2019 Focus on Book Arts catalog available

The 2019 Focus on Book Arts conference catalog was just published – woot! They won’t be mailing them this year, but you can download a copy at your leisure.

2019 Focus on Book Arts conference catalog cover

Seeing my workshop in print makes my teaching there all the more real.

Page in 2019 FOBA catalog

This is so happening!

I love this conference so much. The first time I attended was in 2007, which was P.B. (pre-blog). Here’s a refresher about FOBA – they put on a 5-day book arts conference every other year in Forest Grove, OR. In addition to workshops, they have evening activities, a trade show, an on-site store (Colophon Book Arts), a themed book arts challenge, and a faculty/staff exhibit. It’s a book arts bonanza.

Check out some of the other instructors – Karen Hanmer (yay!), Pietro AccardiSam EllenportBonnie Stahlecker, and Steph Rue, just to name a few. These are some heavy hitters!

Hey, you should take my workshop! Here’s a closer look at what we’ll be making – two full-size journals that will be excellent references for your future work:

Handmade leather journals with multiple closures - closed Handmade leather journals with multiple closures - open

Handmade leather long stitch journals - spine view

In 2017, I was all set to take three days of workshops and then my workshop filled up – a second session was added and I ended up taking only a one-day workshop. I’m not sure what I want to happen this time around. I love teaching, so I’d welcome teaching twice but I still want to learn from others. I guess I shouldn’t complain, considering that I like both outcomes!

Conference registration opens on Monday, March 4th, 8:00 a.m. PST and workshops fill up quickly so don’t dawdle! Until then, you can drool over the offerings online.

Visit to Claire Maziarczyk’s Studio

This past Sunday, I had the good fortune of making a return trip to paste paper artisan Claire Maziarczyk‘s studio. My last visit was nearly ten years ago! Claire posted on the Book Arts Listserv that she was downsizing and was looking to sell not only her fabulous paste papers, but also supplies and equipment.

I made the journey with a few of my Book Arts Guild of Vermont cohorts so the trip didn’t seem as long as the 3.5+ hours it took for us to get there. Claire fed us lunch, which was awesome and extremely generous. By the end of our meal, I was itching to get downstairs to her studio to start the paper shopping.

To select which of her papers you like best must be like choosing your favorite child. I wanted all the things. It seemed wrong to leave any design behind, but I had a budget. Poop.

Here’s the pile of papers that made the final cut (it was a paper cut, so painful):

Pile of Japanese and paste papers

Let’s visit with them, shall we? Here are my paste paper purchases:

Claire once worked as a representative for the Japanese Paper Place and carried an inventory of their papers. After they both parted ways, the inventory remained. Lucky me! Here are my paper purchases from that gold mine:

Japanese papers

There was a sign by the paper on the left that labeled it as Kirogami, a hand-printed paper with a small design.

The paper on the right was double couched (two layers) – first a watermarked red sheet is made, then that sheet is couched on top of a white sheet. I have no idea what the text says. One day I’ll go over the whole sheet with Google Translate to satisfy my curiosity. It’s probably a grocery list.

The paper in the middle was also double couched and has a wonderful reflective quality (it’s stunning in person). Here’s a close up shot:

Japanese paper

I’m fairly certain that this paper is from Echizen, Japan, a papermaking village I visited 2.5 years ago. The technique used is known as hikkake, which means “to catch” or “to snag”. A metal screen is used to capture fibers that eventually create the pattern in the finished product. You can see an example of the screen on the Echizen Washi website.

My last purchase was serendipitous – I wasn’t looking for small sheets, but this pad of paper somehow caught my eye. The back of the pad was marked as Chigiri-e paper. I opened it up and encountered a gorgeous batch of 25 papers.

Pad of Chigiri-e paper

Oh, the Shiboris!

Japanese Shibori paper

Japanese Shibori paper

Japanese Shibori paper

These appear to be a variation of Unryu I’ve never seen before:

Japanese paper

So back to the Chigiri-e. I had no idea what it was, so I looked it up. This collage-based art form originated during the Heian period, the last division of classical Japanese history, taking place from 794 to 1185 (thanks Wikipedia). Handmade paper was the primary material used for these collages and pieces often incorporated calligraphy.

I now understand why this pad has 25 different kinds of paper in it – it’s kinda like a box of crayons, but with paper.

Claire showed us how to use her wood graining tool and then let us play with it. I probably could have left more open space between those knot holes. This is why it’s best to leave this work to the professionals.

Colored paste combed with a wood graining tool

After emptying our wallets, it was time to return home. We made it most of the way without incident until the weather. Oh geez, it was bad. The roads were icy and we were slipping around, which freaked me out. We decided to leave the interstate and take local roads in hopes of avoiding speed demons.

Unfortunately, this didn’t help us avoid other problems. We ended up getting stuck behind a car that couldn’t make it up a hill either because they didn’t have enough momentum and/or didn’t have the right tires on their car. Oh, and I really had to pee.

Long story short (and it’s a long story), it took 2.5+ hours for us to get moving again. Let’s hear it for Vermont’s emergency crews! Seriously though, the whole thing was terrifying. I’m so thankful for my companions, Judy and Becky, who kept me focused and calm. As much as I can ever be calm.

Claire told me that I should come back again with more people. If I do go back, it sure as hell won’t be during the winter!

Touch of Vermont recap

This past weekend I showed my work at the annual Touch of Vermont Holiday Gift Market, which I super love. It’s located just five minutes from my house and I enjoy being able to see folks I know in my community. I always get lots of hugs. 

The show was mobbed. All day long. This was one of the quieter moments when I could actually see outside my booth:

Touch of Vermont Holiday Gift Market

I was lucky to score child care so I could start setting up my booth the day before the show. You can see how things progressed for me from load in until I had to leave at 6:00 p.m.

Here’s how my completed booth looked the next day:

Blue Roof Designs craft show booth

You’d be surprised just how long it takes to put out all of those books!

New this year were single book ornaments that could be opened and used. Many thanks to Sue at Studio Place Arts for pushing me to make them – I’m really happy with how they turned out.

Leather book ornaments

I’m very thankful that I had a good (and fun) show. For the second year in a row, I was lucky enough to trade with Nutty Steph’s (hellllooo chocolate…).

Not surprisingly, I tend to get punchy as the day goes on. Here’s what happens when the person in the booth across from you says, “Would you like me to take a picture of you in your booth?”

Elissa Campbell in her booth

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again – I am the slowest person in the world when it comes to break down of my booth. And I think I’ve gotten slower with age. At this show I’m always the last one to leave.

The show ends at 4:00 p.m. and I almost had my van completely loaded by 6:00 p.m…and then the door to the building locked. Apparently it’s on an automatic timer. Not only was I stuck outside, but the show organizer was as well. We did eventually get back in, but seriously – not a fun 15 minutes.

Thanks to all who came to the show to chat! Your support means so much to me. 🙂

I’m teaching at the Morgan next year!

Morgan Conservatory logoI am so, so very thrilled to announce that I will be teaching a summer workshop at the Morgan Conservatory in Cleveland next year! I am seriously beside myself with happiness!

The dates for my workshop have not yet been chosen, so stay tuned to the Events page of my website for the most up-to-date information.

I’ll be teaching my Three is a Magic Number workshop, the same one I taught twice at the 2017 Focus on Book Arts conference. If you were interested in my workshop then but couldn’t travel to the West Coast, Ohio might be perfect for you.

Here are the details:

Three is a Magic Number

Have you always wanted to give Keith Smith‘s bindings a try, but the diagrams make your head spin? Then this workshop’s for you! In this two-day workshop, you’re going to work through nine three-section bindings, based on the work of Keith Smith, using only leather, paper, and thread – no glue needed!

Each binding involves sewing pages directly through a leather cover and each creates a different decorative pattern on the spine. These bindings are very flexible and allow the books to open completely flat. You’ll ease into each binding by practicing on a paper template first, then you’ll use what you’ve learned to sew the book. In addition to learning various stitches, you’ll also try out different closure methods for each book.

While all of the bindings include three sections, the last book will include nine – you’ll learn how to adapt a 3-section binding to create a larger book by repeating the pattern. You’ll be binding all of your sewing templates into your final book, and this will be a great reference for future work.

You’ll leave this workshop with a basic knowledge of bookbinding technique and nine completed books. You will receive a detailed handout and resource list for all materials used.

Here are pictures of the finished books (colors will vary in the workshop kits):

9 handmade leather journals

Handmade leather journal - spine view

Handmade leather journal - open pages view

I’m not sure when registration for Morgan’s summer workshops will open, so keep an eye on their Workshops page for more information.

I hope to see you there!

A Bookbinder’s Black Friday

A Bookbinders Black Friday - logo

Welcome to my 8th annual roundup of bookbinding-related Black Friday deals! It’s that wonderful time of year when I think to myself Why don’t I have a massive bag of cash so I can buy all the things?

In all likelihood, I will not be leaving my house because I’ve got a craft show tomorrow and I’m engaged in my annual Holy crap, I don’t have enough inventory freak out. I see both caffeine abuse and lack of sleep in my future.

There are quite a few bookbinding-related online sales going on today (and some beyond that). Check ’em out:

The Getty Store is offering 25% off sitewide now through 11/28. I’m mentioning this sale because they’re the publishers behind Artists and Their Books: Books and Their Artists by Marcia Reed and Glenn Phillips – a gorgeous book. Use code 25HOL to get the discount.

Now through 12/21, Arnold Grummer is holding their Annual Press Sale. Discount varies depending on the press you choose. Please visit their website for more information.

On 11/23 only, Hiromi Paper is offering free domestic shipping on any order over $100.00 (after discounts). Use the promo code kinyoubi2018 at checkout to get the discount.

John Neal Bookseller has two offers:

  • Get free standard domestic shipping on orders of $100.00 or more. Use code BF18FS at checkout for the discount from now through 11:59 p.m. on 11/25.
  • Get 10% to 50% off Black Friday Sale items from now through 6:00 p.m. on 11/30 (a full week!) – save on some of their most popular books and supplies.

As part of their holiday sale, Oak Knoll Books is offering 20% off select used/antiquarian titles and 50% off select publishing titles. This sale is going on now through November 27th and no special code is needed – the discount will automatically be applied to the cost of these books.

From now through 11/30, The Paper Mill Store is offering 10% off orders of $250.00 or more with code 250SALE and 15% off orders of $500.00 or more with code 500SALE. They also offer free shipping on all orders $149.00 and over.

Paper Source has a number of awesome deals going on, all valid now through 11/27:

  • Get free shipping on all orders over $50.00 (no code needed).
  • Buy fine paper online and get 25% off (no code needed).
  • Make an in-store purchase of fine paper, get a buy one, get one 50% off discount.
  • Get 50% off all purchases from the Paper Bar – they’ve got text and cover weight paper in lots of colors and sizes (no code needed).
  • Spend $50.00 in-store and get $10.00 or spend $100.00 and get $25.00 (I’m unclear on whether they mean gift cards or actual cash).

Now through 11/27, Paper-Papers is offering 50% off the already discounted price of products in their Clearance department. Use coupon code bigdeal at checkout to get the discount.

Pergamena, producer of stunning fine leathers and parchment, is offering free UPS Ground shipping on all orders over $100.00 Use coupon code FR33SHIPPING at checkout to get the discount.

From now through 11/25 at 11:30 p.m. GMT, Vintage Paper Co. is offering 20% off all purchases over £10 (approximately $13.00 USD). To get the discount, visit their website and click on the image of the papermaking man. The discount will automatically be applied, no code needed.

If you’ve got a bookbinding book on your wish list, you’re in luck! Amazon (yep, that Amazon) is offering $5.00 off print book purchases of $20.00 or more. From now until 11/25 at 11:59 p.m. PT, use code NOVBOOK18 at checkout to get the discount. Note: Offer only applies to products sold and shipped by

By the way, don’t forget Giving Tuesday! There are tons of worthy organizations out there that would love your support. Here are some of my favorites:

Happy shopping and/or donating!

I’m teaching at FOBA next year!

I am thrilled to announce that I will be teaching a class at the 2019 Focus on Book Arts conference! Now that they’ve posted sneak peeks on their website and I see myself there (!!!), I finally feel comfortable giving the scoop.

Here’s the announcement (I just had to take a screenshot):

Focus on Book Arts conference workshop sneak peek

This will be my second time teaching at FOBA. The idea for this workshop actually came out of a discussion that happened in my 2017 workshop.

Here are the details:

Find Closure

Need that finishing touch for your journal? I’ve got you covered!


Consider this workshop the equivalent of a Closure Dressy Bessy. First you’ll complete a set of two soft cover, leather books each with a different variation of the long stitch binding. Then comes the fun part – you’ll experiment with a variety of ways to secure those books. You’ll explore ways to use buttons, leather straps, sticks, and metal hardware to create up to 5 closures per book (as time allows).


Bring your own embellishments (buttons, ribbons, etc.) that you’d like to use for closures – there will be time for discussion and problem-solving as a group.


You’ll leave this workshop with two books measuring 9.5″ x 6.5″, along with a detailed handout and resource list for all materials used.

Here are pictures of the finished books (colors will vary in the workshop kits):

Handmade leather journals with multiple closures - closed

Handmade leather long stitch journals - spine viewHandmade leather journals with multiple closures - open

Registration for the conference will open in March 2019. Keep your eyes glued on the FOBA website for more details as they become available.

I hope to see you there!

Vermont Open Studio Weekend – Montpelier Artists

Vermont Open Studio Weekend logo

Vermont’s Fall Open Studio Weekend is coming up this weekend, October 13 & 14! If I weren’t participating in the event, I would totally be making my own studio visits.

Most Vermont craftspeople work in studios located in or close to their residences. These are places of production and inspiration located in downtowns as well as at the ends of dirt roads. They are exciting places to visit because they reflect the dynamic yet organized process that is used to produce the finished work of art.

The studio itself is enormously informative because you can see at a glance how the artist works. Buying or ordering work during an Open Studio sale is a unique experience because you have the opportunity to speak to the artist directly.

An extra bit of coolness – the Vermont Crafts Council is coordinating this event with American Craft Week (October 5 – 14), a national celebration of the wonders of American craft. Craft makes our communities vibrant – it encompasses our traditions, history and our way of life.

Since I’ve already mentioned that I’m participating, you know that my studio is a must-see. 🙂 What you might not know is that there are six other locations within a 15 minute drive of here. Montpelier has a sweet little cluster of artists for your studio hopping pleasure. 

I’ve listed these local studios below, where I’m referring to them by both name and number – the number refers to a listing in the orange 2018 Fall 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 #1: You can’t see studio #99 on the map below because it’s at the same address as #100 – Google is overlapping the two studios. Bad Google!

Note #2: Studios #99 and #100 aren’t in the Fall Event & Resource Guide because they joined the event after the guide went to print. You find directions to those studios here.

Note #3 (just one more): 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 do plan on coming to the Montpelier area, let me know and I’d be happy to recommend some local restaurants for your munching pleasure.

I hope to see you at the studio!

Open Studio Weekend is part of Vermont Arts 2018, a year-long celebration highlighting the wide variety of arts events taking place throughout the state. Thanks to the Vermont Arts Council for creating this project! You can join the party by following #VTarts2018 on social media (Instagram, Twitter).

Vermont Arts 2018 logo

The Art of the Fold: Instagram Post Round-up

I hope you’ve enjoyed my journey through The Art of the Fold: How to Make Innovative Books and Paper Structures. It is a fantastic resource and compendium of Hedi Kyle‘s life’s work. The book is a must-have for anyone who loves paper and the magic you can do with it.

Below you’ll find a round up of all of my Instagram posts detailing my work on each structure in the book.

Folded paper accordion booksThe Accordion

1. Folding an Accordion 2-4-8
2. Folding an Accordion 3-6-12
3. Folding an Accordion with Extensions
4. Simple Accordion
5. Pocket Accordion with Separate Cover
6. Pocket Accordion Variation – Full Sheet
7. Pocket Accordion with Integrated Cover
8. Pop-Up Accordion
9. Flag Book
10. Two-Sided Flag Book
11. Interlocking Loops

Folded paper books and boxesBlizzards

12. Blizzard Book
13. Wheel of Fortune
14. Blizzard Box
15. Crown Book
16. Crown Greeting Card
17. Blizzard Pocket



Folded paper books One-Sheet Books

18. Franklin Fold
19. Triangular Book
20. Four-Way Map Fold
21. Fishbone Fold
22. Tree Fold
23. Diagonal Pocket (here and here)
24. Booklet Fold Variations
25. Booklet Fold Star Pop-Up


Folded paper booksAlbums

26. Panorama Book
27. Spider Book
28. Piano Hinge
29. Piano Hinge Accordion




Folded paper enclosuresEnclosures

30. Button Pouch
31. Sling Fold
32. Telescoping Ziggurat
33. Star Box
34. School-Book Wrapper / with Pleat
35. Slip Cases with Partial and Full Sides
36. Self-Closing Wrapper


Oh, and have I mentioned that you should totally get the book?

The Art of the Fold: Enclosures

Sadly, this post is my last in the series detailing my journey through Hedi Kyle and Ulla Warchol‘s new book, The Art of the Fold: How to Make Innovative Books and Paper Structures. Today I’m highlighting the structures in the last chapter, Enclosures

If you’re new to my blog, then you should know that I’ve been posting my structure of the day on Instagram, so be sure to follow me there. You can click on the name of each structure below and you’ll be taken to its related post over there.

Time to get wrapped up in enclosures!

30. Button Pouch
This structure isn’t just restricted to housing buttons – you can use it for any thin, three-dimensional object. 
The first time I made it, I wasn’t successful at getting the holes to line up with the buttons on the insert card. I think a better approach might be to start by placing your objects on the pouch panel where the holes are cut and trace around them. After that, cut out the holes and use that panel as a template for placing the buttons on the insert. It seems easier to redo the insert than to recreate the whole pouch.

Button Pouch - folded paper enclosure

Button Pouch - folded paper enclosure

31. Sling Fold
This structure is so clever – it can open like a traditional book or with a gentle pull it can be opened up to raise arches, revealing new surfaces beneath them. Hedi recommends using Elephant Hide paper for this project and YES YES YES. This structure requires you to repeatedly thread and coax paper through slits, so you need something that can handle the abuse.

Sling Fold - folded paper book

Sling Fold - folded paper book

32. Telescoping Ziggurat
Yeah, I had to look up what a ziggurat is. Many thanks to Wikipedia: “A ziggurat is a type of massive stone structure built in ancient Mesopotamia. It has the form of a terraced compound of successively receding stories or levels.” This structure has lots of folds but the process for making it isn’t difficult. You work on two different strips of paper and attach them together at the end. You could easily keep going and make a super ginormous one.

Telescoping Ziggurat - folded paper book

33. Star Box
This one is like a tool roll up, but made out of paper. The box consists of four triangular compartments that come together to form a square when looked at from the side. The math geek in me needs to point out that this means that the compartments are all right triangles. I wish I could talk about math more in my daily life.

Star Box - folded paper enclosure

34. School-Book Wrapper / with Pleat
This project gives you two structures in one. The School-Book Wrapper is similar to the book covers you made with paper grocery bags when you were in school. It’s a quick way to give some extra protection to a book. I made one for my Blizzard Book. I ran into a problem with the instructions – on step 6, you’re told to fold the covers to line up with the spine folds. If you do that, the covers don’t fit properly (not wide enough). When you cut your starting sheet of paper, add in 1 spine thickness to the 4x width measurement – this will get your covers to fit correctly (confirmed by Ulla).

School-Book Wrapper - folded paper book enclosure

The School-Book Wrapper with Pleat is a variation of the first structure with an added pocket to tuck in a wraparound cover flap. I used my Fishbone Fold for the text block (this is a suggestion of Hedi’s in the book). I added pieces of cover weight paper to the rear “bones” to stiffen them up – this made it easier to insert them into the wrapper.

School-Book Wrapper with Pleat - folded paper book enclosure

35. Slip Cases with Partial and Full Sides
This one is another twofer – you can enclose your book in the partial-sided slipcase and then enclose the whole shebang in the full-sided version.

Hedi recommends using a soft textured paper for this project and I think that’s a good call. I used reversible Unryu which starts out a bit crunchy, but softens as you work with it. First I made a partial slipcase for my Crown Book. Once the partial slipcase was completed, I had to tease out its sides a bit until they fully covered the sides of the book. 

Slip Cases with Partial Sides - folded paper book enclosure

I made both partial and full-sided slipcases for my Blizzard Book. The three components all fit together quite nicely.

Slip Cases with Partial and Full Sides - folded paper book enclosures

36. Self-Closing Wrapper
This project is a nice way to end the book – it wasn’t very complicated and it felt like I got to make something that would give my Flag Book a hug. The structure has an integrated flap that tucks into a subtle pocket, making for a tidy and secure wrapper.

Self-Closing Wrapper - folded paper book enclosure

Self-Closing Wrapper - folded paper book enclosure

Many thanks to all of you who joined me on my folding adventures! I hope you find the book as enjoyable and informative as I do. And if you’ve been on the fence about getting a copy, get off the fence!

This thing is pure gold. C’mon, it’s HEDI KYLE.

Trip to Leatherwise

On our last day of vacation in California, we made a stop in Santa Cruz. We had some time to kill before our flight, so out of curiosity I did what I do – I performed a quick internet search for any kind of bookbinding supplies in the near vicinity.

And…victory! I found Leatherwise, a sweet little leather shop.

Outside of building - Leatherwise

In this case, size sure didn’t matter. Every square foot of the place was jam-packed with awesome.

Inside of Leatherwise

Rolls of leather at Leatherwise

Rolls of leather at Leatherwise

Leather skins at Leatherwise

Rolls of leather at Leatherwise

Rolls of leather at Leatherwise

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I wanted to have all the things. Unfortunately, I was limited to what I could carry. After much deliberation, I settled on a dozen wood buttons…

Wood buttons

…and some green lambskin. The color is so beautiful!

green lambskin

If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend making a trip to this wonderfully aromatic shop. So.much.leather.

Here’s the scoop:

And if you’re never in the area, you can still shop at Leatherwise! They’ve got an eBay shop just waiting for your visit.

Pin It on Pinterest