Plate by Julie Wiggins
I’m debating about doing the fair next year. Talkin’ bout the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Fair
It is pretty hard to find an audience for fine press books. The books don’t exist or find good homes at galleries—largely due to the overwhelming majority of gallery owners’ extreme unwillingness to take them on, whether they posit themselves as a “fine art” gallery or a “craft” gallery, and to do their part to educate the public about a still surviving art/craft/whatever form), and hand-printed books disappear/get swallowed up at bookstores. Craft fairs would seem the logical venue that might find an interested and understanding niche audience.
But, I’m still a little gun-shy from a few semi-traumatic experiences (not to mention financial flops) at fairs in the past. (If I had a dollar for every time somebody said “It’s so great to see someone is still doing this and I love your work” but then didn’t buy a single thing, not even the ten dollar set of hand printed cards; well you get the picture). And there wasn’t a single bookmaker or letterpress printer at this year’s CDC fair.
Like most craftspersons, I realize there’s not going to be that many people interested in the type of work I do, and the nature of the work prices it outside the purchasing range of a majority of folks. The hard part is finding those few people who *would* like this work and actually would want to own it, and getting the work in front of them. Doesn’t just happen on its own (and Bella doesn’t seem to be taking the bull by the horns in tacking her newly acquired marketing responsibilities)
Speaking of fairs, Annie and I are thinking of heading out to Cali to check out the Codex Foundation Book Fair. Would be an inspiring trip for sure, I’m going to scout it out and consider doing it on the next go round (the booth fee ain’t cheap).