This time of year, I’m usually busy freaking out over Vermont’s upcoming Open Studio Weekend. Unfortunately, I am unable to participate this year due to a family commitment. I am most definitely having withdrawal symptoms and am experiencing pangs of sadness as I hear this year’s plans for the Montpelier Watershed Artists. Meh.
Kristin Crane asked me if I had any suggestions on what studios to visit during the event and I became inspired to make a list of book artist studios. Thanks Kristin!
I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the Vermont Studio Tour Guide 2009. There are several ways to get your hands on a map:
- Request a copy from the Vermont Crafts Council
- Print out a full copy
- View detailed maps by county on the Vermont Crafts Council website
If I were to start a tour of book artists in Vermont, my first stop would be #190 – Claire Van Vliet, owner of Janus Press. Taught by Hedi Kyle, Claire is well-known for her thoughtful integration of form and content in her work. Her structures are quite innovative. She is a co-author, along with Elizabeth Steiner, of the book Woven and Interlocking Book Structures. If you’d like a preview of her work, she has a number of limited edition artist books available for purchase as well from Vamp and Tramp, Booksellers.
After receiving his MFA in painting from the University of Pennsylvania, Leslie went on to show his work nationally and internationally. As he pushed the boundaries of traditional painting, he began experimenting with circular and other non-traditional shapes. Reaching far beyond the conventional painting form, he began folding the paintings to accentuate their narrative sequences which resulted in the artist’s books. Since that time, Leslie has specialized in making limited-edition and one-of-a-kind artist’s books, ranging in size from two inches to 10 feet, and including not only painting but writings on a variety of themes.
I saw one of his large pieces at the SPA Gallery and his use of the circular format is quite striking. If you can’t make it to his studio during Open Studio Weekend, you can view his work at the Bennington Museum – Top of the World, Paintings and Artist’s Books of the Arctic and Vermont is on display from now until June 14th.
#142 – Nancy Stone would be my next stop. Nancy is one of the founders of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. Besides being a serious sweetie (and my friend), she’s also quite an amazing book artist. Nancy has also taught and inspired many students in the books arts throughout Vermont. She often incorporates painting techniques in her work. If you go to her studio, ask her to show you her journal from her travels to Italy – it’s fabulous.
Lastly, I would visit #99 – Carolyn Shattuck. A longtime printmaker, Carolyn cuts up old prints and reassembles them into book forms. Many of her books include three-dimensional and pop-up elements which create intriguing environments in which she can tell her story. If you can’t make it to her studio during Open Studio Weekend, come to the June 3rd meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont where Carolyn will be the evening’s presenter: Personal Journey as Book Artist.
Unfortunately, the book arts studios aren’t very close to each other. If you do go to any of the studios, share your experiences here and I will live vicariously through you.