Category : Letterpress

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.

DIY.org – more books arts patches!

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, then you know how much I love book arts-related badges/patches. It all started with a set of bookbinding merit badges I purchased nine (!) years ago. Since then, I’ve grown my collection to include scout badges from Ireland and New Zealand, along with other non-scout patches.

I recently discovered DIY.org, an online community where kids (16 years and younger) can learn new skills and earn patches for their efforts. If you consider yourself un-scouty, then this program might be right up your family’s alley. And it’s free!

Annnddddd…they’ve got a Bookbinder patch!Bookbinder patch

Here are a few of the 15 challenges one can complete to earn the patch:

  • Fold a book from a single sheet
  • Pamphlet stitch a booklet
  • Bind a flag book
  • Make a pop-up book
  • Make an accordion book

And there’s a Printmaker patch too!Printmaker patch

Here are some of the 12 challenges for that patch:

  • Make a relief print
  • Make a stamp
  • Create a monoprint
  • Use a letterpress
  • Make an etching

Needless to say, these two patches are already on their way to me. I figure I’ve definitely earned them and, well, I just want them. Mine!


Many thanks to DIY.org for granting me permission to use the images of their patches.

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.

Book Arts Guide to Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Handmade journal by Elissa CampbellWelcome to your Book Arts cheat sheet for Spring Open Studio Weekend 2018!

As I mentioned in my previous postVermont Open Studio Weekend (May 26 & 27) is rapidly approaching. As a book artist, it’s important to me to support other folks working in the field and that’s why I dedicate a blog post just to them. There are five 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.

I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the gold 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 #160.

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 #5, 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 stop is studio #37, Shelburne Pond Studios, where you’ll find Jill Abilock of Six Loons Studio. She creates one-of-a-kind work that is really inspirational. And really structurally complex (I don’t know how she does how she does). Her compelling storytelling and creative voice are enhanced by her innovative combinations of materials and structure.

#66 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.

Last stop on the tour is studio #159 – 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.

If you make it to central Vermont this weekend (if you visit me, you’ll be in the right place), you’ll get a bonus – head over to Studio Place Arts (#161) in Barre, VT to view the exhibit Beyond Words: Artworks by the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. Yep, it’s a whole collection of book work in one place! I have a piece in the exhibit, so you definitely should check it out.

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!

Book Arts enamel pins

The Paper Carnival just released a collection of book art-related enamel pins. The six-pack includes assorted book tools, a nipping press, a Vandercook proof press, a letterpress composing stick, and a small pica pole.

Just look at them – they are so very cool!

Book Artists' Bookbinding and Letterpress Enamel Pins

The Paper Carnival is the brainchild of Julie Chen (Flying Fish Press) and Keri Miki-Lani Schroeder (Coyote Bones Press). The partnership was established in 2017 with the goal of creating book artsy collectibles. These pins are just the beginning. Yay!

You can buy each pin individually for $12.00 or the full set for $70.00 on Etsy. Obviously, I had to have the full set. I think it will look awesome on my not-yet-assembled book arts sash (along with my merit badges).

I’m looking forward to seeing what other designs they come up with – perhaps a sewing frame or Kutrimmer?


Note: Many thanks to Keri for allowing me to use her image for this blog post.

2018 Book Artsy Deadlines

As 2017 draws to a close, one’s mind begins to think about the opportunities that 2018 brings. And if you’re anything like me, you get obsessed with all of the new book arts classes and workshops that are offered.

So much to learn, so little time. 🙁

Some workshops are easier to get into than others. When I enrolled in Hedi Kyle’s workshop at North Country Studio Workshops, I had to be on my computer at midnight when the application went up. The workshop sold out within a few hours.

And different institutions have different acceptance policies, so simply registering early isn’t always the answer. Groan.

In an effort to make things easier for you, I hereby present a brief roundup of some of the more renowned programs and their deadlines. Oh yes, there are deadlines.

Book Arts Deadlines 2018 -  logo

The Paper and Book Intensive, an annual 10-day retreat of book arts and papermaking classes, will open its general application period on January 1st. The earlier you apply, the better the chances that you’ll get the classes you want. Keep an eye on this page of their website for the posting of their application.

By the way, if you’re interested in applying for the Nell Meldahl Work-Study Scholarship (half-tuition), time’s running out. You’ve only got until December 31st to get your application in.


Registration for Summer 2018 workshops at the Penland School of Crafts opens on January 8th at 9:00 a.m. Although they have used a lottery system in the past, this year they’ll be accepting applications on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you’d like to work alongside one of Penland’s talented instructors, you can apply to be a studio assistant. You’d be responsible for assisting with the workshop and maintaining the studio and in return, you’d receive housing and meals. The application period opens on January 1st and closes on February 17th.

Here’s the list of workshops/instructors looking for assistants:


Registration for the third annual Mills College Summer Institute for Book and Print Technologies is already underway. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until a workshop is full so if you want in on one of the workshops, you best get moving!

By the way, these workshops are not for beginners – they are taught at a master class level and you’re expected to have prior experience in bookmaking, letterpress, or printmaking.


The Wells College Book Arts Center Summer Institute has also opened their registration for 2018. They offer two week-long classes in bookmaking, letterpress, papermaking, type casting, and more. If you sign up for a class before January 15th, you’ll get $100.00 off tuition. 

For those with financial limitations, Wells offers both need-based scholarships and non-paying internships to college/graduate students in the book arts. Interns can participate as a student in one class and work as a studio assistant in another. 

For more information about scholarships and/or internships, download the application (pdf). Applications are due on March 15th.


Are you taking any interesting classes next year? I’d love to hear about it!

Share the details in the comments below or send me an email.

Editions – a coworking space for Seattle book artists

Sarah Mottaghinejad of Ink and Awl is establishing a coworking space for Seattle book artists – Editions (great name). It sounds like it’s going to be an amazing place – as a renter, you not only get access to equipment, but also to consumables like glue, thread, and ink.

She already has everything she needs to get it going right now, except for an etching press. And that’s where her Kickstarter comes in – Sarah hopes to raise $6,000.00 by October 30th so that she can purchase a press.

She’s got really cool rewards available for backers, like linoprints, custom letterpressed business cards, and a seat in one (or more) of her classes. And the bookbinder’s patchawesome.

Bookbinders Patch by Ink and Awl

She’s a bit more than halfway to her goal with just two weeks to go. You just know you want in on this.

You can learn more about the project by watching the video below.

You can also follow Sarah on Instagram to learn more about her work and the evolution of Editions.

Happy Letterpress Appreciation Day!

Today is Letterpress Appreciation Day, another one of those awesome holidays during which we’re not likely to be getting a day off from work.
 
Wood letterpress type
 
 The date of September 18th (9-18) was chosen for good reason – the standard height of wood and metal type is 0.918 inches. Quite nifty.
 
So how am I celebrating? Well, today marks yet another year of not using my own Kelsey 5×8 Excelsior Press Model U letterpress. I purchased it over 5 years ago. Bad Elissa.
 
It sits on my desk in my studio, taunting me on a daily basis. Use me…show me you care… 
 
Kelsey 5×8 Excelsior Press Model U letterpress
 
Maybe next year I’ll finally be able to say that I  gave it a go. 
 
If you’re looking for a way to celebrate (besides printing broadsides), why not get a Type High Tee Shirt? Not only is it produced by the folks behind the excellent film Pressing On, but it also gives you a guaranteed outfit for one day a year!
 

Letterpress type image by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on Unsplash

Book Arts at Penland – Summer 2017

Trees with Penland School of Crafts text

I need to find a job where I get paid to take classes. That’s all I want to do – learn stuff. Seriously.

And Penland is killing me with its summer lineup of workshops.

Here are a few highlights (there are many more):

During Session 2 (June 11 – 23), Jessica Spring is teaching Daredevil Ephemera:

For printers and book artists, ephemera offers a sweet spot between mass-produced greeting cards and limited-edition books where form and content work together to elevate both. Inspired by vintage ephemera, we’ll master several folded bindings while also looking at structures designed in response to content. Folded structures offer an ideal surface for daredevil letterpress typesetting: exploring the use of traditional circular and angle quads, adapting existing tools, and experimenting with Daredevil Furniture (lasercut typesetting furniture designed at Springtide Press). Each student will complete a small edition of an artist’s book.

I’ve met Jessica on several occasions and she is wicked cool. And skilled. Taking a workshop with her would definitely be a fun experience.

During Session 4 (July 9 – 21), Matthew Shlian is teaching Paper Sculpture:

Students will explore the medium of paper as they create sculpture using paper engineering, kirigami, and paper craft as starting points. Using a combination of Tyvek and 100-lb text and 10-pt cover-weight stocks, students will learn the elements of paper mechanics and then apply them to books, collapsible structures, interactive kinetic design, and foldable sculpture. Techniques will include curve folding, pleating systems, and modular design. Students are encouraged to bring in their own imagery, photographs, technology, and other materials to work from.

I was lucky enough to handle some of Matthew’s work when he presented the keynote address at the Movable Book Society conference last year. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Any knowledge he’d impart during a workshop would be well worth the price of admission.

During Summer Session 6 (August 13 – 25), Andrea Dezsö is teaching Pop-Up Artists’ Books:

Learn to make artists’ books that pop up, unfold, expand, and reveal; books that become theaters, platforms, movable structures, or interactive experiences. You’ll learn paper engineering to create movable books—first with simple structures and then with more complex ones. Then you’ll experiment with combining them in innovative ways and enhancing them with collage, drawing, or coloring. You’ll be encouraged to treat form and content as an interdependent whole as you create one-of-a-kind pop-up books. 

At the same time I was in Boston for the Movable Book Society conference, I visited the Pucker Gallery to view their show Of Light and Shadow: New Work by Andrea Dezsö (exhibition catalog). Oh.my.goodness. Her tunnel books are insane. The way she cuts paper. Damn.

I’m not surprised that I seem to be drawn to the workshops focusing on pop-ups and movable books. That MBS conference did a number on me.

Penland’s summer registration is open now. Applications are processed on a first-come/first-served basis.

Activist letterpress

In my 8+ years of blogging, I have made a point of not expressing my political views in my posts. I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinions and I’d rather not get into debates here – I want this to be a happy place.

That said, I have been in a major funk ever since Obama left office. I’m not happy with our current president for so many reasons. So.many.reasons.

I was really inspired by Montpelier letterpress printer and book artist Kelly McMahon of May Day Studio who recently hosted an event at her studio. Here’s the announcement:

Latest news got you down? Want to send a bit of thanks or good cheer (or a stern reminder) to your representatives?

 

Stop in to May Day Studio and print a postcard (or 10) from handset metal and wood type on one of our antique printing presses.

In general, I’m a reluctant activist but I thought, this I can do.

At the entrance to the studio, Kelly collected donations for organizations representing causes that are threatened by the current administration. Paper was donated by The Drawing Board (a local art shop) for the project.

Stacks of paper and donation jars

Type was ready to print in your choice of design – all awesome.

Letterpress type

Here’s the one I picked:

Letterpress type

Letterpress postcard ready for printing

I love silver ink and it looks so good on light blue paper.

Letterpress printed postcards

Kelly is currently selling a limited number of postcard sets on Etsy – Love and Protest. For a $5.00 donation to one of the specified organizations (ACLUPlanned Parenthood Northern New England Action Fund, Black Lives Matter VermontSierra Club, or Standing Rock), you can get your own set of 8 letterpress printed postcards.

I’ll be sending one of my postcards to the White House on March 15th as part of #TheIdesOfTrump protest. Now I just have to figure out what to write on it…

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