A Busy Month

Pausing to examine my last blog, I see that more than a month has passed since my last contribution. It has been a busy time: Studio Tour, work on more prints in the 2010 series and a trip to Picton, Ontario to participate in the Maker’s Hand craft show.

Checking tags as the gates open at The Maker's Hand.

The Maker’s Hand is something of an anomaly amongst craft shows. It is not that large, perhaps 50 vendors, set in a town as opposed to a city, and yet it fields some of the best talent in Ontario, and attracts a healthy crowd of buyers. It is a show that has to date been managed by craftspersons, deliberately kept small and all of us – participating artists – must submit new work to be juried every year. The show is a counterpoint to the massive, consumer oriented 800 plus vendor binges seen in major cities, where the promoters insist on referring to art and craft as ‘merchandise’ and push artisans to create goods in the lowest price point possible. It’s all sound capitalism, but somehow it does not say much for the caliber of customer they are hoping for. Well, we are, all of us, trying to make a living.

Holly and I sold well at the Tour and the Maker’s Hand, with my humble linocuts receiving a lot of attention and many heading off to grace other peoples walls. Holly’s new Muse Journals received a lot of praise.

All the while, Graven Images has been proving itself a success, which is a delight and a relief. As of today, it has sold it’s first $1,000, which I dare say cuts a swath out of the expenses to date, taking into account the fact that only 20% of the edition is bound as yet, so the outlay has not ended yet. Ah well. Multiple copies have gone to book sellers in Seattle, and expressions of interest have come from New Jersey and London, England. I just mailed off the first of this edition to be bought by a university’s special collection, namely my alma mater, Carleton University, and a copy for the Rare Book collection at the Toronto Reference Library will be winging its way there from here on Monday. Previous editions from the press have found a place in the collection of Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand, and the National Library of Canada purchased my first three editions just prior to the cancellation of that practice. They have reverted to insisting that book artists donate one copy, or two if the edition is larger than 99, as per the law entrenched in the Constitution, no less. Even if there exist only two copies, and the value being tens of thousands of dollars. But that’s okay, because I’ve been hearing through sources that some in the National Library are keen to end the collection of books and their costly storage, unless sent to them as digital files. So far I’m not aware of book artists being asked to send digital copies of their books.

Speaking of the National Library, that is where the Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild meets monthly, and last Wednesday I gave a slide presentation on the making of Graven Images, particularly on the extreme make-ready required to print the very old blocks. I’ll do a blog later with the images from the demonstration.

Explore posts in the same categories: Book Making, Rants, Shows

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