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Happy National Book Lovers Day!

Baby wearing an orange onesie and an orange hat

When I dressed Anna in this outfit today, I had no idea that it was National Book Lovers Day. What a lovely coincidence!

That outfit was the first onesie that Anna wore out of the hospital – it was much bigger on her then, as you can see in this post. I’ll be bummed when she outgrows it.

Enough ogling of the baby. Back to National Book Lovers Day.

Although the holiday’s birth date is unknown, Heavy.com reports that Google searches for the phrase “National Book Lovers Day” started in 2007. And since I always trust websites that I visit for the first time, I’ll believe what they’re saying. 

Yay for books!

So what can you do to celebrate? Here are some ideas:

If you’re curious to see how others are celebrating. check out #NationalBookLoversDay on social media (Instagram, Twitter).

Book Arts exhibits Perfect Storm

For three days in late July, there will be a perfect storm of book arts exhibits in Vermont. This sweet spot will take place from July 28 -30, 2017.

I’m so proud of the amount of creative talent we have in our jewel of a state. And the fact that there’s enough book art to fill three exhibits is just extraordinary. Yay Vermont!

Here’s the scoop:

  • Now through July 30th, the Creative Space Gallery is hosting The Art of the Handmade Book. You’ll encounter a wide range of methods at this exhibit, including hand lettering, painting, stamping, stitching, letterpress printing, and collage, as well as a variety of structures, including accordion books, Jacob’s Ladders, tunnel books, and altered structures. Featured artists include Rebecca Boardman, Elissa Campbell (that’s me!), Marilyn Gillis, Dorsey Hogg, Ann Joppe-Mercure, Jane Ploughman, Vera Ryersbach, Penne Tompkins, and Marcia Vogler. The gallery is located at 214 Main Street in Vergennes, VT.
  • The Book Arts Guild of Vermont‘s annual exhibit is going on now through August 31st at SEABA in Burlington, VT. CORRESPONDENCE: Bookworks from the Book Arts Guild of Vermont responds to the concept of correspondence in the modern world. Members and friends of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont use various techniques to convey a sense of communication between ideas and materials in work that can be ‘read’. The gallery is located at 404 Pine Street.

  • Opening on July 28th and running through August 26th is UNBOUND VOL. VII, an exhibit that pushes the boundaries of what a book could be. This juried show looks to explore this idea of “the book” and all the ways artists use that format as a way of exploring new ideas. The exhibit at the ArtisTree Gallery is opening in conjunction with the kick off of the Bookstock Literary Festival. The gallery is located at 2095 Pomfret Road in South Pomfret, VT.

If you feel like attempting the exhibit trifecta, then you should find the Google map below helpful as you plan your route. As you can see, these galleries are not close to each other. If you start up at SEABA and work your way south, the route (one-way) will take approximately 2.25 hours (depending on the time of day).

I have work in two of the three exhibits – The Art of the Handmade Book and CORRESPONDENCE.

If you take on this route, tell me all about it and be sure to take pictures – I’d love to feature your trip on my blog!

Introducing Anna…the future lover of all things bookish!

You may have noticed that I’ve been rather quiet as of late and there’s a good reason for that. On May 30th, my husband, Wiggum, and I welcomed a baby girl into our family, Anna Laurel Campbell!

She was considerate enough to wait to be born until after Open Studio Weekend and I will forever be thankful for that.

Baby wearing an orange onesie

Yep, her first outfit had a book on it. I’m a big, fat nerd that way.

Because she was born in New York, I couldn’t announce her arrival sooner because there was a 30 revocation period. Now that we’ve made it past that, it’s Anna Time!

Holy Moses, I love this little peanut. As of July 10th, she was approximately 3.62 bone folders long, YBFMY (your bone folder might vary). Yep, I put a bone folder next to her. I’m a big, fat nerd that way.

Swaddled baby next to a bone folder

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may have realized that this happened just before the Focus on Book Arts conference. Where I was set to teach a workshop. Twice. Timing = not good.

Teaching at FOBA was a year in the making for me and I was really proud of having been selected as an instructor. My husband and I made the decision that as long as there weren’t any medical considerations, I would attend the conference as planned. Nearly 20 people had signed up for the workshops and I didn’t want to leave them hanging. Thankfully, everything went smoothly (travel aside – oy).

Now I’m back home, trying to understand what my new normal is. I haven’t spent much time in the studio recently and I miss it. I would very much like to continue teaching, but I have to figure out how to fit workshops into my current schedule. 

In the meantime, I’m happy just staring at Anna and thinking about how lucky I am. 🙂

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!

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