There's nothing like committing to something to make things happen. Last year I signed up to share a stall at BABE (Bristol Artists Book Event) with my mate Rachel from Semple Press (check her out, she's brilliant). Then my Dad needed major and very scary surgery and it all got a bit messy, and I pulled out. Amazingly, things went well with the op, and a week before BABE it turned out that I was free rather than on hospital duty, so decided, despite being woefully unprepared and not having anything even closely resembling an artists book, to give it a go anyway.
Above: Behold! Our stand at BABE. Not too shabby :-)
I didn't have a great deal of stock, and with a mere 3 days to get my stuff together the only new thing I was able to print was a bookmark, but somehow things worked out OK.
Above: My side, cunningly arranged to make it look like I had more than I actually did.
Above: A close-up of my greetings cards (the ones at the front will be in the shop soon as I manage to take some decent photos).
Rachel's side of the stall looked stunning.
Above: Some of the wonderful things made by Semple Press.
She even had a flag.
Above: The Semple Press flag! Ingenious.
I had no idea what to expect, this being my first foray into exhibiting my wares to the public at large, but it was great! Exhausting, but also a lot of fun. I had many lovely letterpress chats with interested folk, some of whom (you know who you are) were lovely enough to buy things. Sharing a stall meant that me and Rachel could take turns to go for a wander, though with 80 exhibitors it was almost impossible to get a proper sense of everything that was there.
Above: I was particularly taken by these lovely multilayered little things from Microlibrary. They reminded me of happy times making layered scenes in shoeboxes as a child.
It was especially good to get to meet some of the letterpress and book arts folk I stalk on Twitter, and catch up with the ones I've already met at various letterpress events around the country (more on these soon). Hello to The Shipping Press, Mark Hudson, Aidan Moesby, Gemma Lacey, LCBA (London Centre for Book Arts), Pineapple Falls, The Marches Book Arts Group, Micro Library Books, Old Bear Press, Sarah Bryant, Paperwallah, Seekers of Lice, Otto, and all the rest of you!
Above: Beautifully packaged beeswax from The Shipping Press. They also had some really wonderful books and printed things, but sadly my photo of those was a bit rubbish.
I'm looking forward to the 2017 BABE already.