Category : Vermont

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.

Spring Open Studio Weekend Recap

Open Studio Weekend has become a lot more complicated with the addition of Anna to our family. While I might have been able to put off my preparations until the last minute before, I don’t have that luxury now. I have to grab every free minute I can in between hanging with the nut baby and running errands.

Here’s what my studio looked like at 12:10 p.m. on Friday:

Blue Roof Designs bookbinding studio

Not too bad, right? Well, then this:

Hey, you! It looks like you barely did anything in the last NINE HOURS. Oh yeah, Anna. Okay, it’s still not too late. Just keep moving and you’ll be fine.

I am so screwed.

It’s pretty much a given that no matter how much I accomplish earlier in the week, I’ll still get little sleep the night before Open Studio. It’s all worth it though – I always get a warm and fuzzy feeling after putting out my yellow sign at the end of the driveway.

Vermont Open Studio Weekend sign

Let me give you a tour! When you walked in my front door, you would have seen this immediately on your left:

Bookshelf full of handmade books by Blue Roof Designs

Then walking towards the studio, this bookshelf would be right in front of you. It’s a bit of a lighting dead zone, but the clip lights help (sorry the pics are so blechy).

Bookshelf full of handmade books by Blue Roof Designs

After entering the door you see in the image below…

Blue Roof Designs bookbinding studio

…you’re in the studio!

Blue Roof Designs bookbinding studio

It doesn’t look like that 1:49 a.m. shot from Friday night, does it? Clean floors! Nothing to trip on! Books, books, books!

On the left wall is another bookshelf, this one filled with my artist’s books – some are one-of-a-kind and some are editions.

Bookshelf full of handmade books by Blue Roof Designs

Right next to the bookshelf is a desk with bookbinding supplies and small books. That metal triangle display thingie (to the left of the Kelsey) is an ornament tree. I started making ornaments last year that include three small leather long-stitch books, strung on wires with beads and they come in a bunch of colors. I plan to have them for sale on Etsy soon.

Blue Roof Designs display for Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Across-ish from the desk is my stack of flat files, topped with a selection of photo albums, accordion books, and collaged cards. And behind those is the ever-watchful, inflatable Jerry French (get your own here).

Blue Roof Designs display for Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Thus ends the studio tour. I’m fairly certain that my studio is smaller than most others on the circuit.

It feels awesome to have a clean studio when folks visit. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last for long once the event is over. I’m very talented at both throwing things on and piling things on the floor. But before the mess commences, I get to break it all down.

Thanks so much to all of the wonderful folks who visited me during the weekend – it meant a lot to me to be able to talk about the book arts and share my work with you.

If you couldn’t visit me during the event, just contact me and we can set up a private tour (please, oh please, let me clean first).

The next Open Studio Weekend will be October 13 -14, 2018, so save the date!

Vermont Open Studio Weekend – Montpelier/Worcester/Berlin Artists

Vermont Open Studio Weekend logo

Spring may have come late to Vermont this year, but Spring Open Studio Weekend hasn’t – it really snuck up on me this time!

Open Studio Weekend is pretty nifty – it’s 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 spring event takes place during Memorial Day Weekend, May 26 & 27. 

The event is a part of Vermont Arts 2018, a year-long celebration highlighting the wide variety of arts events taking place throughout the state. You can join the party by following #VTarts2018 on social media (Instagram, Twitter).

Obviously, you’re planning on visiting my studio, right? Good call. 🙂

When you’re done letting me chat you up, you can visit eight other artist studios and arts-related spots in the Montpelier/Worcester/Berlin area, all within a 1/2 hour drive of my studio.

The list below includes everyone in our little cluster of arts happiness. I’ve referred to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the gold 2018 Spring Event & Resource Guide. FYI – 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 a Google map I created to help you plan your travels. All hail the Google Map!

If you plan on coming to the Montpelier area, let me know and I can recommend restaurants that are great for experiencing local deliciousness.

I hope to see you at the studio!

Crossed Structure Binding at SPA

This past weekend I taught a Crossed Structure Binding workshop at Studio Place Arts.

The Crossed Structure Binding (CSB) is intriguing in that the sewing is done directly onto back cover straps that integrate into the front cover. This non-adhesive variation on the long stitch was developed by book artist and conservator Carmencho Arregui after studying pre-16th century bindings.

There are seven variations of the Crossed Structure binding: Basic, Protective, Linked, Expander, Marcopolo, Hidden, and Solo. This workshop focused on the Basic and Linked variations.

The Basic CSB was made with a handmade paper cover.

Crossed Structure Binding in progress

This was a teaching diagram I developed on the spot to help folks know how to cut the cover straps. I think it got the message across.

Diagram for bookbinding workshop

Look at these ladies work! They were a fearless bunch.

Crossed Structure Binding workshop at Studio Place Arts

The Linked CSB was made with a leather cover. 

Crossed Structure Binding in progress

Another one of my teaching tools to aid with cutting the leather:

Diagram for bookbinding workshop

Because the straps were floppy, they needed to be held in place with a sewing frame. Inspired by the hardware store-based sewing frames (scroll down in the post to view) of Karen Hanmer, I decided to make some myself.

They definitely need to be tweaked – the clamps were too long and a bit wiggly, so I need to figure out how to make them more stable. My students made the best of it though and turned out some beautiful work.

Using a sewing frame to bind a book

I’m totally up for teaching the other variations of the Crossed Structure Binding, if y’all are interested. Let me know!

If you’d like to get updates about upcoming classes and other events, there are a few ways you can receive them:

Upcoming classes at Studio Place Arts

In the chaos that is new motherhood, I have somehow managed to schedule two bookbinding classes at Studio Place Arts in Barre, VT. Many thanks to my husband for taking on Anna while I teach.

Here’s the scoop:

The Paste Paper Photo Album

Handmade paste paper photo album by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

Dates: Saturdays, September 23 & 30, 2017
Hours: 12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

In this workshop, you will learn how to create an elegant hard-cover photo album using bookcloth and paste paper that you’ll make yourself! This is a wonderful keepsake that can hold 4″ x 6″ photos from your recent vacation or family holiday gathering.

Different methods will be demonstrated to guide you as you create your own paste papers with vibrant colors. We’ll use methyl cellulose in a paste recipe that’s easy to recreate on your own. You’ll choose one or two of the papers to create your stab-bound photo album, but don’t worry – you’ll have plenty of paste paper to take home with you!

Each participant will leave class with a completed photo album, a collection of paste papers, and a basic knowledge of bookbinding and paste paper technique. No previous experience required – this is a great class for a beginner.

  • Cost: SPA Members $55.00 / Non-Members $65.00
  • Materials fee: $15.00
  • Tools (optional): Awl, bone folder, ruler, X-Acto knife or utility knife, cutting mat, scissors, pencil, glue brush, old credit cards or gift cards that can be cut into and used as design tools, plastic utensils, wood grain or other tools to create marks.

Peek-a-Boo Journal

Handmade coptic journal by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof DesignsDate: Saturday, October 28, 2017
Hours: 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

In this workshop, participants will create a journal with a double-needle coptic binding, an intricate stitch that will be visible on the spine of the book. Not only is the coptic binding beautiful, but it also allows books to remain flat when opened. The book covers will include a cut-out window, which offers many opportunities for personalization – photos, pressed flowers, theater tickets – if it’s flat, you can use it.

Participants are encouraged to bring small photos, paper ephemera, and/or other flat items to both decorate the covers and include in the windows. Additional materials will be available for use during the workshop.

Each participant will leave class with a completed book and basic knowledge of bookbinding technique. Participants will receive a detailed handout and resource list for all materials used. Some bookbinding or sewing experience is helpful, but not required.

  • Cost: SPA Members $40.00 / Non-Members $50.00
  • Materials fee: $15.00
  • Tools (optional): Awl, bone folder, metal ruler, X-Acto knife and/or utility knife, cutting mat, scissors, pencil, glue brush

Note: Don’t feel obligated to buy any of the tools listed for either class. I’ve got enough tools to cover everyone.

For more information about either class, please feel free to contact me or Studio Place Arts.

I hope to see you in one of my classes!

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!

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!

Women’s Festival of Crafts recap

I had such a good time at this year’s Women’s Festival of Crafts. The show is now in its 27th year. It has consistently been one of the most friendly, stress-free shows that I do. The stars are really show organizers Megan Humphrey and Moe O’Hara.

Name tag from the Women's Festival of Crafts 2016

Getting into this show is tough – they don’t jury the show, but rather accept people by the postmark on their application. When they publish the application on their website, you’ve gotta get your tush to the post office that same day.

I was a day late with my application this year because it came out on the day I was flying home from my vacation to Japan. I was put on the wait list and luckily, someone gave up their spot and I was in!

This year, the show was located in a former Gap store at the Burlington Town Center Mall on Church Street. I helped the organizers with setup so I got to bring in my stuff a few days early. It doesn’t look like much in that huge space.

Load in of Blue Roof Designs booth at Women's Festival of Crafts 2016

Then the walls, shelves, and signs go up. Now I’ve got a booth floating in a room full of nothing. It looked kinda sad.

Blue Roof Designs booth in progress at Women's Festival of Crafts 2016

I felt a lot less alone once Saturday came around and the other vendors started setting up.

Blue Roof Designs booth in progress at Women's Festival of Crafts 2016

I usually struggle to get my booth fully set up on time – I always seem to have a bazillion little things to fuss over. This time I actually did it. That extra time earlier in the week made it possible.

Blue Roof Designs booth at Women's Festival of Crafts 2016

You know what’s the best part of doing a craft show in a former Gap store? You get your own dressing room for stashing your stuff.

Blue Roof Designs back stock in a former Gap dressing room

Overall, the show really looked amazing. The neutral backdrop (Gapdrop?) seemed to elevate the atmosphere.

Women's Festival of Crafts 2016

My booth neighbors were so much fun to chat with – I’m talking about you Zoë and Marie!

And then, as quickly as it begins, it ends. Time to break down and go home. You can always count on me to be one of the last people to finish.

Break down of Blue Roof Designs booth at Women's Festival of Crafts 2016

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I get into next year’s show!

The oh-so-awesome Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday 2016 logo

Oh baby, today is the sixth annual Small Business Saturday! Started in 2011 by American Express, the celebration encourages people to shop local and support their communities.

I’m going to take a moment to focus on the word small. A business doesn’t get any smaller than a one person operation – and that describes the majority of working artists.

The connection is easy enough to make – if you want to shop in a way that will have a significant impact on a small business, then buy art for the holidays. Even if you shop on Etsy, you’re still supporting a community – the creative community.

There are lots of Small Business Saturday craft shows being held around the country – visit one and not only will you find wonderful handmade gifts, but you’ll also get to make a personal connection with the artist. It’s an experience you just can’t get from a big box store.

And if you’d like to visit me at a craft show (there had to be a plug in here somewhere), it just so happens that today and tomorrow I’ll be selling my work at the super-awesome Women’s Festival of Crafts. At the show, you’ll find over 80 booths (all small businesses) filled with handmade jewelry, pottery, recycled art, greeting cards, clothing, and more. Oh yeah, and handmade books. 🙂

I’m in booth #37, located in the former Gap space (Google map).

Women's Festival of Craft 2016 poster

Can’t make it to the show? You can also buy my work on my website or on Etsy.

And if you’re interested in buying something closer to where you live, check out Etsy Local – it can help you find Etsy sellers participating in events in your neck of the woods.

Weston Craft Show recap

This year marked my 4th with the Weston Craft Show. The show is held at the super-funky Weston Playhouse.

Weston Playhouse, Weston, Vermont

All three floors of the building are used by artists to present their work – every nook and cranny is used. Most of the aforementioned crannies are bedrooms used by the playhouse’s resident actors during the summer months. 

After the last three years, it seems I have earned the title of Last One to Set Up. I always try to get there earlier in the day, but it just never seems to happen. I was happy that I had the same booth as last year – I figured that this would make set up go faster.

Mmm, no. The fact is that I’m just slow with set up when it’s late. Boo.

Welcome to Elissa’s booth set up in three pictures.

Yeah, I was up until 1:00 a.m. setting up. I was one tired monkey, but I got ‘er done.

I was so psyched to be reunited with my roomie from last year, Julia Emilo (she makes gourd ornaments). She is so.much.fun. I would like to put her in my pocket and take her to all of my shows to be my booth neighbor. It would be awesome. For me, at least.

Here I present evidence of Julia’s coolness. On the first day of the show, she offered me a silver standard poodle ornament, an homage to my sweet Wiggum.

I mentioned how cool it would be if the ornament were missing a leg (Wiggum is a tripawd). Well, Julia took the ornament home with her and the next day, gave me this:

Custom silver standard tripawd poodle gourd ornament by Julia Emilo

What?!? A silver tripawd standard poodle ornament! This woman is just beyond cool. That’s totally Wiggum in gourd form. I adore it.

I love the Weston show so much. Everyone is super-friendly – it’s like being in a hug for three days. And I know I mentioned it last year, but I have to say it again – Cookie Time. Every day at 2:00 p.m. The only thing that would make it better is if they had a nap room.

And then next thing you know, it’s all over. Sadness.

Thankfully, breaking down and packing up goes much faster than setting up.

Breaking down the Blue Roof Designs craft show booth at Weston Craft Show

In 2.5 hours, the room looks like this (Julia is long gone at this point):

Empty room at the Weston Craft Show

Thanks Weston for another great show – see you next year!

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