This past weekend was a busy one in Vermont, where I was working with members of the Vermont Book Arts Guild to hand assemble a hundred prototype copies of the Studio Protector Artist’s Guide to Emergencies. An interactive emergency-preparedness wall piece that is being produced by the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, the Studio Protector includes a two-sided volvelle (rotating paper wheel) along with numerous pockets for cards and pull-out folders outlining how artists should ready themselves for emergencies and what they should do when disaster strikes. The final production will be done in China, but these copies will serve as fundraising and test pieces.
In conjunction with the actual production work, I gave the group tips on streamlining the book assembly process, making jigs and templates, and choosing tools and materials for making large editions.
The weekend wasn’t all work. Elissa Campbell, a member of CERF’s staff, was kind enough to escort me to several Vermont points of interest, including the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Waterbury and the historic Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vermont.
Of course, the attraction at Ben and Jerry’s is the ice cream. We had an amusing tour of the facilities, ate some of the production, and strolled the grounds. Here I am alongside the Ben and Jerry’s Cowmobile bus.
Hope Cemetery in Barre is noted for its beautifully carved and sometimes eccentric tombstones. Barre, the “Granite Capital of the World,” is home to master carvers who emmigrated from Europe, many of whom were Italians who came during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The carvings in the older section of the cemetary are amazing, with floral and scrolled flourishes. But it’s the more recent headstones that make this cemetery so interesting. Many are riffs on the deceased’s interests and hobbies: a soccer ball, a race car, an ice fishing scene, an airplane, all carved into hard, beautiful, grey-white stone. Aside from meeting a group of people who share my interest in bookmaking, the cemetery was the highlight of the trip.