Category : Way Cool Stuff

Montpelier Art Walk

Montpelier Art Walk logoIf you’re looking for something to do today in the central Vermont area, you can do no better than the Montpelier Art Walk, a wonderful event coordinated by Montpelier Alive. There are 25 venues participating in the Art Walk and you can download a guide to help get you started on your tour.

The Art Walk runs from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Handmade Book by Elissa Campbell - Local Color To make the Art Walk even more super awesome, I’ll be the featured artist at Vermont State Craft Center Artisans Hand Craft Gallery from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

I’ll be showing some of my one-of-a-kind work and will also be demonstrating.

But wait, there’s more!

I’ll also have a 2-minute, 1-sheet book project that you can take home with you! The idea behind the make-and-take is that it will tie into the POETRY Alive!, a joint project between Montpelier Alive and Kellogg-Hubbard Library. After attending the local poetry events, you will feel so inspired that you’ll go home and write poetry in your new book. 🙂

You can download a guide for your own self-guided tour.

The exhibit includes student and professional Vermont poetry, as well as those no longer writing among us, such as Robert Frost and Grace Paley. It features 80+ poets in 30+ venues, representing more than 20 Vermont cities and towns.

Here’s the schedule for today:

4:30 p.m. Group Poetry Reading at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Reception and book signing, featuring Jody Gladding , Wyn Cooper, Kerrin McCadden, Izabel Nielsen, Sophia Manley, and Paige Ackerson-Keily.

7:00 p.m. Randolph poet Linda Corelia will be reading from her poetry at The Shoe Horn (Art Walk venue#24). Her poem “Touchstone” is on display in their window as part of POETRY Alive!

I look forward to seeing you at Artisans Hand!

And the winner is…

Random …Lucinda!

Congratulations – you are the lucky winner of the super-awesome Hedi Kyle Festschrift! I’ll send you an Email so we can work out the delivery arrangements.

Thanks to everyone who entered – your sentence completions seem like they came from my own brain. 🙂

I have some more giveaways planned for the future, so stay tuned!

Vermont Crafts Council Spring Marketing Conference 2010

Yesterday, for the third year in a row, I presented at the Vermont Crafts Council’s Spring Marketing Conference. This year I presented on two different topics –Social Media for Artists and Etsy for Beginners.

I think actually out-talked my mouth. I didn’t know that was possible. Seriously though, I had such an awesome time.

It seemed like there was a lot of fun in the room this time. I managed to stumble onto a doozy of a blooper. While talking about Etsy, I meant to say “You can keep your favorites private.” It came out as “You can keep your favorite privates.” As soon as I heard myself say it, I just put my head down on the table because I knew I was in for it. And let me say this – if someone else had done the same, I would have laughed just as hard. But you know what, it was so worth it.

I get really anxious before doing presentations and a good laugh can help break the tension for me. Now I’m thinking about how I can better structure a technology workshop like a comedy sketch.

So here’s a big howdy to any of those folks who came to my blog after attending either of my workshops. If you ever have any more questions, feel free to contact me. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I like to talk.

Today is your last chance to enter my Hedi Kyle Festschrift giveaway – you have until midnight EST tonight. If you’re on the fence about entering the giveaway, then maybe this will change your mind – the book is a lovely shade of orange and you know you don’t have enough orange books. This will fill the void in your library. Enter now.

Good luck!

Welcome to Crazy Town

Handmade books order from Vermont Butcher Block & BoardI’m thrilled with all of the submissions for my Hedi Kyle Festschrift giveaway! I am feeling in sync with many of your responses to “You know you’re a bookbinder when…”

I have been busy! I just finished packing up a wholesale order for a new client, Vermont Butcher Block & Board. Their new store in Burlington, Vermont will be opening in the next few months. They sell a line of wood-turned pens and wanted to have handmade journals as companions.

Yes, pens get lonely.

After dropping off the order later today, I’ll be attending the monthly meeting of the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. Today’s theme is Edible Books, which was inspired by the International Edible Book Festival. I have a concept in mind, but have yet to execute it. I really hope I can get it done in between the appointments I have today. If I do get it done, I’ll be sure to take pictures.

Lastly, I managed to volunteer myself for two presentations at tomorrow’s Spring Arts Marketing Conference, hosted by the Vermont Crafts Council. Hello, my name is Elissa and I don’t know how to say no. The workshops are Social Media for Artists and Etsy for Beginners. I am so worried about doing a good job that I’ve been working on these presentations for over a week. And I’m not done yet. It’s gonna be a late night.

If you haven’t entered the Hedi Kyle Festschrift giveaway yet, you still have time. I’m accepting entries until midnight E.S.T. on April 9th (that’s this Friday).

Good luck!

It’s my 2-year blogiversary!

Hedi Kyle Festschrift 2009 book cover I can’t believe it – today is my 2-year blogiversary and I almost missed it! I’ve entered the terrible twos – yeehaw!

In honor of this milestone, I’ve decided to have a giveaway. The prize – a copy of the Hedi Kyle Festschrift 2009.

If you’ve never heard of Hedi Kyle before, well, she’s pretty much a book arts super genius. She’s created numerous bindings, including the Flag Book and the Blizzard Book. In addition to being a generous teacher, she co-founded the Paper and Book Intensive. I could go on and on about how great Hedi is, but I don’t have to because the Festschrift pretty much does it for me.

If you’ve never heard the word festschrift before, it’s a book written to honor an academic who rocks. Because Hedi is a super genius, she gets a super genius book written about her.

And let me tell you, the Festschrift is a pretty damn fabulous book. The book contains articles, photographs, tutorials, and drawings of Hedi’s work and work that she inspired. Contributors include Carol Barton, Julie Chen, Keith Smith, Gary Frost, Claire Van Vliet, among others. If there were a Dancing with the Book Arts Stars, the people who contributed to this book would be on the contestant roster.

So enough with the blabbering. Let’s get to business. To enter the contest, just reply to this post. For an extra entry, complete the following sentence: You know you’re a bookbinder when… If you’re not a bookbinder, then you can answer the following sentence instead: You know you’re not a bookbinder when…

The winner will be chosen at random, so don’t feel too much pressure to perform. I would, however, appreciate a good laugh. 🙂 Entries will be accepted until midnight on April 9th and the winner will be selected on April 10th.

Good luck!

Vermont Arts Advocacy Day 2010

Vermont Arts Council advocacy logo On Wednesday I attended Vermont’s Arts Advocacy Day. While I am a passionate advocate for the arts, with a fondness for craft, the fact is that I’m not very political. This really surprises me because of the following:

  • I am very opinionated.
  • I have a big mouth.

For years I’ve felt that I needed to get over my fear of being vocal about political issues. I think that advocating for the arts is where I need to start.

Attending Arts Advocacy Day was a real eye-opener. I found out a lot of really interesting information about Vermont’s role in supporting the arts.

Here are some of the tidbits that stood out most for me:

  • The state of Vermont allocates only .042% of its budget to the arts.
  • Paving one mile of road costs 2x the amount that Vermont invests in the arts.
  • The $500,000 awarded to Vermont will generate more than $2,000,000 in spending in Vermont communities.
  • Vermont has more than 2,150 arts-related businesses, employing at least 6,780 people – this is about 6% of the state’s workforce.

So here I sit, newly-motivated. As a first step, I’d like to share a tool with you – Americans for the Arts’ E-Advocacy Center. From their website, you can select issues that are important to you and after entering your zip code, you will be brought to a form where you can craft a letter and/or Email to send to elected officials in your area. They even provide bullet points to help you with content. It’s a pretty great tool.

I hope you’ll join me and inform your elected officials about the value of the arts and arts education.

My mouth may be big, but it’s not big enough. 🙂

Americans for the Arts logo

Bookbinding merit badges

PodPost Merit Badge Set - BookbindingI love love love these bookbinding merit badges I bought from Pod Post last year.

UPDATE 5/1/12: It looks like Pod Post no longer has an active website. 🙁

I almost didn’t want to open the package, they looked so cool in there. I finally decided that they needed to breathe.

After asking for advice on Twitter, I settled on adding the badges to my studio apron. I’m not sure how I’d ever get anything done if I didn’t have Twitter people telling me what to do.

By the way, what should I wear tomorrow? #lazy

I forced my husband to sit through a session of – “Should I put them here? How about here? Ooohh, how about this?” Poor guy.

One throbbing finger later (read below), here are the results:

Pod Post bookbinding merit badges

Dang that blue one is all crooked-y. I am not quitting my day job.

I’m now considering some more badges to add to the mix:

Bookbinding Boy Scouts merit badgeA bookbinding merit badge from the Boy Scouts of America. This badge was in use from 1927 – 1987, after which it was merged with the Graphic Arts badge. I wonder what kind of ruckus would ensue if the BSA knew that a woman had one of these in her possession… A number of these badges are currently for sale by Ebay seller TSPA, an outlet for Scouting collectibles.



Finger carving merit badgeThe Boy Scout Store‘s Finger Carving Merit Badge. Is there anyone out there who does not have at least one battle scar from their bookbinding exploits? Mine is about 3/8″ long on my left index finger. In fact, I’m thinking that there should also be a finger stabbing badge – my thumb is all swollen from having stabbed it with the needle while sewing on my bookbinding badges.



Tantrum merit badgeThe Tantrum Merit Badge by Mama Merit Badges. Yeah, if I can’t get something to work while in the studio (especially if I’m under deadline), things are gonna get thrown. That’s how my favorite bone folder died. I miss him. After said throwing of things, then will come denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Then maybe some swearing, but after that, I’m done.


A Valentine for Montpelier

I love living in Montpelier, VT for so many reasons. One of them is Valentine’s Day. Every year, someone (or many someones) plasters red paper hearts all over downtown Montpelier – the Valentine Phantom. The Phantom has become so popular, that he and/or she and/or they have been featured in Yankee Magazine. Some consider it trash (those folks are idiots), but I think it’s beautiful.

What follows are some photos that my hubby and I took earlier today of love-smothered Montpelier.

Montpelier, VT - Valentine's Day 2010

Montpelier, VT - Valentine's Day 2010 - Valentine Phantom

Montpelier, VT - Valentine's Day 2010 - Valentine Phantom

Montpelier, VT - Valentine's Day 2010 - Valentine Phantom

Montpelier, VT - Valentine's Day 2010 - Valentine Phantom

Montpelier, VT - Valentine's Day 2010 - Valentine Phantom

Montpelier, VT - Valentine's Day 2010 - Valentine Phantom

Montpelier, VT - Valentine's Day 2010 - Valentine Phantom

Montpelier, VT - Valentine's Day 2010 - Valentine Phantom

Montpelier, VT - Valentine's Day 2010 - Valentine Phantom

Montpelier, VT - Valentine's Day 2010 - Valentine Phantom

Artisans Hand annual winter sale

Artisans Hand logoYep, it’s that time again!

Starting on Friday, January 22nd and lasting through January 31st is Artisans Hand Craft Gallery‘s annual winter sale. The gallery exclusively features work created by Vermont artisans. The sale offers items from 10% – 20% off, with each artist setting their own discount.

All of my work in the gallery will be offered at 20% off during the sale.

In addition, artists have brought in their seconds, experiments, and discontinued pieces and are offering them at discount prices during the sale. When you look at the seconds, you really can’t even see any defects (they’re more like birthmarks). This is your chance to get fabulous work at even more fabulous prices.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any of my seconds in the show because I’m saving them up for Vermont’s Open Studio Weekend. Sorry. 🙁

This is a great time to start shopping for Valentine’s Day…imagine a bouquet of flowers in a handmade vase…drooolllll…

Artisans Hand Craft Gallery
89 Main Street, City Center
Montpelier, VT 05602
(802) 229-9492

Help me get to the gallery


My sneaky husband managed to pull off a surprise birthday party for me this weekend. I seriously had no idea and trust me, it is not easy to hide something from me.

Among the super presents I received was something I’ve never heard off, let alone seen – chicken foot leather.

Yes, you read that right. Leather. From the foot of a chicken.

Chicken foot leather

The whole skin is about 6.24″ long and 4.25″ wide, toe to toe. Each toe is about 7/8″ wide. The surface is scaly – when you bend it, the scales lift up a bit. I imagine that for bookbinding, you’d have to use it so that the edges of the scales run parallel to grain – the leather is most flexible in this direction.

According to one of the gift-givers, Richard Langdell, this stuff is quite the rage right now. I had a hard time finding anything online about this stuff. I did discover Leather Plaza, which provided minimal information. I was, however, happy to learn that chicken does in fact, taste like chicken.

So now all I have to do is figure out what to make with it. The leather is pretty narrow, so size is limited. Any ideas?

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