

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - Peace Kannon

Rounding out my contributions to the show are Godzilla, Extreme Couponer and a batch of small leather journals with varied stitching.

Handmade books by Elissa Campbell

So enough about my work – I’d like to show you some pieces by my co-exhibitors. First off are two pieces by Marcia Vogler. I have long been envious of her illustrative style. She’s just.so.good.

By the way, check out how Whitney displayed Marcia’s panel book on the wall. She created a backing support and clipped the book to it. I have to admit that I was bad and peeked behind the magic curtain:

Next up is Rebecca Boardman. In America’s Transparent Dichotomy, she cleverly used slide mounts in a Jacob’s Ladder to create a piece in response to our current political climate.

Cochleate utilizes some amazing folding that makes my brain hurt (in a good way). Rebecca created the stand specifically for displaying this piece.

And lastly, here are two pieces by Dorsey Hogg, Vermont’s master of altered books. I can describe her skill as nothing other than insanity death folding.

There are so many wonderful pieces in this show – it’s totally worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Here’s the scoop on gallery hours:

  • Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Axel’s is located at 5 Stowe Street.

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