A Teaser for an Upcoming Class: Pop-Up Books

Pop-Up Teaser (1 of 1)

Yes, Shelley, this one’s for you!  A 10 week class all about making pop-up, moveable and otherwise interactive elements for your art:

We’re moving the Book Arts classes at the Palo Alto Art Center to a new day and time, now at 10 a.m. on Friday mornings. For my students who travel from the south and north bays this will help you avoid that awful afternoon traffic!

Here are the details:

Pop-Up and Moveable Books 1

  • Fridays 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • September 12 – November 14 (10 Weeks)
  • Palo Alto Art Center

Learn cutting and folding (paper engineering) techniques to transform flat sheets of paper into 3-D objects that pop-up off the page! We’ll learn fold, wheel and pull-tab variations to create visual interest. We’ll use pre-printed imagery, collage, and illustration techniques for content; and learn how to create books with one or several moveable inclusions.

Materials List Students: Cutting mat (at least 12 x 18), scissors (new with sharp blades), craft knife such as X-acto with additional blades, bone folder, pencil, ruler, PVA glue, and double-sided tape. Optional: quilt rulers, triangle, small detail scissors, decorative papers, and photos.

Materials Provided: Paper, binder’s board, decorative papers, pre-printed patterns and content, handouts with step-by-step directions for each technique learned.

Cost for Materials Provided: $30

I’ll let you know when enrollment opens up! Look for more sample pics to tempt you.








In Response to Hobby Lobby: A Flutter Book for You to Make and Share

This flutter book is my response to the recent Supreme Court decision on Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby. It is dedicated to my father who taught me to have my own opinions, despite the fact they are often different from his. And to Karen K. who inspires me to be myself.

Hobby Lobby Book no lines

To make this book, download the PDF.

Ginger Burrell Private Decisions (Hobby Lobby) Book

Please feel free to copy, print and make as many of them as you’d like. You’ll find the directions, below, and also printed on the book (the margin you cut off).

Do you have a different opinion about the ruling? I encourage you to make your own books. Art is a marvelous format for stimulating conversation and discussion about difficult topics.

Use your power as an artist (and as a consumer) to have your voice heard.

To assemble your book, first print on the highest print quality that your printer will produce. If you’d like a paper that feels velvety and more special than plain copy paper, try Hammermill Color Copy. (Trust me, you’ll fall in love with this silky paper.) Be careful when you print – my print dialogue kept defaulting to “fit to page” which changes the dimensions and will make your book turn out catty-wampus. It is designed to have the rose photos and haiku centered on each page.

After printing your page, fold the paper in half  (with the images on the outside). Use a bone folder to make the crease sharp.

Private Decisions  (1 of 8)

With your paper still folded, fold each end into the middle fold.  Remember to crease every fold. Unfold.

Private Decisions  (2 of 8)


Private Decisions  (3 of 8)

Now fold your paper in half lengthwise and unfold. Again, crease carefully.

Private Decisions  (4 of 8)

With your paper still folded in half lengthwise, cut your paper 3″ from the fold.

Private Decisions  (5 of 8)

Re-fold your paper in half, with the images on the outside, and cut with scissors, very carefully, from the top of the fold, down to the horizontal fold.

Private Decisions  (6 of 8)

Keeping your book folded, use the outer two folded halves and push inward. The cut halves will fold the other way, so you have an X. Lay flat and press, starting with the back page. Voila!

Private Decisions  (7 of 8)

Private Decisions  (8 of 8)

Your comments on what you think of the book, what you will do with it and/or the response you get, are appreciated.





Hurry, Ends June 14th – Paper Sale $1 a sheet at FLAX in San Francisco

I had a great time at this sale at Flax yesterday with my friend and fellow artist, Janice. The drive up was a nice time to catch up and who can resist gorgeous paper for $1 a sheet? Anything more than 100 sheets and the price drops from $1 a sheet to 85 cents. Many, many beautiful papers, some I’ve paid $5+ per sheet for in the past…. Don’t miss out on the great deli next door – DeLessio’s. (I highly recommend the Reuben and the oatmeal cookie…) A perfect ending to the fun shopping chaos that you’ll find at this sale… Beware, parking is a bear.





Book Power Redux at 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland

Book Power Redux copyright 23 Sandy Gallery

We had the pleasure of traveling to Portland last weekend for the opening of Book Power Redux at 23 Sandy Gallery. I’ve known Laura Russell, owner of 23 Sandy, since the beginning of my career as a book artist but had never had the opportunity, until now, to see the gallery. It is a lovely, light and airy space with a lot of good display opportunities and, of course, you get to chat with Laura, which is always educational.

I’ll tell you about the book show in a moment, but first I have to share a dining tip from Laura – The Screen Door restaurant.  Laura was not exaggerating when she said they have “fried chicken so good it will make you cry.” Greg thought it was more than worth the hour wait and I guarantee that this will be a “must go” every time we are in Portland.

Speaking of Portland, we fell in love with it. I have several blog posts worth of art info to share with you but today I’ll start with the show:

Book Power Redux is an interesting and disconcerting combination of beautifully made artists books carrying difficult messages.  It is one of the strongest shows I’ve seen in a while both in terms of content and artistry.  I am honored to have two of my pieces, Sandy Hook and Assume the Position, included.

Laura has put together a full color catalog of the show and I encourage you to purchase and peruse it. At $25 it is far cheaper than a trip to Portland and well worth the artists’ statements and photographs. You can also purchase the individual works directly from the 23 Sandy Gallery website which is pretty darned slick!

Many of the works stood out for us (I went with my husband, Greg, and our dear friend, Steve, a photographer who lives in Seattle).  I encourage you to wander through the website and experience each book. Here is a quick link to be able to access all of the books easily. Here are a few to get you started (Sorry there are no photos here, please click-through to see the imagery):

my not so ordinary life by Christine Wagner is  delicate, elegant and painful to read. This artists’ book describes her experience with domestic violence and left me appreciating her willingness to share such a difficult story, her juxtaposition of delicate and pretty materials with brutal language, and with the sense that I am tremendously fortunate to not be able to relate directly.

Like most of the work created originally for the Al Mutanabbi project, Sunt Lacrimae Rerum by Amaranth Borsuk is powerful and moving. Her use of laser-cut text, that tears away each time the book is opened, is simple and just so.

Ten Little White Folk by Shawna Hanel had only one downside. It is a unique work and was already sold by the time the show opened. Greg and I would like to have this witty and well-done book in our collection.

Why You Can’t Get Married by Nava Atlas uses the format of a wedding album to “demonstrate how the very arguments used to oppose interracial marriage in generations past have been recycled for use against same-sex marriage.” While Greg and I can relate to this personally, as our marriage would have once been illegal, it is also the artist’s choices of imagery, text and format that really spoke to us.

Did you see the show either in person or online? Please feel free to post your recommendations in the comments.







Community Matters at San Jose City Hall, Reception Friday June 6



I was honored to be invited to participate in the Community Matters show at San Jose City hall. This show features SJSU art department alumni and will be open until October 1., 2014. I know several of the participants and am flattered to be included in such a talented group. These are the art students I would come home and tell Greg about. “They’re going to do something big,” I’d tell him and you’ll see by their work exactly what I meant.

Each of us has our own display area an, in addition to several of my better known artist’s books,  you’ll be able to see a work that isn’t even on my website yet. Tentatively titled Elephants, it is a collection of artist’s books about family secrets. When the curator, Robin Treen, visited my studio she was excited about this piece and asked if I could have it finished in time for the show. “Sure!” I told her. And it was done at 2 a.m. the day of the install.

I hope you can join me on Friday, June 6th, between 4:30-6 p.m. for the reception.




When Creativity Feels Out of Reach


On December 24th my dear father-in-law, Art, was hospitalized. It was not the first time and wouldn’t be the last. It feels significant, however, because that’s the last time I can remember being able to focus completely on being creative.

After  December 24th caregiving and support became priorities over creativity and making art. In that time I’ve made artists’ books,  I’ve had some lovely successes, and I’ve had to use every ounce of energy – when I had it – to focus on art at all.

I remember in a college seminar class when a student (much younger than me!) stated with conviction that a “real” artist would give up everything before not creating. By his definition, I am not a real artist. At the time I said would give up art in an instant to take care of my husband and our families and, for the past 6 months, that’s pretty much what I’ve done.

Four weeks ago my father-in-law decided to end treatment and come home. We were scared and sad and supportive. Our world shrank ever smaller, from the last six months of caregiving with moments of creativity and normal life in between – to 24 hours of vigilant care, love, support and putting one foot in front of the other.

Greg recently asked me if the experience with his dad has inspired me to make art. I think eventually it might. The two weeks between when he came home and when he completed his earthly journey was an education for all of us. Greg’s dad taught us how to die. Whereas I used to think of death as sad and painful and lonely, I now hope I will have the opportunity to visit with friends, listen to music, tell stories and experience the undivided love of family.

Maybe someday that will be the title of an artists’ book, How to Die. Maybe not. Right now, today, even walking the hundred and fifty feet to the studio feels too difficult. We’ve made the decisions, had the services, hosted far-flung relatives who came to pay their respects. My quiet and private husband even had the courage to give his dad’s eulogy. I have never been prouder than that moment I watched that brave and well-spoken man honor his father. I wish he would let me use the text from the eulogy for an artists’ book, but I know better than to ask.

So this morning I got up and decided to go to the studio. I put on clothes I could make messy, I poured some iced tea to take with me, and I stopped to water the garden. Then I paid bills. Then I did laundry. Then I played with the cat. Now here it is 6 p.m. and I haven’t made it to the studio yet. I finally decided that writing a long overdue blog post was at least a small move in the right direction. So this is it, this is my writing/art/creativity for today. Tomorrow morning I will get up and try again.

Have you made art about death, dying or the loss of a loved one? I’d appreciate it if you would share your stories in the comments section.




The Power of Art with Children (or Why Every Child Should Make Books, Lots of Them)

This is an extraordinary example of a partnership between an artist and school children.  Titled, If I Had a Garden, this book is a real treat. I’d tell you more about what I loved, but I’ll ruin the surprise…

Thank you to Klaus von Mirbach for sharing this on the BookArts ListServ.


You’ll find more of Klaus’ work in his blog. I think his work is amazing!

I especially enjoyed his photographs on his work with schoolchildren.

Have you made art with school children? I’d love to feature your work, too. Please email me or leave me a comment.