Category : Paper

Paperwork in 3D exhibit at the Shelburne Museum

Sign from Paperwork in 3D exhibit at the Shelburne Museum

A few weeks ago, I saw the Paperwork in 3D exhibit at the Shelburne Museum. It was amazing!

I have to admit that I don’t visit the Shelburne Museum often enough. I think I’ve taken it for granted because it’s right in my backyard. It really is a beautiful place and they have great skill in how they curate their exhibits.

Paperwork in 3D features the work of 23 artists who use paper as their medium, using a wide variety of techniques. The paper used varied as well – from discarded books to tax forms.

Something I thought was brilliant was how the Museum put out samples of the different materials used – it offered a wonderful way for people to better understand the work. It also gave me the opportunity to paw at paper, one of my favorite pastimes.

Paper samples at the Shelburne Museum

There were so many fabulous pieces in the exhibit. I had to limit the number 0f photos I took because I realized that it kept me from really experiencing the work.

Here are some of the pieces I liked:

I tend to have magical thinking about artwork, like it just comes out of thin air and doesn’t start anywhere. It was awesome to see the working model of one of Matt Reinhart’s books – it brings me back down to earth.

It’s not too late to see the exhibit for yourself – it runs now through October 30, 2011. And if the thought of seeing all the awesome work doesn’t get you to the Shelburne Museum, maybe the vintage carousel will (yes, you can ride it).

If you’d like to learn more about the artists featured above, here are their websites:

Worktable Wednesday

For the past three weeks, I’ve been teaching social media workshops to small business owners and it’s been taking up most of my days. I’m really feeling the pain of not having much studio time.

I’m teaching a Star Book workshop in October and I’ve been asked to supply a sample to the venue, so today I took advantage of a small chunk of time and did some initial design work.

I decided to create a book based on a trip I took to the Pacific Northwest. It was during this trip that I discovered what has become my most favorite place ever – Olympic National Park. If you’ve never been there, pack your suitcase.

It was just an ongoing experience of exponentially-increasing, breathtaking beauty. They have an amazing variety of environments there – coast, forest, and mountains.

I printed out several photos of things I found particularly inspiring:

Photos from vacation to Olympic National Park

After that, I headed out to the art store. I sat on the floor of the store with my photos spread out as I obsessed over shopped for paper. I bought 6 sheets of Canson Mi-Teintes (98 lb/160 GSM) – always good for a project.

Sheets of Canson Mi-Teintes paper

From top to bottom:

  • #122 – Flannel Gray
  • #480 – Light Green
  • #105 – Wave Green
  • #345 – Dark Gray
  • #102 – Azure
  • #131 – Twilight

We’ll see how many of them make the cut.

Take that literally, because I am going to cut them up.

Worktable Wednesday

I’m having one of those days where I feel like I talk too much. I’m going to keep my comments brief today.

I made accordion books with fabulous paste papers made by Claire Maziarczyk – I bought them more than two years ago – for shame!

Paste papers by Claire Maziarczyk

Her papers have a detailed copyright message on the back (and I can’t blame her for it):

Back of paste paper by Claire Maziarczyk

I glued…

Gluing cover of accordion book

…and it was hot. My new glue brush has frizzy hair, just like me.

Bookbinding glue brush

All done…

Finished accordion book covers

…and into the press.


I hope it’s cooler where you are!

It ain’t a vacation without paper…

As I mentioned in this post, I’m a big fan of National Parks. I just got back from a much-needed vacation in Maine and had a wonderful time exploring Acadia. It was so beautiful! We went kayaking, biking, hiking, and eating (helllooo lobster!).

I’m embarrassed to admit that not once did I think about getting paper on this trip. It doesn’t sound like my brain at all!

On the drive back yesterday, we stopped in Belfast to take a break. Thanks to a tip from a store owner, I discovered Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, a store that opened just last month.

In the back of the store were several racks of paper in bright colors and patterns. On a table were two stacks of paper, not yet out on display. The store employee told me that I was free to paw leaf through the colorful sheets of (mostly) Indian prints. I also found out that the store owner is planning on expanding her selection to include Japanese prints.

I bought three different patterns:

Handmade printed papers from India

The colors are just singing to me.

If you can’t make it to Maine, you can buy two of the papers online at Paper Mojo, one of my favorite paper stores:

Due to a total lack of forethought, The Tube did not accompany me on this vacation. This most likely made my husband nervous when he saw me buying paper. I’d like to thank him for keeping his paper willies to himself.

I was able to snag another sticker for my tube:

Sticker from Fiddlehead Artisan Supply

Little things make me so happy. Now what to do with the paper…

Thrashed Thursday

My intention was to write up a recap of Open Studio Weekend, but my brain can’t get wrapped around it. My life hasn’t yet settled down enough for me to do so.

You see – I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding this weekend. I have lots to do. This is what my worktable has looked like for most of the week:

Messy studio worktable

I really hate this punch. I killed one. It deserved it.

Messy studio worktable

Okay, so maybe I don’t really hate it. The punch makes the cutest little lacy edge:

Chocolate cake sign

But the paper was too thick to take full advantage of the embossing feature. So now I hate you, you evil punch.

Hopefully I’ll get back to my sunny self when all of these little paper bits are off my table!

Elissa’s Picks for Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Vermont Open Studio Weekend logo

Open Studio Weekend is mere days away.

In this post, I listed the book arts studios I’d visit if I were touring this weekend. Of course, I would also visit studios by artists working in other media. Some of my suggestions are listed below.

I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the Vermont Studio Tour Guide 2011. 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 would be Gallery at the Vault, #16. It’s a great place to get oriented for the start of your tour – they’re one of the official regional information centers for Open Studio Weekend. The gallery has been carrying my books for the last several months and they have a wonderful collection of craft work. As the name of the gallery suggests, there’s an actual bank vault in there. And they display artwork in it. I want to live in there. The gallery also has the honor of being one of only three galleries to have received the official designation as a Vermont State Craft Center. Awesome.

Laura Zindel, #37, would be my next stop. I really love her ceramic work – her designs remind me of scientific textbook illustrations.  She starts with pencil sketches and then silkscreens the images onto her pieces using an enamel transfer process. One of my favorite things to do is to explore tide pools and it’s for this reason that I love love love her Sea Life series. Dear Laura, you had me at starfish and spikey urchin.

Next I’d visit Tom Homann Pottery, #112. Tom’s booth was near mine at the 2009 Vermont Hand Crafters show and I was lucky enough to acquire one of his gorgeous steins. It’s my go-to mug for hot chocolate – it has a thumb perch on the handle (love it!). He uses earthy glazes in warm tones that are so lovely.

Lastly, I’d visit #184 Pikku, a.k.a. Valerie Ormiston. In Finnish, pikku translates to little or tiny. On her website, Valerie says that she enjoys celebrating the simple pleasures of each day – a great philosophy. I love her gift wrap designs. Ooohhhh and the pillows! The patterns are colorful, modern, and elegant. I am aching to use the Crazy Daisy paper on a journal.

Like the book arts studios, these studios aren’t very close to each other either. If you split them up between two days, it should be doable.

Make that map bigger!

Worktable Wednesday

Something that not many people know is that I make guest books. I’ve been making them for a while, but it’s usually for custom orders.

I’ve decided that it’s time to change that.

The idea was put in motion by Artisans Hand Craft Gallery‘s upcoming show, The Wedding Show. The gallery sent out a call for work that is suitable for a bride, groom, and/or wedding party. In particular, they’re looking for handmade items that include shades of cream, white, and soft greens.

I figured that now is a great time to officially add guest books to my production line (and soon my Etsy shop). Green is my favorite color and I have lots of materials to choose from – today I started on my first batch of guest books.

Welcome to my thought process.

First, I pull out every possible option for paper and bookcloth (a.k.a. make a big, fat mess):

Handmade paper and bookcloth in shades of cream and green

Some of the materials don’t make the cut. I choose four papers to pair with cream-colored bookcloth:

Handmade papers

The leafy paper at the top is one I use in my line of photo albums. The other papers are ones that I’ve used before for custom orders. It’s hard to see, but the paper at the bottom has baby’s breath in it.

Next I deal with more interesting options. I love this paper:

Handmade paper with grass inclusions

And I have the most awesome floral brocade bookcloth that I bought at (the sadly-closed) Kozo Arts. I decided to pair the dark green brocade with the grass paper.


Floral bookcloth and handmade paper with grasses

The next paper is a harder choice – it has cream and sorta-beige flower petals in it:

Handmade paper with flower petals

I can’t decide which bookcloth to use. Which do you like better?

Option 1: Dark green floral brocade:

Floral bookcloth and handmade paper with flower petals

Option 2: Kinda-peachy/sage green floral brocade:

Floral bookcloth and handmade paper with flower petals

Let me know what you think – even if you don’t like either of them.

I’m on the fence…and it’s a big fence…

Senbazuru: 1,000 Cranes of Hope

This past Saturday I attended Senbazuru: 1,000 Cranes of Hope, a fundraising effort to aid the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The event was co-organized by my friend (and book artist) Jill Abilock and the Creative Space Gallery.

A senbazuru is a chain of 1,000 origami paper cranes that has been strung together. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish.

It’s a really beautiful sentiment.

Those making donations to the fundraiser received a paper crane folding kit that included materials and folding instructions to make one crane for every dollar donated. Participants mailed in their completed cranes which were then incorporated into the senbazuru.

It was a delight to learn that students from Mount Abraham Union High School in Bristol, Vermont had volunteered their time and talents to create 1,000 cranes for the fundraiser! The kindness and generosity of these students just blew me away.

I was thrilled that we had enough cranes on hand because I’m not very good at origami. I can’t explain it – it’s just how I am.

As the pressure to fold was off, I was able to focus on stringing cranes. It was a relaxing process – adjusting the cranes so they nested, making sure they were all the same size, trying to create interesting color patterns – these are the things I’m good at.

The senbazuru are currently on display at the gallery. In the future, they will be sent to Japan to carry wishes for health and safety from the fine people of Vermont. They look lovely hanging in the gallery windows:

Senbazuru in progress

It’s not too late to participate! You can make a donation via FirstGiving – all donations go to the Japan disaster relief efforts of American Red Cross.

If you’d like to see the senbazuru in person, the Creative Space Gallery is open Thursday – Saturday, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. You can also call them for an appointment at (802) 877-3850.

Worktable Wednesday

I spent a large amount of time today working on the newsletter for the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. If you’re curious about what we’re doing, you can check out our newsletter for yourself.

Today’s adventure in the studio was pretty straightforward – inventory.

I decided to tackle the most complex drawer in my flat files – the one I call Solids/Brights. What that boils down to is a drawer full of random papers with any amount of color to them.

I love this drawer.

I hate counting the papers in this drawer.

I love love love walking down Paper Memory Lane.

I’m thankful that I have created a detailed inventory system. The one thing I haven’t added to my spreadsheet is country of origin. Although it doesn’t really impact my inventory, I just love knowing where my paper was made.

I love love love the Chinese stone embossed metallic papers that I bought at Paper Mojo.

Stack of handmade papers

Hello Japanese gorgeousness.

Stack of handmade papers

Then the papers get smaller and increasingly random. This is when my brain starts to ache.

Stack of handmade papers

And I almost, almost regret having purchased so much paper. I recover from that quickly.

Stack of handmade papers

Then I take a look at my paper-covered worktable and call it a day.

Oh yeah, that walk into the studio tomorrow morning is not going to be pleasant.

Worktable Wednesday

Today was the second day of a three-day, bookbinding class gig at the Springfield High School Arts Academy. I’ll be writing a post about my experience later in the week. I guarantee that there will be at least one reference to the fact that I end each day in complete exhaustion.

While my mind is still buzzing from the coffee I had to drink to make it home this afternoon, my body has since crashed. I managed to get into the studio for a very brief card-making session before making friends with my couch.

I have desperately been trying to get some Valentine’s Day cards done so that I can drop them off at Artisans Hand. I had hoped to get them done last week. Grrr…

I hereby vow that I will, oh yes, I will get cards over to the gallery before this Friday’s Art Walk. Now that I put it in writing, I have to do it – right?

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