Participating Artists & Guests

Featured Guests

Emily Martin

Emily Martin

A featured guest and a keynote presenter for Octavofest 2017 is renowned book artist Emily Martin, who will make a variety of presentations on several topics, including her recently completed Pantone Postcard Project.

Martin earned a MFA degree in painting from the University of Iowa, having previously earned a BFA and MA in drawing and painting, respectively. She will participate in Octavofest events from October 25 - 28, and her books will be on exhibit at the Shaker Heights Public Library throughout October.

Find out more about Emily Martin.

Ben Sapp

Ben Sapp

Ben Sapp, also a featured guest and keynote presenter for Octavofest 2017, is the Director of the Mazza Museum at the University of Findlay. The Mazza Museum cares for more than 12,000 pieces of artistic expression by book illustrators and authors. It holds one of the largest and most diverse collections of picture book art in the world.

Mr. Sapp will discuss the mission and history of the Museum, share some of its treasures, and will explore how pictures help us understand a story and its characters.

Keith Allen

Keith Allen

Keith Allen is a designer, illustrator, and paper engineer from Cleveland with more that ten years of professional experience in product design at American Greetings.

Allen's creative process, craftsmanship and entrepreneurial skills in the publication of his most recent pop-up book, What a Mess: A Pop-up Misadventure Book, were documented in video and photos as part of his "5am Pop-Up Book Project".

Participating Artists

Melissa Craig

Melissa Jay Craig

Melissa Jay Craig is an independent artist/ educator who has been teaching book arts classes since 1991, and papermaking (specifically, sculptural paper) since 2000, in both academic and community settings. From 1994 - May 2009, she helped to build and run a facility that was dedicated to an open, innovative approach to the book and paper arts in Chicago; and taught in an interdisciplinary MFA in book and paper arts program there for thirteen years. Her sculptural book works, paper sculptures, and installations are exhibited internationally. As a nearly deaf artist, Melissa explores reading and language by using forms found in nature.

Book Art by Gene Epstein

Gene Epstein

Gene Epstein currently works as an artist, book artist, bookbinder, exhibit designer, muralist and jazz bassist. Ms. Epstein has an MFA in Painting and a BA in Studio Art. She is a former college art teacher, former museum Exhibits Department director, and former museum educator. Her folded book sculptures were featured in the 2011 book Book Art, Iconic Sculptures and Installations made from Books, published in Great Britain. Her work has been shown in the Loganberry Books Annex Gallery, the Heights Arts Gallery, the Morgan Conservatory, the San Diego Book Arts National Juried Exhibition, and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

Ms Epstein co-led a training session for Cleveland Public Library librarians in 2011, and has lectured about the book arts at the Cleveland Public Library Main Branch, for the Northern Ohio Bibliophilic Society and taught altered book techniques at Heights Arts and for Red Hatted Women. Her work is owned by book lovers in such far flung places as Helsinki, Finland; Kagoshima City, Japan; Shanghai, China; New York City; Seattle, Washington; as well as places much closer to home.

Book Art by Laura Martin

Laura Martin

Laura Martin is a retired academic who is one of the founders of Octavofest and an early member of Art Books Cleveland. She exhibits and teaches as a book artist and papercutter. She has been a docent at the Cleveland Museum of Art since 2007. She also serves CMA as Healthcare Education Consultant, working with the Vital Signs program, an initiative that uses the museum’s art collections as laboratories for enhancing the observation, communication, and teamwork skills of health professionals.

Amy Richard

Amy Richard

Artist Amy Richard earned her Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Iowa, Center for the Book where she studied Western, Asian and Islamic style papermaking techniques as well as the history and culture of books and book arts. She uses her knowledge of paper and the fibers used to produce it along with found elements from the natural world to create works that combine both art and science. She maintains a studio in Gainesville, Florida where she also offers workshops in Western and Asian-style methods of hand papermaking along with techniques for image making and sculpture.

Ellen Strong

Ellen Strong

Bookbinding can itself be something of a mystery, as each book has its reason for falling apart and its own best way to be repaired. Ellen Strong loves a good mystery!

Strong's book career started in New York as a bookseller at Barnes and Noble. Back in Cleveland she worked at the legendary Publix Book Mart before opening her own shop, Coventry Books, in 1972. Dealing with both new and used books, Strong became fascinated by the technology of book construction and curious about the techniques of book repair. While still a bookseller, she first studied with retired bookbinder, Walter Flick and later with a master bookbinder Jean Gunner for 5 years at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh.

Ellen Strong is a life-long Cleveland Heights resident has been repairing broken and tattered books more than 30 years for individuals, libraries, and institutions. For a dozen years she was a book conservator at Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western Reserve University.

She teaches bookbinding at Strong Bindery. Classes include: Beginning Bookbinding, Intermediate Bookbinding, and Advanced Bookbinding; Paper Marbling; Box Making, Leather Binding, Box Making, and various other aspects of binding.

In 2005, after a 20 year run at the Murray Hill School, her business, Strong Bindery, moved to Loganberry Books, 13015 Larchmere Blvd. where it presently resides. Do stop in or email her at