Category : Book Artists

A book arts day in Philly

I arrived in Philadelphia a day early for the Guild of Book Workers Standards Seminar, so I spent the day exhibit hopping. I had hoped to register for one of the official GBW tours, but they sold out before I could register. Bummer.

Nevertheless, my multi-stop tour proved worthy. I even discovered additional exhibits later on that I didn’t have time for – Philadelphia does not disappoint.

First stop was to the Philadelphia Free Library where there were multiple book arts exhibits going on simultaneously.

Philadelphia Free Library

The Once Upon a Book exhibit by the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers featured books where members were to “rebind, alter, restore, or create from scratch, a book intended for children”. It was hard to get good pictures of the books because they were in glass cases and sometimes I caught unfortunate reflections. I did my best to capture the awesomeness.

This design binding of The Secret Garden by Jane Griffith was insane. It was bound in full leather and was decorated with suede and sea snake (sea snake!). You can’t see it in the picture, but it had hand-painted end pages and silk endbands.

Book art by Jane Griffith

And if you’ve read my blog before, then you know that I’m a total Karen Hanmer groupie (hi, Karen!). I loved this book, Bradel, Bradel, Bradel: A Bindery Cat’s Primer, that included pictures of her cat, Bradel.

Book art by Karen Hanmer

This next book was my absolute favorite. I am such a huge fan of Really Rosie and when I saw this binding of Alligators All Around I totally freaked out. I know all the words to the book/song and my daughter is now learning them (it’s on heavy rotation in the car). In case you didn’t know, Really Rosie is a musical based on several books by Maurice Sendak (The Nutshell Library and The Sign on Rosie’s Door) and the music is by Carole King. It’s so good.

Next, I went to the Print and Picture Collection to see Thesaurus: A Book Exchange between Graduates and Faculty of the University of the Arts Book Arts & Printmaking Program and found that a bunch of books had been laid out for the GBW tour that had just left. The awesome librarians asked me if I’d be interested in checking them out before they put them away – that was a hell yeah!

The most fun piece I saw was Dress Hedi Up! A Print Exchange. The project was organized by a graduate student at the University of the Arts and included work by 27 friends, colleagues, students, and former students of Hedi Kyle‘s. It included a paper doll of Hedi along with a bunch of outfits and accessories you could use to dress her up. 

Here’s the box that contained all of the prints:

Box for prints from Dress Hedi Up!: A Print Exchange

Look! It’s paper doll Hedi!

Prints and box from Dress Hedi Up!: A Print Exchange

I couldn’t take pictures of all 27 outfits, but here’s a taste of what was in that fabulous box:

Inside the box was a key to the artists behind the prints. I thought that it was a very clever way to deal with identifying prints that might not have had names on them.

Key of artist prints from Dress Hedi Up!: A Print Exchange

After drooling over the books on the table, I moved on to Thesaurus. This project took place in 2004. Students and faculty at the University of the Arts (I should have gone to school there!) created an edition of books with a uniform height and width. All other criteria used were at the discretion of each artist.

Here are some of the books that were on display:

The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg by James Engelbart was my favorite. At a specific point in the book you have to use the knife to cut open a signature. This is meant to represent the cutting open of the goose. I found the execution (ha, ha) very clever.

Book art by James Engelbart

Here’s the portfolio box that contained all of the books in the edition – it was designed by Hedi Kyle. This woman must never sleep!

Thesaurus Portfolio Box by Hedi Kyle

I finally moved on to the hallway exhibit, The Book as Art: Highlights from the Book Arts Collection. This was when I got to see my very first Keith Smith book in person – hello Ladies First!

Book art by Keith Smith

The Coupon Chronometer by Amee Pollack caught my eye, mostly because I’m a self-confessed coupon nerd. The collection of coupons that comprise the book includes printed text, a poem that spans multiple pages.

Art book by Amee Pollack

I love Paul Johnson‘s work, so seeing one of his pieces in person is always a treat:

I had reached the halfway point of my tour. I headed up to the University of Pennsylvania, my alma mater, for the next exhibit – but first, lunch! I walked to Koch’s Deli for the World’s Greatest Chicken Salad Sandwich and a Dr. Brown’s cream soda. HEAVEN.

Now that I had refueled, I walked to Penn’s Kelly Writers House to view The Word Made Manifest: Text in Handmade Paper.

Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania

The exhibit was curated by Mary Tasillo of the Common Press, Penn’s book arts and letterpress studio. Work included pieces that featured handmade paper as its primary art form.

I loved these two paper pieces by Helen Hiebert that included watermarks, lit from behind:

I was also taken with this piece by Melanie Mowinski. It’s funny how much of her work I encountered during my tour.

These last pieces by Steve Kostell and Drew Matott caught my eye. They are part of an artist book edition that includes pigmented pulp printing.

I’ll admit that at this point in the day, my feet were really starting to hurt. Nevertheless, I pressed onward. Last stop, City Hall, where long, creepy hallways are their specialty.

Philadelphia City Hall

It was in City Hall that I ran into a former co-worker from my Paper Source days. What a pleasant surprise! She was the manager that hired me and started me on my bookmaking journey. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. Thanks Lisa!

This exhibit Variations of the Artist Book: Philadelphia Center for the Book Member Exhibition was really wonderful. It had an educational component where each case focused on a specific quality of artist books – structure, content, text, images, and materials.

Display case with artist books

Display case with artist books

Here are some of my favorite pieces in the exhibition – they really vary in form and technique:

So there you have it – a glimpse into my day of speed-exhibiting. Blisters = worth it.

Book Arts Guide to Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Artist book by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof DesignsWelcome to your Book Arts guide for Spring Open Studio Weekend 2019!

Vermont Open Studio Weekend is coming up this weekend (May 25 & 26)! I like supporting other book artists when I can, so I dedicate a blog post to them during every open studio event. There are four book artsy studios participating (besides mine) this spring.

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 sadly, they’re not. Look at this way – you’ll get a really great tour of Vermont’s gorgeous landscape while on your travels.

I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the yellow Spring Event and Resource Guide. The colors of the studio numbers in this post match the colored markers in the Google map. By the way, I’m studio #128.

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 clockwise. And away we go!

The first studio is #1, Meta Strick – she does it all. Oh my goodness, her calligraphy! 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 – it should come as no surprise to you that she’s a teacher.

Next is #140, 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.

Stop number three is studio #127 – Kelly McMahon of May Day Studio. Kelly is both a letterpress printer and a bookbinder. 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, so you know she’s got skills. Kelly’s studio is about 1.6 miles from mine.

Last stop on the tour is studio #48 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.

Here’s the aforementioned Google Map for planning your route:

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…sadly, I don’t get to leave my studio to visit others during the event.

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!

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!

Book Arts Guide to Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Pile of handmade leather journals by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof DesignsWelcome to the 2016 Book Arts Guide to Vermont Open Studio Weekend

It’s time for my annual rundown of the book artists participating in Vermont Open Studio Weekend (coming up on May 28 & 29). Some of these talented folks are also members of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont, an organization I hold near and dear to my heart.

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. Sad face.

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 #83.

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

On to the studios!

First stop on the tour is #1, Nancy Stone. Nancy is one of the founders of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont and has mastered the integration of her painting and book-making skills. Not only is Nancy an amazing book artist, she is also a well-known teacher in the book arts throughout Vermont and has inspired many students. 

Next stop is #2, Shelburne Pond Studios, which is 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.

Studio #31 belongs to Meta Strick – she is a Jackie of all trades. She does wonderful mixed media work, including dolls that have a book component. It’s quite wonderful to read the “history” of each doll. She has a great philosophy that you can make anything into a book (is it any surprise that she’s a teacher?).

New to Open Studio Weekend this year is Marcie Scudder, studio #35. According to her website, Marcie creates “handmade books that yoke together…words and images into sculptural art.” Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any images of her work online and I haven’t seen her work for myself. So, if you like surprises, this is the studio for you. Go visit her studio and report back on what you saw – I’m dying to know more.

Next on the tour is #149 – 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 and night. The size of his work ranges from miniature to really ginormous – you can walk through some of his books when they’re open.

Last, but not least, is #166 Carolyn Shattuck. A seasoned printmaker, Carolyn 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.

If you do go to any of the studios, share your experiences here and I will live vicariously through you. If you have any pictures, I’d love to see them…you can even do a guest post on my blog!

Book Arts at Haystack 2016

Haystack 2016 catalogI just received the 2016 catalog of workshops from the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Detailed workshop information won’t be posted online until January 1st, so you’re getting an early sneak peek!

There are a couple workshops of note that are bookish:

During session two (June 26 – July 8), Rebecca Goodale is teaching Artist’s Books: The Balancing Act of Concept and Form. Here’s the description:

At every turn you will discover a myriad of choices all leading the way to success. The rich complexity of the artist’s book involves rhythm, pace, and form and is driven by a desire to express an idea and/or narrative over and across the pages. In this workshop participants will develop a vocabulary of book structures and then consider appropriate concepts to use with those forms. Demonstrations, design exercises, and various book arts techniques (including binding) will engage participants at all levels.

Rebecca’s workshop is sure to be wonderful – she’s got skills. She works as the coordinator for the Kate Cheney Chappell ’83 Center for Book Arts at the University of Southern Maine (their programming is fantastic). Her creative work focuses on Maine’s endangered/threatened flora and fauna – check out her collaborative project inspired by leafcutter ants.

Although it’s categorized as a Graphics workshop, there’s another book arts-y offering during session four (July 31 – August 12) – A Letterpress, an Artist’ Book, and some text walk into a bar… (hello, best title ever) with Erin Sweeney

Here are the details on her workshop:

This intensive workshop will focus on the depth and breadth of the artists’ book. Participants will learn a variety of printmaking techniques using a Kelsey platen press and a Showcard proof press, experimenting with alternative materials, as well as type, to create imagery. Using materials we have created, we will construct several artists’ books – these structures will combine traditional techniques (folding, binding) and materials with innovative structures. We will also work with text – generated through several simple prompts – and look to house image, text, and objects in new and surprising ways. Students will also have the opportunity to collaborate, and the emphasis will be on fun and experimentation.

Erin received her MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia (hello, jealous). I met Erin at the Paper and Book Intensive a few years ago. Not only is she an amazing artist, but she’s totally adorable (translate: she must be a fun teacher).

Haystack is accepting applications now through April 1st.

FYI: Workshops aren’t first come, first served – they hold all applications until the deadline, after which they review them and assign students. Be sure to put some serious thought into your application!

Book Arts Guide to Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Leather coptic journalsWelcome to the 2015 Book Arts Guide to Vermont Open Studio Weekend

It’s time for my annual nod to the many book artists participating in Open Studio Weekend. Many of these talented folks are also members of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont, an organization I hold near and dear to my heart.

I created the Google map below, which includes all of the studios to help you plan your travels. Unfortunately, the book arts studios aren’t very close to each other. By the way, I’m studio #185.

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 below.

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

First stop on the book arts tour is #82 Carolyn Shattuck. A seasoned printmaker, Carolyn 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.

Next stop is #124, Marianna Holzer. In the Holzer family, binding and preserving books is a family tradition. Marianna is a third generation bookbinder following in her father and grandfather’s footsteps. Before founding a bindery of her own in 2008, Marianna helped to preserve and restore the permanent records of hundreds of municipalities across the United States for thirty years. The history behind her work is reason alone to go see her studio.

When you visit Shelburne Pond Studios, you’ll be able to see two artists. At studio #128, Jill Abilock of Six Loons Studio 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.

#129, Lyna Lou Nordstrom, is the other artist with a studio at Shelburne Pond Studios. She is a wonderful printmaker, focusing her work on the painterly aspects of monoprinting. Her techniques include the silkscreen process, collagraph and solar plate etching.

Next stop is #132, Nancy Stone. Nancy is one of the founders of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont [insert Elissa’s sweet gaze of admiration here]. Not only is Nancy an amazing book artist, she is also a well-known teacher in the books arts throughout Vermont and has inspired many students.

#154 Meta Strick. Meta really is a Jackie of all trades. She does wonderful mixed media work, including dolls that have a book component. It’s quite wonderful to read the “history” of each doll. She has a great philosophy that you can make anything into a book. Meta has lots of fans, so don’t be surprised if you get to her studio and it’s mobbed. Perhaps pick up some coffee and a snack before you head on over?

Next on the tour is #170 Ken Leslie. Ken primarily creates books in a circular format – a practice that developed out of his dissatisfaction with rectangular painting shapes. His themes often focus on natural cycles, such as day and night. The size of his work ranges from miniature to really ginormous – you can walk through some of his books when they’re open.

The last stop is #186 Kelly McMahon of May Day Studio. Kelly is a letterpress master, carving 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.

If you do go to any of the studios, share your experiences here and I will live vicariously through you. If you have any pictures, I’d love to see them…you can even do a guest post on my blog!

Hello Hedi

Hello Hedi logoThe 23 Sandy Gallery currently has a call for entries for HELLO HEDI, a juried exhibition of book art inspired by the work of Hedi Kyle. The exhibition will be on view at the gallery from June 5 – July 25, 2015.

One of the cool things about the show is that it coincides with the Focus on Book Arts conference. The artists’ reception is on June 26th, the Friday of the conference.

Laura Russell will be jurying the exhibit, while Hedi will be choosing the awards. Here’s a blurb from the 23 Sandy website about the exhibition:

…this is more than just a structure show. No blank books, please. We are looking for works that honor Hedi’s paper transformations with smart stories, strong concepts, focused contexts and excellent craftsmanship. We are open to works that adapt her structures, or works that expand her ideas and continue that sense of discovery that has long inspired us all. This international juried exhibition will also feature books by Hedi herself.

I am hoping that Hedi will attend the reception – she’ll be presenting at FOBA the night before, so she’ll be in the area. I don’t have anything in particular to talk to her about, it would mostly just be me being a total fan geek.

If you’re interested in submitting work for the exhibition, you have until March 28, 2015 to enter. Visit the 23 Sandy Gallery website for more details.

Book Arts at Haystack 2015

The Haystack Mountain School of Crafts has a bookbinding offering during its fifth summer session from August 16 – 28, 2015 – Paper Engineering: Making Pop-Ups and Sculptural Books with Carol Barton.

The workshop seems fantastic, as you can see in the description below:

Discover the magic of the sculptural book through explorations of three-dimensional and pop-up forms. Participants will learn a variety of pop-up structures, beginning with simple cut-and-fold pop-ups and progressing through a series of more complex glued constructions. The workshop will also explore sculptural bindings, the carousel, and tunnel book formats. A lesson on adding lights to pop-ups will be included. Slide shows of historical and artist-made books will be presented. An ideal session for anyone who likes to play with paper.

I’ve taken a workshop with Carol before and I highly recommend working with her if you have the chance.

By the way, Carol has a new book, Land Forms and Air Currents. The accordion book stretches over 150 inches when fully opened and incorporates scans of her original watercolors with floating pop-up additions. It’s really lovely.

Many thanks to Carol who granted permission for use of her photos!

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