Create your own art book

If the approach of spring has you feeling creative, Illahe Studios & Gallery has the perfect outlet.

For $5, you can pick up a blank book made by a community member, fill it with whatever you choose, then bring it back to the gallery and have it included in an April exhibit.

You can choose from dozens of blank books with different cover designs.

The deadline for submitting completed books is 5 p.m. on March 28.

For several years, Illahe has featured an April exhibit of art books made by accomplished national and international artists.

"Last year, we started thinking about how to make it more of a community project," said Sue Springer, owner of the gallery.

Book artists created dozens of blank books, which residents were able to buy for a small fee and fill with art, writing or both.

An April 2012 exhibit of the resulting community creations was a huge hit, with people crowding into the gallery during the First Friday Art Walk to examine the completed books, and more people trailing in throughout the month to see the books.

The community-made art books exhibit was paired with an exhibit of art made by professional book artists.

When the second annual Community Collaborative Book Arts Project exhibit opens this coming April, it will likely be just as popular.

Springer said it was inspiring to see all the different art books in last year's exhibit.

"Children did them. Parents and children did them together. There were very professional art books — and everything in between," she said.

She said one mother-daughter collaboration was especially touching.

"A woman did a collaboration with her college-age daughter who was off to school. The daughter did the drawings and illustration and the woman wrote the story along the bottom of the pages," Springer said. "It was a way to stay close to her daughter who had gone away to college."

One young man submitted a black and white graphic novel done in a comic book style, while another person did an elegant travel book with postcards of Paris and other imagery, Springer said.

People can paint in the blank books, make collages, write poetry, write and illustrate stories, or whatever else they can come up with, she said.

Springer said each of the blank books is a little piece of art by itself.

Once people finish their art books, they can decide whether to sell them at the April exhibit, and the asking price. Most books offered for sale last year ranged in price from $30 to $60.

The gallery commission is 50 percent of the price of each sold art book.

Springer said it's fine if people want to list their books as not for sale. Most people chose the not-for-sale option in 2012.

"Once you do it and it's a personal thing, you don't want to sell it," she said. "But we did sell some books last year."

Unsold or not-for-sale art books can be picked up by the owners after April 30, when the exhibit closes.

Illahe Studios & Gallery is located at 215 Fourth St. in Ashland's Historic Railroad District. For more information, call 541-488-5072.

Reach reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-479-8199 or

Share This Story