Category : Way Cool Stuff

John Neal Bookseller is selling Ruth Smith’s Zhen Xian Bao book!

I received John Neal Bookseller‘s newsletter today and was thrilled to see that they were selling copies of¬†Ruth Smith‘s book Zhen Xian Bao: A Little Known Chinese Folk Art. For those who aren’t in the know, that’s the Chinese Sewing Box.

Cover of Zhen Xian Bao: A Little Known Chinese Folk Art by Ruth Smith

I have wanted this book for quite a while, so I jumped on it. If you look on Amazon, you’ll see that copies of the book are selling for $500.00+, which is stupid crazy. Thankfully, JNB is selling it at a much more reasonable price.

To better understand my Chinese Sewing Box crazies, please read the blog posts I’ve written about the subject. In a nutshell, I attended a workshop with Erin Sweeney and she poisoned my mind forever. Thanks Erin. ūüėČ

Smith’s email address has been floating around for a while and rumor had it that if you contacted her, you could get her books (yes, I said books) directly from her. Did I do that? Nope. And for no good reason.

I did a little sleuthing and found this great post by¬†Lesley Watt over at Art Elements. She attended a workshop with Smith in October 2017 and shared some wonderful images of authentic pieces from Smith’s collection. Lesley also confirmed that you can order books directly from Smith by contacting her at¬†ruthsmith@btinternet.com.¬†

And about those books Рthere are four of them. The title on each book is Folded Secrets: Paper Folding Projects and they have blue covers. If you Google the title and look at the image results you can find them.

If you order any of the books and are getting itchy while you wait for them to arrive, here are some tidbits to tide you over:

Oak Knoll Books and their insane-o sale

Oak Knoll Books - October sale ad

Why do things always go on sale when I’m trying to be conservative with my spending? Damn you¬†Oak Knoll Books!

For the entire month of October, Oak Knoll is offering 20% off all books about bookbinding. As of this writing, there are 1,202 books in the sale.

Dang – how are that many books about bookbinding? I thought I already had a big library…it looks like I have some work to do!

So what do I have my eye on? It’s those dang irresistible¬†Suave Mechanicals¬†(Volume 1 & Volume 2) books edited by Julia Miller. It’s hard to find them at a discounted rate and this sale is a great excuse to splurge.

If you’re looking to expand on (or start) your collection of Keith Smith books, then this sale is for you too. All five volumes of his Non-Adhesive Binding series are on sale, in addition to most of his other books. If you’re not yet familiar with his books, then get familiar – they’re really fantastic.

And if you’re looking for something else, feel free to ask me for other recommendations. Did I mention that I’ve got an extensive (a.k.a. overflowing)¬†library?

Note: Many thanks to Oak Knoll Books for granting permission to use their image. And in case you’re wondering, I wrote this post all on my own – I have no affiliation with them either than as a happy customer.

Happy National Book Lovers Day!

Baby wearing an orange onesie and an orange hat

When I dressed Anna in this outfit today, I had no idea that it was National Book Lovers Day. What a lovely coincidence!

That outfit was the first onesie that Anna wore out of the hospital – it was much bigger on her then, as you can see in this post. I’ll be bummed when she outgrows it.

Enough ogling of the baby. Back to National Book Lovers Day.

Although the holiday’s birth date is unknown, Heavy.com¬†reports that Google searches for the phrase “National Book Lovers Day” started in 2007. And since I always trust websites that I visit for the first time, I’ll believe what they’re saying.¬†

Yay for books!

So what can you do to celebrate? Here are some ideas:

If you’re curious to see how others are celebrating. check out¬†#NationalBookLoversDay on social media (Instagram, Twitter).

Happy National Library Week!

2017 National Library Week logo

Everyone knows that libraries are awesome, so it’s no surprise that there’s a National Library Week designed to celebrate this awesomeness. This year the event takes place¬†April 9-15, 2017 and the¬†theme is Libraries Transform.

From the American Library Association‘s website:

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.

Here’s the¬†sweet gem of my community, the¬†Kellogg Hubbard Library:

Celebrations during National Library Week include:

  • Monday, April 10:¬†The State of America’s Libraries Report will be released, including the¬†Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2016.
  • Tuesday, April 11: National Library Workers Day, a day for recognizing the value of all library workers.
  • Wednesday, April 12: National Bookmobile Day, a day for¬†acknowledging¬†the work of our nation’s bookmobiles and those supporting outreach in their communities.
  • Thursday, April 13: The newly-designated Take Action for Libraries Day highlights the need for continued support¬†of¬†the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).¬†The U.S. government’s proposed budget cuts include eliminating this¬†critical source of funding¬†for libraries and museums.

Personally, I will be contacting my local officials to let them know how important libraries are to me and the communities they serve. If you’d like to do the same, you can get more information¬†here.

Looking for other ways to celebrate? Check out the suggestions on the I Love Libraries website.

You can also follow along on social media using the tags #NationalLibraryWeek and #LibrariesTransform.

International Edible Book Festival

International Edible Book Festival logo

The arrival of April Fool’s Day also means that it’s time for the International Edible Book Festival. Yes, this is a real thing. And it’s super cool.

This annual event takes place on/around April 1st and it’s celebrated worldwide. The premise is simple – create books out of edible materials (a.k.a. food) and then eat them. Pieces can be inspired by a specific story, include something punny, or simply be in the shape of a book.

Judith Hoffberg¬†and B√©atrice Coron¬†created the festival in 2000 to commemorate the birthday of French foodie Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, author of Physiologie du go√Ľt (translation: The Physiology of Taste).

Many locations are celebrating by holding contests with categories such as:

You can see awesome examples of edible books on Flickr – here are a few of my favorites:

If you participate in or visit an edible book festival, I’d love to hear about it! If you’ve pictures, even better.¬†Feel free to shoot me an email¬†and give me the scoop.

* All photos by florador used with permission via a Creative Commons license.

Gocco Manhoru

I recently¬†crossed something off my Book Arts Bucket List – I completed my first Gocco edition! We’re just going to ignore the fact that I’ve had my Gocco since 2008.

So what motivated the project? The Book Arts Guild of Vermont¬†is in the midst of hosting a¬†challenge where participants create an edition of prints, exchange them, and then create a book incorporating the full set of prints.¬†The book has to be completed by May¬†– I’m so thankful that¬†I have two months to get that done.

Since I still seem to be in my post-Japan bliss, I decided to use my trip as inspiration for my print.¬†During my trip, I discovered so many things that added to its unending charm. Among them –¬†manhole covers¬†(a.k.a. manhoru). Yes, this is totally a thing.

Each municipality in Japan has its own manhole cover design, with different colors, patterns, and themes. According to an article on deMilked, the practice started in an effort to promote the importance of funding sewage projects. Estimates have the number of different manhoru at about 6,000. According to an article on Colossal, the most popular design is trees, followed by landscapes, flowers, and birds.

I really wish I had noticed them sooner, although if I had, I probably would have spent all of my time looking at the ground instead of what was in front of me.

So, now that I’ve given you a lengthy¬†introduction, here’s the Tokyo manhole cover that inspired my edition:

Manhole cover in Tokyo, Japan

I monkeyed with the image in Photoshop until I was able to reduce it to a black and white image. It took a really.long.time. Swearing happened.

Here’s the final image:

Rendering of Japanese manhole cover

As you can see, I took some creative license and eliminated the holes and the writing on the left side. I wanted a uniform image.

Screen burning time! I printed out the image using my laser printer and burned a Gocco screen. Next, I surrounded my image with ink block to help keep the ink from spreading.

Gocco screen with ink block

Ink mixing time! I wanted a dirty bronze color, which required five different inks to achieve.

Mixing Gocco ink

Inking time! Next, I applied the ink to the burned screen…

Inked Gocco screen with ink block

…and slid the screen into my Gocco.

Gocco printing in progress

Printing time! Next thing I know, there were these:

Gocco prints on drying racks

Something weird happened during printing, which caused a very minor smudgy thing. You probably can’t even see it, but I can. Don’t ask me to tell you what I’m talking about because my lips are sealed.

I am thrilled with the results! Due to my total lack of creativity in naming, I settled on naming the edition Manhole.

Gocco print of Japanese manhole cover by Elissa Campbell

Next mission – the swapped book of prints. I’ll be writing about that project when it gets going.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about Japanese manhole covers, you’ve got a few¬†options:

  • Check out the book¬†Drainspotting by Remo Camerota
  • View the more than 1,500 photos by S. Morita, THE go-to dude for images of manhoru
  • Visit the website for the Japan Manhole Cover Society¬†(Note: The website is in Japanese and looks sketchy, but it’s totally legit. If you click on the links, you’ll be taken to images of manhole covers, along with information about their locations.)

And lastly, be sure to read book artist Louise Levergneux blog posts about her fascination with manhole covers (she calls them city shields). Her work isn’t just limited to Japan, but has a worldwide focus.

Awesome resources – IU Libraries Book Repair Manual and the Studio Protector

Elise Calvi, the Head of General Collections Conservation and Conservation Services at Indiana University Libraries recently posted on the Book Arts Listserv that their online book repair manual had been updated.

Indiana University Libraries Book Repair Manual

From their website:

This manual documents many of the treatment procedures used in the General Collections Conservation (GCC) Lab of the Indiana University Libraries, Bloomington. It is a resource for staff who are responsible for the remedial care of the Libraries’ research book collections. We share it on the Web for others who are, or wish to become, responsible for the preservation of library or personal collections.

I really appreciate it when institutions generously share their knowledge with the world Рthe information shared in this manual is amazing.

The Indiana University Libraries Book Repair Manual has several chapters:

  • Repair treatments
  • Enclosure treatments
  • Equipment/hand¬†tools and how they’re used (with images)
  • Supplies and materials and how they’re used (with images)
  • Glossary (ex. what¬†exactly is a¬†square?)

The repair and enclosure sections give you tools and materials lists for each treatment, along with step-by-step instructions with images. The directions for constructing a cloth-covered clamshell box are just fantastic. In general, I have box-making fear, but I could totally do it by using the manual. 

Studio Protector - CERF+Something else that caught my eye was the section on disaster supplies. As a former employee of CERF+, I know that most find the topic of disaster preparation and response to be both dry and stressful. The fact is that preventative measures can make a huge difference in how one can survive an unexpected event.

If you don’t know about CERF+, you really should get to know them – they’ve got an amazing collection of resources on their website, including¬†the following:

And there’s so much¬†more – you should really check it out.

One more thing – CERF+’s¬†Studio Protector is a great tool for helping you navigate disaster planning in the studio. I know this not only because I own one, but also because I worked on its development during my years at CERF+.

And for you book folks out there,¬†here’s a bit of trivia – book artist Carol Barton helped with the design.

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. ūüôā

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.

Happy American Cheese Month!

American Cheese Month logoHappy American Cheese Month!

Perhaps you’re new to my blog and aren’t aware of my oh-so-deep love for cheese. Well, I love cheese.

By the way, do not for one moment believe that this is a celebration of American cheese.

NO. This is a month-long party for cheese made in the United States.

The event, presented by the American Cheese Society (yes, that’s a thing), is in its sixth year.

So why cheese? Well, here’s the word direct from the event website:

Everyone who loves cheese! American Cheese Month is your chance to spread the word, experience great American cheeses, and help support and promote great cheese, local communities, and passionate producers.

Want to participate? Here are some ideas, besides chowing down:

  • Play the always-fun Cheese or Font.
  • Generate dummy text for your next project by using Cheese Ipsum (Mascarpone red leicester fromage…).
  • If you’re in Vermont, hit the Cheese Trail.
  • Get your state to adopt a resolution declaring October as American Cheese Month. Colorado did it.

You can also do what I did, which is join the Cheese Party. In considering the upcoming presidential election, I decided to support the cheesy candidate. Together we can build a cheddar future and make American grate again!

Cheese Party poster

Happy National Read A Book Day!

Happy National Read A Book Day!

Yep, it’s a thing.¬†Every year on September 6th, we celebrate the collection of written words on paper, fastened together on one side.

Open book in lap

If you’re looking for something to read in honor of this day,¬†why not check out your local library? In case you don’t know what that is, it’s where books live.

Or for something even more interesting, how about checking out your nearest Little Free Library? These libraries usually contain a dozen or so books, available for anyone to read.¬†Here’s¬†the¬†organization’s mission:

To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.

What’s not to love about that?

You can find your local Little Library by checking out their map – as of June 2016, there were over 40,000 registered libraries worldwide.

Go forth and read!

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