AuthorElissa

I bought myself a Kutrimmer!

Kutrimmer 1071So I had planned to spend this week blogging about my weekend with Carol Barton, but today I got distracted.

I did it.

I bought myself a Kutrimmer 1071.

As I discussed in this post, I have wanted one of these puppies forever. And today I bought one. I can’t believe it. I’d been watching one on Ebay marked with Buy it Now/Make an Offer. The Buy it Now price was $884.10 with free shipping. I decided to offer $700, which was about a 20% discount. The offer was accepted within half an hour.

Of course, there’s that nagging part of me that wonders why I didn’t offer less…the seller accepted my offer so quickly…

So now I just have to make a list of all the fun things I’m going to cut. That should make for an interesting blog topic. Kutrimmer…meet cheese (maybe not). Suggestions anyone?

Carol Barton lecture at UVM Special Collections

I have been one busy monkey.

As I mentioned in this post, Carol Barton was coming to Vermont. Well, she’s come and gone – hence the busy monkey.

I had the best time. I am exhausted, but feeling very fulfilled. I will be writing a series of posts through the week about my experiences with Carol.

First let me say that I was very excited about the pop-up sign that I made for Carol. Unfortunately, I arrived at the airport 5 minutes after the flight arrival time – I was not able to have her come off the plane and see her name in boingy letters. I found her in baggage claim. I greeted her and handed her the sign, explaining my original intentions. Not as dramatic. Meh.

On Friday, Carol and I did some touristy Vermont things – Ben & Jerry’s tour, eating cheese samples at the Cabot Cheese Annex, (the new Tuscan Hand-Rubbed Cheddar is amazing!) lunch at Al’s French Frys, and walking on Church Street.

We then headed over to the Special Collections Department of the Bailey/Howe Library at the University of Vermont for Carol’s lecture: The History of Pop-Up and Movable Books. The library set up a nice display of both handmade (in a case) and commercial pop-ups (these could be handled).

Display of pop-up books at University of Vermont

Carol discussed how moveable books have had long history in medical texts. She showed slides of pages of human bodies where you’d lift a flap and see one’s inner organs. Or you could peel away the skin and muscle to see bone. There was also one that showed the birthing process from start to finish. I would have never imagined that such things existed.

Carol has spent a lot of time visually documenting moveable books/pop-up texts – including ones that are no longer accessible by the public. She ended the slide show by pulling out a copy of The Lookout, which she opened up while we were still sitting in the dark. Seeing it lit up in the dark was pretty cool.

Carol Barton lecture at the University of Vermont

Carol showed images from a plant in China where pop-ups are constructed (they manufacture her instruction manuals) and talked about how she was conscious about employee working conditions when choosing a manufacturer. The room the employees work in is immaculate (much cleaner than my studio). She said that she’s spent time in the factory and eaten in the cafeteria with the employees – this particular plant treats its employees well and pays them fairly. All of the gluing of pop-ups is done by hand – there are no machines putting those pieces together. It really gives you a new perspective on those intricate Robert Sabuda books, doesn’t it?

Overall, I’d say the lecture was a success – 40 people came and they seemed to enjoy themselves. The Special Collections department is interested in collaborating with the Book Arts Guild of Vermont for future lectures, which should be a great partnership.

Carol Barton signing book at the University of Vermont

Carol Barton is almost here…

As I mentioned in this post, Carol Barton is coming to Vermont as part of a collaborative effort with the Craft Emergency Relief Fund.

Carol has been consulting with CERF on a project called the Studio Protector, an emergency readiness and response toolkit for artists. This coming weekend, she’ll be leading a workshop that will involve the production of prototypes for testing by artists across the country. I’m really looking forward to the workshop.

Carol will be arriving at the airport tomorrow afternoon and I’ll be picking her up. I met her very briefly over a year ago at the Focus on Book Arts Conference in Forest Grove, Oregon, but I’m pretty sure that she won’t recognize me. I decided that I’d have to make a sign with her name on it (a must for important people!).

Here’s what I have so far:

Carol Barton pop-up airport sign

The letters are made of misprints of the Studio Protector. I plan to embellish it more tomorrow at work. If you’re in the Burlington, Vermont area on Friday evening, don’t miss Carol’s free lecture at the University of Vermont. Details follow.


The Craft Emergency Relief Fund and the Special Collections Department of the Bailey/Howe Library at the University of Vermont are pleased to announce a co-sponsored lecture with renowned paper engineer and book artist, Carol Barton: The History of Pop-Up and Movable Books.

This 50-minute slide show begins with the development of movable page formats within early Renaissance science texts that employ volvelles and lift-up flap mechanisms. Movable illustrations from astronomical, navigational, mathematical and medical books will be shown. The presentation will also include a discussion of childrens’ pop-up books from the 19th and 20th centuries, along with examples of current commercial and artist-made dimensional books. The lecture includes discussions of die-cutting and hand-assembly processes used in the modern manufacture of pop-up books.

Event Details:
Friday, September 12, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
Special Collections Department, located on the lower level of the Bailey/Howe Library University of Vermont Burlington, VT
Event is free and open to the public.

Parking info:
Parking is available at the visitor parking lot on College Street near the intersection of South Prospect Street. The lot is free in the evening.  Handicap parking is available outside Bailey/Howe Library. The UVM campus map shows campus buildings and visitor parking.

Special Collections at the University of Vermont:
Phone: (802) 656-2138
Email: uvmsc@uvm.edu

Celebration of the Book: Opening Reception

As I mentioned in this post, the Book Arts Guild of Vermont currently has an exhibit at the Firehouse Gallery in Burlington, VT – Celebration of the Book. I attended the opening reception this past Friday.

It’s amazing how different the books looked on display – there was an air of formality about it all.  I was disappointed to find that the curator did not choose to include my handling instructions with my book. Instead it was marked “Please do not touch“. I understand why the decision was made, but I was still bummed.

While at the reception, I encouraged folks to handle my book. It gave me some satisfaction. The show runs from September 5 – 30, 2008. Be sure to check it out if you’re in the area.

Here are some pictures from the show, starting with my entry:

Handmade panel book by Elissa Campbell

Book Arts Guild of Vermont - 2008 Handmade Books Exhibit

Book Arts Guild of Vermont - 2008 Handmade Books Exhibit

Book Arts Guild of Vermont - 2008 Handmade Books Exhibit

Book Arts Guild of Vermont - 2008 Handmade Books Exhibit

Book Arts Guild of Vermont - 2008 Handmade Books Exhibit

Book Arts Guild of Vermont - 2008 Handmade Books Exhibit

Book Arts Guild of Vermont - 2008 Handmade Books Exhibit

Book Arts Guild of Vermont - 2008 Handmade Books Exhibit

Book Arts Guild of Vermont - 2008 Handmade Books Exhibit

Book Arts Guild of Vermont exhibit: Celebration of the Book

After having missed the last 2 meetings of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont, I finally made it up to Burlington last night. Everyone brought in their submissions for the Guild’s annual member show – Celebration of the Book.

I was so impressed with the variety of work this year (yes, I’m impressed every year) – so many different bindings, materials, and formats were used. This will be my third year participating in the Guild show and I’ll be showing the panel book I made during the Julie Chen workshop I attended this summer. At the show, one will have the opportunity to handle the book while wearing cotton gloves.

Artist book by Elissa Campbell - Life of a Life

I struggled with the idea of having others handle my piece, mostly because I’m worried about damage and it’s one-of-a-kind. I finally came to the conclusion that the book cannot be experienced fully unless one is able to interact with it directly. I think that there’s a strange freedom in trusting others to handle my book – it adds something new to the creative process of the work.

The show at the Firehouse Gallery is one of the stops on the First Friday Art Walk, a Burlington event held from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on the first Friday of every month.

Here are the details on the show:

Celebration of the Book: An Exhibit of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont
September 5 – 30, 2008
Opening reception: Friday, September 5, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Firehouse Center for the Visual Arts, second floor
135 Church Street, Burlington, VT

If you happen to be in Burlington, VT during the month of September, you should definitely check it out. I’ll be at the opening tomorrow, so come over and say “hi” – I’ll be the one in the curly hair.

Book Artists and Poets Podcast

Book Artists and Poets Podcast logoFor the longest time, I’ve had the most wonderful resource bookmarked in my internet favorites and haven’t accessed it until today – the Book Artists and Poets Podcast.

Steve Miller, professor and program coordinator of the MFA in the Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama, acts as host of a number of interviews with book artists and poets from all walks of life. He has been interviewing artists for more than three years.

As I write this post, I’m listening to Steve’s discussion of his experience jurying Lark Books’ 500 Handmade Books. If you’ve seen a copy of this book, I’m sure you’ll find his comments as interesting as I did. Among the interviewed artists, you’ll find Hedi Kyle, Julie Chen, Shanna Leino, and Jim Croft.

You can listen to the interviews (and read descriptions) on the Book Artists and Poets Podcast website or you can subscribe to the feed for free on iTunes.

Carol Barton is coming to Vermont!

The Pocket Paper Engineer - book by Carol BartonOne of the reasons why I admitted that I have a full-time job is so that I could finally spill the following: Carol Barton is coming to Vermont.

And I get to hang out with her. Yeehaw!

Carol has been consulting with the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (a.k.a. CERF, where I work) on a project called the Studio Protector. The Studio Protector is an emergency readiness and response toolkit for artists, in a pop-up book format. I’ve been printing up pieces for the prototype over the past couple of weeks and this thing is cool.

In mid-September, Carol will be coming to Vermont to lead a weekend workshop where attendees will learn how to streamline artist book editions. Using the newly-learned techniques, participants will help assemble the prototypes of the Studio Protector. The best part – the workshop is free and when the final Studio Protector is mass-produced, attendees will get a free copy. We still have spots available, so if you’re interested, send me an Email and I can give you more details.

In addition, CERF and the Special Collections Department of the Bailey/Howe Library at the University of Vermont are co-sponsoring a free lecture with Carol on Friday night. Details can be found at the end of this post.

In case you didn’t know, Carol’s newest book has just been released: The Pocket Paper Engineer, Volume 2: Platforms and Props. You can read more about the book on her website. I just got it, but haven’t had the chance to read it yet (it looks good). I’m pretty sure that she’ll be bringing copies of her book to the lecture at UVM.

Hope to see you there!


The Craft Emergency Relief Fund and the Special Collections Department of the Bailey/Howe Library at the University of Vermont are pleased to announce a co-sponsored lecture with renowned paper engineer and book artist, Carol Barton: The History of Pop-Up and Movable Books.

This 50-minute slide show begins with the development of movable page formats within early Renaissance science texts that employ volvelles and lift-up flap mechanisms. Movable illustrations from astronomical, navigational, mathematical and medical books will be shown. The presentation will also include a discussion of childrens’ pop-up books from the 19th and 20th centuries, along with examples of current commercial and artist-made dimensional books. The lecture includes discussions of die-cutting and hand-assembly processes used in the modern manufacture of pop-up books.

Event Details:
Friday, September 12, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
Special Collections Department, located on the lower level of the Bailey/Howe Library University of Vermont Burlington, VT
Event is free and open to the public.

Parking info:
Parking is available at the visitor parking lot on College Street near the intersection of South Prospect Street. The lot is free in the evening. Handicap parking is available outside Bailey/Howe Library. The UVM campus map shows campus buildings and visitor parking.

Special Collections at the University of Vermont:
Phone: (802) 656-2138
Email: uvmsc@uvm.edu

A bookbinder's confession…

I’m just going to say it – I have a full-time job.

Part of me wonders if others won’t take me as seriously if I don’t make my art full-time. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps telling some customers that you have a “real job” shatters the artist fantasy.

When you’re an artist, you’re only supposed to make art. All of this makes my brain ache. The fact is, it’s hard to make a living as an artist. I admire those who are able to do it.

However, the main reason I work (money aside) is because I am a social animal. I simply cannot work in my studio by myself all day long. I would go crazy. I need to be around people. I have a mouth and I like to talk. I like to work with others. Strangely, working in an office environment suits me.

Luckily, I have an arts-related job. I work as the Office & Information Systems Manager (a.k.a. computer geek) at the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF), a nonprofit organization that works to strengthen and sustain the careers of craft artists across the United States. CERF offers grants and no-interest loans to professional craft artists who have experienced career-threatening emergencies. In addition, CERF provides business support through education and research on issues such as insurance and preparedness.

My business has definitely benefited from the knowledge I’ve gained since I started working at CERF over 4 years ago. And I feel good about working for an organization that invests in craft. I’m part of that future of craft that we’re working to maintain.

Maybe that makes me a real artist after all.

Gocco availability issues

Today someone responded to a previous post of mine where I discussed my (then recent) purchase of a Gocco PG-5 set. She asked where I got mine because she was having problems finding one. I bought mine on Etsy so I checked to see if my seller printaddictjapan had any units in stock. I was rather surprised to find that her price had jumped from $99.50 (when I bought it on 5/31) to $265.

Her shop notice stated the following:

The price increase of the Gocco reflects the availability and increased prices here in Japan. I have very limited stock and do not anticipate finding new stock. I regret the situation but it is out of my hands…..

As I mentioned in this post, the Riso Kagaku Corporation announced that it would stop making Gocco printers in June 2008. Well, it seems that in three short months, supplies have been running low.

There is a discussion about the availability issue in the Gocco Flickr group. I searched on Ebay and prices have gone up on there as well – and the number of auctions has decreased. Other online retailers that had stocked the machines are either out of stock or have significantly raised their prices.

Even though I have a Gocco, I’m still bummed. It seems as though enough people love these things that the company should keep making them. Forget profits – do it out of the goodness of your hearts! I’m still hoping that there’s a Gocco superhero who will swoop in and make this happen. Meh.

Time to start hoarding supplies.

Why are books important?

I’ve been struggling with the idea of why books are important. I know why books are important, but with the attraction/distraction of available technologies, I’m not sure everyone does.

I’ve been selling my work at craft shows for about 6 years. Only in the last year or two have I heard the following reason why people won’t purchase one of my photo albums, even if they clearly like and/or want it:

“I keep all of my photos on my computer. I don’t need a photo album.”

Sure I have lots of pictures on my computer, just like everyone else. Do I ever look at them – no. But this isn’t just about selling books. It really makes me sad – there is such an opportunity lost here.

I see books as a way to bring people together – through their stories, through the act of sitting down together, reading, or looking at pictures. I don’t see myself sitting down with my grandchildren and breaking out the computer to look at family pictures. It’s cold and impersonal. If you put your pictures in a book, it shows that you care enough about your memories and your life to put them in a special place.

It may sound corny, but that’s how I feel.

This past weekend, I spent a lovely day outdoors with someone close to me and took lots of pictures. The next day, I took a batch of the pictures and put them in an accordion book so she could remember the day with her family. Making the book was my way of saying to her this time was important to me and I want to commemorate it. She seemed to appreciate it so much. It was really heartwarming. That’s enough of a reason for me to keep making books.

Hopefully it’s enough of a reason for people to use them.

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