The Baltic Artist’s Book Fair – in words and pictures

Friday and Saturday was the Baltic Artist’s Book Fair. It was pretty good like. An artist’s book fair is quite different from my regular craft market experience, the biggest difference being that we were in an art gallery.

Lydia Wysocki was my table mate for the fair, bringing her rather brilliant selection of books and prints (no really, they’re brilliant). Highlights in our conversation included discovering Lydia’s danger words – words that will result in a very disapproving look. I would advise against using these words frivolously, she intends to make a set of flashcards to help with this. For my own safety (and amusement) I won’t list them here.

To our right was Sha Nazir of Black Hearted Press, together with Paul, Cuttlefish and Nigel of the Paper Jam Comics Collective we formed a solid comics contingent. Proving that comics come in all shapes, sizes and genres and appeal to everybody if they’re willing to give it a go.

I had a relatively small amount (none) of my comics on display, having decided to concentrate on the paper-cut artbook with the burlesque ladies. The feedback on the prototypes was amazing, I spent the first day assembling layers in different orders and playing with the depth and visibility of sheets. I even learned a very rough and ready version of Japanese binding to hold these prototypes together. After some playing, thought and chats with various book artists I’ve decided that the designs that exist currently benefit from being layered, possibly as a deep framed artwork rather than a book. That doesn’t mean I’m abandoning the book though, the designs will be edited, played with and included in the final book. The framed wall art type designs will exist as companion pieces to the main project.

I had a really good time. Being in such a space for two days with no natural light penetrating was quite weird though and left me pretty shattered, similar to most trips to IKEA. The only solution was to take Monday off, allowing the feeling of two Sundays.

Would I do it again? Without a second thought. A wonderful two days, with brilliant company. I met so many brilliant artists it’s unfair to start listing them, for fear of missing someone out.