Category : Vermont

Book Arts Open Studio class at SPA

I just finished a three-session Book Arts Open Studio class at Studio Place Arts. I had six wonderful women in my class and since you can see only the tops of their heads, you know that they are working hard. And it was quiet in there too.

Students working in Book Arts Open Studio class

The class focused mostly on how to create imagery for artist books. We started the first week with paper cutting and collage.

Paper cutting

Then next week we worked on rubber stamp carving and pochoir, which translated from French means stencil.

Hand-carving rubber stamps

In the final week, we worked on image transfer and text generation. We discussed how the way you add text to a page with images can change one’s experience of a book – things as simple as typeface, color, size, and positioning can all have an effect.

Image transfer using packing tape

Stenciled letters in a book

One of the fun things about this class is that everyone creates an accordion book with pockets. When experimenting with different techniques, the students work on cards that can fit into the pockets. That way, they can refer back to the individual techniques and see how they were done.

Here are some of the books that were created in class:

Accordion book with pockets containing imagery creation cards

Accordion book with pockets containing imagery creation cards

Accordion book with pockets containing imagery creation cards

My goal is that my students will use the back of the accordion book to experiment with combining the different techniques and see how they can work together. This should lead to a greater understanding of how different creative elements can be combined in creating an artists’ book.

I hope they continue to develop the work they started!

Open Studio Weekend recap

I’ve got another Open Studio Weekend under my belt.

I had some drama on before OSW. On Thursday, I was returning from the Paper and Book Intensive in MI and I missed my connecting flight. I ended up driving home from Cleveland overnight so I could get my studio ready.

12 hours of driving. In the dark. In the rain. It so sucked.

I had hoped to have my studio ready before I left, but you know all that stuff about best laid plans. Unfortunately, the drive had to happen.

Display of handmade books at Blue Roof Designs studio

It was a rainy weekend and there was flooding throughout Vermont, so I think it kept some folks away. It didn’t stop me from having a wonderful weekend visiting with people and teaching them about bookbinding.

I so appreciate having the opportunity to share my work and my studio with people. It always amazes me how many people come each time I participate in this event.

Shelves of handmade books at Blue Roof Designs studio

And the award for best Open Studio Weekend visit goes to…Wiggum!

A friend of mine came to the studio with her daughter. She had heard about Wiggum’s injury and wanted to see him. During OSW, I keep Wiggum upstairs so that he doesn’t jump all over people, so I had to open the gate to bring him downstairs.

As soon as he got the bottom of the stairs, he started peeing on the floor. Then he walks towards my studio, peeing all the way. He enters my studio and continues peeing in there. I was horrified.

He had this look in his eyes – the one that says, “You think you’re going to leave me for 1.5 weeks in a kennel? I don’t think that’s ever going to happen again. I own you. I own this studio.” I figured it was payback for having been boarded while I was at PBI.


Vermont Open Studio Weekend sign

Elissa’s Picks for Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Vermont Open Studio Weekend logoWelcome the third in my series of blog posts about ways to do your Open Studio Weekend tour.

This one is easy – these are my friends!

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 2013. 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 #91, Stacie Mincher of Stacie Mincher Designs. I have to tell you that Stacie is the sweetest adorable person you’ll ever meet. In addition, she makes a wide range of fun things from recycled materials. She’s mostly known as the “Zipper Lady” as she make amazing things out of (surprise) zippers. I have one of her barrettes and have been eying her clocks for a while now. One day, one of them will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

#206, Denise D’Abramo of Vermont Wool would be my next stop. Denise spins and hand-dyes all of her yarn using plant dyes, non-toxic coloring processes and mordants. The plants, insects, lichens and mushrooms used as dye are depicted on the yarn’s tag with it’s interesting story. And if that’s not cool enough, she has a sheep named Moose. If you see him on your visit there, tell him I say hi.

Next I’d visit Shannon Greenleese of May Made, #25. Shannon creates jewelry inspired by nature and symbols of ancient cultures.  She can do amazing things with precious metal clay and if you don’t know what that is, visiting her studio would be a great introduction to the medium.

Lastly, I’d visit #184 Sandra Lance of Sandra Lance Pottery. Sandra is a fabulous ceramic artist and not surprisingly, another very sweet person. I’m particularly fond of her hedgehog sculpture (I used to have one as a pet). She’s done wonderful things for the Vermont Crafts Council has acted as one of the tour guide masters. You gotta admire that.

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!

Book Arts Guide to Vermont Open Studio Weekend

Handmade Journal - Wild Cherry MonoJournalWelcome to the 2013 Book Arts Guide to Vermont Open Studio Weekend

It’s time for my annual nod to the many book artists participating in Open Studio Weekend. All of these talented folks are also members of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont, an organization I hold near and dear to my heart.

I created the Google map below, which includes all of the studios to help you plan your travels. Unfortunately, the book arts studios aren’t very close to each other. By the way, I’m studio #199.

I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the Vermont Studio Tour Guide. 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 on the book arts tour is #17 Meta Strick. Meta really is a Jackie of all trades. She does wonderful mixed media work, including dolls that have a book component. It’s quite wonderful to read the “history” of each doll. She has a great philosophy that you can make anything into a book. Meta has lots of fans, so don’t be surprised if you get to her studio and it’s mobbed. Perhaps pick up some coffee and a snack before you head on over?

Next stop is #138, Nancy Stone. Nancy is one of the founders of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont [insert Elissa’s sweet gaze of admiration here]. Not only is Nancy an amazing book artist, she is also a well-known teacher in the books arts throughout Vermont and has inspired many students. If you can’t make it to her studio during Open Studio Weekend, you can see some of her artists’ books at the upcoming exhibit Drawn to Music, which runs from 6/4/13 – 8/29/13 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington, VT.

When you visit Shelburne Pond Studios, you’ll be able to see two artists. At studio #132, Jill Abilock of Six Loons Studio 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. One of her pieces was featured in an exhibit review in Vermont newspaper Seven Days. And the woman is a fantastic folder.

#132, Lyna Lou Nordstrom, is the other artist with a studio at Shelburne Pond Studios. She is a wonderful printmaker, focusing her work on the painterly aspects of monoprinting. She recently taught a monoprint workshop for the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. I had so much fun playing with gelatin prints for the first time!

The fifth stop is #42, Marianna Holzer. In the Holzer family, binding and preserving books is a family tradition. Marianna is a third generation bookbinder following in her father and grandfather’s footsteps. Before founding a bindery of her own in 2008, Marianna helped to preserve and restore the permanent records of hundreds of municipalities across the United States for thirty years. The history behind her work is reason alone to go see her studio.

#93 Carolyn Shattuck. A seasoned printmaker, Carolyn 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.

The last stop is #218 Ken Leslie. Ken primarily creates books in a circular format – a practice that developed out of his dissatisfaction with rectangular painting shapes. His themes often focus on natural cycles, such as day and night. The size of his work ranges from miniature to really ginormous – you can walk through some of his books when they’re open. Ken shared his work at a Guild meeting and it was wonderful!

If you do go to any of the studios, share your experiences here and I will live vicariously through you. If you have any pictures, I’d love to see them…you can even do a guest post on my blog!

Make that Book Arts Tour map bigger!

Vermont Open Studio Weekend – Montpelier/Calais Artists

21st Vermont Open Studio Weekend logo

Vermont’s 21st Open Studio Weekend is just around the corner (May 25 & 26)! If you’re planning on visiting my studio (you know you are…), you can visit other great artists within a 20-ish minute drive of here.

There are 10 studios participating in the Montpelier/Calais area. Artists are offering exhibits and demonstrations of pottery, sculpture, photography, mixed media, painting, and more.

I’ll be referring to studios by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the green 2013 Vermont Studio Tour 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):

I created the map below to help you plan your travels. Because the studios are so close to each other, you can visit quite a few of them within a short period of time.

Have fun!

Make that map bigger!

Leather Journals class at SPA

Handmade leather journalsI just finished a two-session leather journals class at Studio Place Arts. This was a new class for me and the first time I taught it to actual live human peoples.

It seemed to go well, although we ran out of time for the last binding. Argh. I have promised my students that they can contact me if they’d like to learn the last binding and I’ll make time for them to come by the studio.

I feel so guilty!

I’ve been really lucky – I get the sweetest people in my classes. And they like to work hard. Although you can’t tell that from the picture below. I think I was blabbering about my handouts at this point in the class.

Leather journals class students

Leather journals class students

I came up with a new idea for teaching the bindings.

It’s too hard for people to see what you’re doing when the books are small. I created stitching guides on card stock – they included all of the signatures and sewing stations. I would sew the binding using this larger scale and someone told me that it was the best way to teach this type of class. That made me happy.

Bookbinding stitching sample cards

Unfortunately, the posters wouldn’t stay put on the easel, so I ended up clipping them to my overalls and I did the stitching on myself. I look kinda silly, eh?

Elissa Campbell wearing bookbinding stitching sample cards

In the future, I’ll be recreating these large stitching guides using peg board so they’re sturdier and easier to use.

Worktable Wednesday

I’m teaching a leather journal workshop in February and have almost completed my sample books. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to make up my mind about what types of closures to use.

I spent time today doing research on closure options and created a Pinterest board (Bookbinding Closures) of what I found.

You can get a look at what I found below (click on a thumbnail to view a larger image).

Any preferences?


[prw username=”blueroofdesigns” boardname=”bookbinding-closures” maxfeeds=”16″ divname=”myList” printtext=”0″ target=”newwindow” useenclosures=”no” thumbwidth=”130″ thumbheight=”130″ showfollow=”large”]


Touch of Vermont Holiday Gift Market

This past weekend was my last craft show of the season – the Touch of Vermont Holiday Gift Market.

Touch of Vermont Holiday Gift Market

It was a sweet little show and thankfully, in my hometown – just a 5 minute drive! It had been a while since I had done a show in Montpelier. I got to see lots of local friendly faces – and a dog too (Wiggum’s pal, Blue).

My booth was nestled in one of the front corners of City Hall. It was a great location for people-watching.

I’m so glad that I’m done with shows for this year. Repeated packing and unpacking is exhausting!

Blue Roof Designs craft show booth

Now I can go back to my normal routine of being a slave to my dog.

Waterbury Artisan Holiday Boutique

This past weekend I sold my work at the Waterbury Holiday Artisan Boutique. I had less space than I usually do, so there was some booth hacking going on.

Blue Roof Designs craft show booth

It was a little squished in there.

Luckily, I had an additional spot directly across the aisle from my booth – it gave me extra display space.

Handmade books by Blue Roof Designs on shelves

I love Waterbury – it has the most wonderful sense of community. The folks who came to shop at the show didn’t just know the artists, they were their neighbors. Being at that show is like selling your work in a hug.

Paper scrap bags by Blue Roof Designs

Handmade books by Blue Roof Designs on shelves

And if that wasn’t awesome enough, where else can you buy fine craft and hang out with marathon Santas?


Women’s Festival of Crafts

Blue Roof Designs craft show boothThis past weekend was my first time exhibiting at the super-awesome Women’s Festival of Crafts. I’m sure you’ve guessed that I enjoyed my time there. 🙂

My booth was on the third floor of Burlington City Hall, all the way down at the end of the hall (about as far as you could get from the entry to the building). I was worried that no one would find me up there, but luckily I was wrong.

I loved the black and white checkered floor, so I didn’t bother rolling out my carpet. It just makes me think of a cool retro bathroom floor (that’s a good thing).

I was repeatedly told that I had the best lit booth at the show – that my booth was like a beacon at the end of the hallway (or a light bulb to a moth?).

Handmade books by Blue Roof Designs

Handmade accordion books by Blue Roof Designs

I debuted my new line of photo albums at this show – Off Leash. I never would have come up with the idea had I not gotten a dog.

Now Wiggum rules my world, which includes the studio.

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