Category : Exhibit

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.

Philly happenings during Standards

City Hall in PhiladelphiaI’m so excited to say that I’ll be attending this year’s Guild of Book Workers Standards of Excellence Seminar! I’m especially excited because the event will bring me to my old stomping grounds, Philadelphia. I went to the University of Pennsylvania for my undergraduate education and I love love love the area.

I’m hoping to make it to two of my favorite food spots – Kamal’s at the Reading Terminal Market and Koch’s Deli, home of the world’s greatest chicken salad sandwich.

Besides eating and attending the seminar, I’ll be checking out some book artsy happenings that are going on during my time in Philly.

Here’s what’s up:

At the Brodsky Gallery at Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk on the University of Pennsylvania campus, is The Word Made Manifest: Text in Handmade Paper. The exhibit was curated by Mary Tasillo of the Common Press and is open now through October 27, 2019. Featured artists include Kerri Cushman, Helen Hiebert, Takeshi Honda, Steven Kostell, Suzanne McLelland, Melanie Mowinski, Christy Rupp, and Mary Tasillo.

The exhibit brings together artists who work with handmade paper as an explicit art form. The pieces in this exhibition feature text, wherein the text is physically part of the piece of paper. Techniques range from watermarking to shaped pages to an array of approaches to stenciling pigmented paper pulp into the sheet of paper while it’s still wet and freshly formed. Experience the word and the page becoming one.

Now through November 30th, the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers is presenting Once Upon a Book at the Free Library in Philadelphia. The exhibit is located at the Parkway Central Library on the 2nd floor outside the Art Department.

Who doesn’t love children’s books? We all have a favorite book that was read to us as a child or one that we read to our own children, or even grandchildren. For some of us, it was the start of a passion for all things book-related. The Delaware Valley Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers wanted to display their love of children’s books by having chapter members rebind, alter, restore, or create from scratch a book intended for children.

Also on view at the Parkway Central Library is The Book as Art: Highlights from the Book Arts Collection. The exhibit is located at the Print and Picture Collection (2nd floor) and is open now through November 30th.

While artists have illustrated books for centuries, an artists’ books is a medium unto itself. Artists’ books draw inspiration from the form or the function of a book to create a piece of artwork. Depending on the artist’s intent, the book may be limited to one copy or could be editioned to make many. These books are often constructed by hand, but may feature mass-produced components. The books on view represent a selection of artists’ books housed in the Print and Picture Collection.

And lastly, you can find Thesaurus: A Book Exchange between Graduates and Faculty of the University of the Arts Book Arts & Printmaking Program at the Parkway Central Library now through November 30th. This exhibition can be found inside cases at the Print and Picture Collection (2nd floor).

In 2004, students and faculty of the University of the Arts embarked on an ambitious collaborative project to create a thirty-run edition of books uniformly sized by height and width. The depth, breadth, form, and subject of each book was as diverse as the student or professor who created it. On view is a sampling of work created by these students and faculty.

The Philadelphia Center for the Book‘s current exhibit, Variations of the Artist Book: Philadelphia Center for the Book Member Exhibition is open how through November 29, 2019. The show is located downtown on the 2nd floor of City Hall.

The Guild of Book Workers‘ exhibit Formation ends its tour at the University of the Arts‘ Hamilton/Arronson Gallery. The exhibit is open now through October 30th. Here’s the curator’s statement:

The theme of “formation” was prompted when I was in Charleston for the 2016 Standards conference, browsing in Blue Bicycle Books. I came across a memoir by the writer Eudora Welty called One Writer’s Beginnings. A portion of the summary on the dust jacket reads, “she sketches her autobiography and tells us how her family and her surroundings contributed to the shaping not only of her personality but of her writing.” Having recently worked on a fine binding that was more autobiographical than I am used to, I had this subject on the brain. And so I started thinking about the formation of personal narratives and histories, how our histories help to inform the work we make as artists.


As I began to talk more openly about the idea of “formation” as a theme, it was clear that this was a word that could be taken in many different directions: biology (the formation of plants), craftsmanship (forming pieces, how we make things), forming ideas, geographies – these are some of the interpretations I have come across. The possibilities really seemed endless, and as entries began rolling in, I saw that members had thought about the theme from angles I hadn’t yet considered. It was a hugely gratifying experience to come up with a concept and then see the many ways that the idea inspired others to create.

The University of the Arts is located at 320 S. Broad Street (NW corner of Broad and Pine Streets).

My agenda’s looking pretty full!

If you know of anything else going on in the Philadelphia area this month, please let me know. I’m always up for cramming another clown in the car. 🙂

UNBOUND IX exhibit at ArtisTree Gallery

For the past 9 years, the ArtisTree Gallery in South Pomfret, VT has had an exhibit of book art and this was the first year that I submitted work for the jury. I have no good reason for having not done so sooner. It’s a book art exhibit in Vermont for goodness’ sake – what took me so long?

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

The broad theme of “UNBOUND VOL. IX” encompasses all of the possibilities of what we may think or may not think a “book” is. Is it story? An entry to another world? An exploration? What does it indicate? This juried show looks to explore this idea of “the book” and all the ways artists use that format as a stepping-off point or as material to explore new ideas.

Needless to say, I was thrilled when my piece Fine Art was accepted to UNBOUND vol. IX. Here it is on display:

Unfortunately, I missed the opening reception because it was held the day before I left for vacation. Upon my return from my trip, I had a surprise waiting for me in the mail – a certificate stating that my piece had won Honorable Mention! When I finally visited the gallery, I saw that there was a lovely gold sticker next to my piece (I’m a sucker for a gold star):

Gallery artwork label

And then another pleasant surprise, as you can see above – I sold my piece! Woohoo!

I didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have liked to explore the other work in the exhibit – as you can see on my daughter’s face below, Anna was less than pleased that she had been dragged to the gallery at all. There was no cheese there. And yes, she specifically mentioned that.

Toddler in stroller at art gallery

For the brief time I was in the gallery, I did find a few pieces that caught my interest (they’re all so different!):

Even though I didn’t have a lot of time in the gallery, I’m glad I made the trip. Many of my cohorts from the Book Arts Guild of Vermont had pieces in the show and I knew some of the other artists from the online book arts world (I’m looking at you @grimmbooks and @passionatobooks).

It’s nice to be among friends.

Book arts exhibit at ArtisTree Gallery

The Art of the Book – Book Arts Guild of Vermont exhibit at Frog Hollow

Last week I attended the opening for the second of the Book Arts Guild’s of Vermont‘s annual exhibits. This time I was at Frog Hollow Craft Gallery in Burlington, VT. The Art of the Book is open now until June 30th.

The Art of the Book exhibit sign - Frog Hollow Craft Gallery

If you go to the gallery, the show is in the back in a little nook. Here’s a partial view of said nook:

Book Arts Guild of Vermont exhibit at Frog Hollow craft gallery

I can’t believe that the guild managed to fill two shows. Just like the exhibit at SPA, this one doesn’t disappoint – the work is stunning.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces (it seems I was drawn to black and white work this time):

I had another piece from my Fine Art edition in the show:

Fine Art - Handmade book by Elissa Campbell

Fine Art - Handmade book by Elissa Campbell

Fine Art - Handmade book by Elissa Campbell

And apparently this is what I do in between group pictures with my fellow B.A.G. members:

Frog Hollow is located at 85 Church Street in Burlington, VT. The exhibit runs now through June 30th.

Gallery hours:

  • Monday – Tuesday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

For more information about the exhibit, please call (802) 863-6458.

Note: If you can’t make it to the exhibit, you can view all of the included pieces on the Book Arts Guild of Vermont website.

Beyond Words: Artworks by the Book Arts Guild of Vermont

Yesterday I attended the opening for the first of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont‘s annual exhibits – Beyond Words. That’s right – we have more than one exhibit this year.

The first (and currently open) show is at Studio Place Arts in the Second Floor Gallery. Here’s how the gallery describes the show:

Books can take on a language of their own, as shown in the multimedia work of this group of artists that use shape, structure, and materials to get their message across.

It’s a sweet little show with lots of wonderful member work.

Book Arts Guild of Vermont exhibit at Studio Place Arts

Sign for Book Arts Guild of Vermont exhibit at Studio Place Arts

Here are a few of my favorite pieces (I seem to be drawn to red, orange, and black work):

And this is my piece for the show – Fine Art:Fine Art - Handmade book by Elissa Campbell

I’ll be sharing the story behind this piece in another post. It’s part of an edition of five books and each comes with a protective box.

I’m really proud of the work I did and it’s a miracle that I could squeeze in its production during Anna’s naps. Well, and I stayed up late working for several days. It was hard.

Studio Place Arts is located at 201 North Main Street in Barre, VT. The exhibit runs now through June 30th.

It’s well worth the visit. And if you make it to Barre, my studio is about 15 minutes away – give me a call and we can schedule a studio visit. You’ll get two book arts experiences for the price of one!

Gallery hours: 

  • Tuesday – Friday: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

For more information about the exhibit, please visit or call (802) 479-7069.

Note: If you can’t make it to the exhibit, you can view all of the included pieces on the Book Arts Guild of Vermont website.

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!

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!

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

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.

Bookworks: Artists’ Books from the Book Arts Guild of Vermont

I recently visited the Book Arts Guild of Vermont‘s annual exhibit, Bookworks: Artists’ Books from the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. The show is at the Living/Learning Center gallery at the University of Vermont and runs until March 18, 2016. 

The gallery is a cozy little space, with books displayed out in the open (no glass cases). Signs by each book indicated whether or not they could be handled and gloves were available for this purpose.

Book Arts Guild of Vermont exhibit at UVM

There’s a lot to love about this show. I’m sure I’m biased because the participating artists are my friends, but the work is really quite nice. The exhibit includes a wonderful variety of work, ranging from altered books to calligraphy, letterpressed editions to wall pieces.

One of my favorite pieces in the show was created by Jane Ploughman – 26 Reasons: why my garden will not be featured in Martha Stewart Living. The book included letterpress prints, linoleum cuts, and collographs – and it made me laugh so hard.

Jane’s alphabetic reasons for garden failure are hilarious – Q: I quit, Z: time for a snooZe, O: those were onions NOT weeds!!!

Another piece I enjoyed was The Echo in My Soul by Ann Joppe-Mercure. The text of the book included lyrics from musicians, including Arlo Guthrie and Julie Gold. The printed box lining cleverly incorporated the colophon – it was subtle. As part of the experience, Ann offered origami cranes to her readers, in a way making them part of the book.

Dorsey Hogg is our guild’s altered book master and her piece Expanding Borders was fantastic. She carved a niche out of an atlas, which was a cozy nook for housing two semicircular books.

Did I mention that I have three pieces in the show? Two of the books are historical models – a girdle book and an Islamic binding.

I also included one of my Improv books – Fabruary. I figured that the content was appropriate considering that the exhibit started in February. Here’s a shot of the book with my head:

Elissa Campbell with an artists' book

Get thyself over to UVM and check out the exhibit – you won’t be disappointed. And if you happen to be far, far away – don’t fret! You can see all of the pieces on the Book Arts Guild of Vermont’s website.

Book Works exhibit

The most recent meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont took place at the SEABA Gallery – it was the setting for our current group show, Book Works. I’m always impressed by the quality and variety of work that is created by members of our Guild.

Here’s a description of the show:

The artists redefine the normal concept of the book, using various mediums and techniques to construct or reconstruct pieces that tell a story, and can be ‘read’ in some way by the viewer. A group of books altered by folding and manipulating pages represents the outcome of the guild’s monthly meeting program where members share skills and encourage creative work. Other works represent the broad definition of the book as explored by painters, textile artists, and paper lovers.

My entry for the show was Superhero Handbook, a book I created during the 2014 Book Arts Improv. It was so nice to see it on display…

Artists' book - Superhero Handbook by Elissa Campbell

…and even nicer to see that it had sold!

Exhibit wall sign

Here are some of my favorite pieces from the show:

The show is fabulous and well worth a visit. You can check out the work up close, now through April 24th. If you can’t make it, you can view the exhibit on the Book Arts Guild of Vermont website.

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