I do hope I'm going to have some work ready for this fair at Birmingham's new library - I'd even like to do something new, but I don't think there's time for that. New things might have to wait for the next fair. However, it's rather good to be able to put prints on show as well as books - here's a list of people showing. I'm sharing a table with Gemma Lacey, not for the first time - should be fun, as ever.
We are just about finished - a week of initial checks of various sorts, trying to ensure that things run smoothly further in; a week of massed sorting, involving a cast of thousands (well, hundreds (oh alright, but many)); finally a week of boxing up, packing out, sealing (even without allowing for all that parcel tape that gets tied up round itself in sticky, sweary tangles, Cathy and I got through so many rolls of the stuff!), addressing, lugging to the post office, weighing, more than one sharp intake of breath at accumulated costs, and finally - finally - for us at least the job is done. I confess to being appallingly weary right now, and left to myself I think I just might stay in bed tomorrow morning, but alas the tiler is due. Oh well, it'll wear off and the tiles will look great.
Next up will be the Under the Bed Sale at Hot Bed Press (scuze the poor photo - too big to scan),
where we twenty-twentyers will each receive our box of prints. In spite of adding the final print (everyone gets one of their own in the set) to the 50 Hot Bed Press boxes, I was unbelievably virtuous and didn't rifle through them to see who will get what. Of course, it helped that I did that job with Jacqui, but I like to think that I would have been equally good all on my own. Surely.
Hot Bed Press run the Under the Bed sale every year - the premise is that we the printers can offload all sorts of works of art. The ones that were nearly there but maybe we felt just missed the mark in some small way; the ones that have been hanging around for so many years now that we quite fancy seeing the back of them however good they might be; the ones that are excess to requirement or that we lost interest in or that we just would like to contribute out of the goodness of our hearts. Some of the money made goes to the artists and some to Hot Bed Press towards equipment, supplies - every little helps on both sides of the deal, and on top of that the buyer gets to take home beautiful images, to keep or to give. Come along and find some bargains, see the studio, talk to the printmakers. It's always fun.
Well, it's begun. All the preparatory checks have been done since the 1st November deadline, and today we started on the main action - filling boxes. One day down, who knows how many more to go... and then it'll be time for the careful and time-consuming packing up of boxes into boxes, wrapping, labelling, queuing to post them, waiting for confirmation that they've arrived und so weiter. Meanwhile Andy came out of the office looking quite cross-eyed after yet another day of scanning scanning scanning. But on the plus side, we get to see hundreds of gorgeous prints - pretty damn good crop, this year.
Just recently life has seemed full of stuff needing done by yesterday. There were things I wanted to write about - exhibitions, great days out, glorious weather, usual stuff - but right there and then my mind felt too worn to bother. Daft, really, but how it was.
However, I think I'm just about out of that phase now. I've got past the book fair, I've finished the 25 prints for this year's 20:20, my head is starting to function again. Alright, there's still the sort of the 20:20 to go, but that's a group activity - it can get quite pressured, but it's fun too. Though goodness knows how we'll find the space to sort - still, again, that's a group problem.
So. A fortnight ago (already) I took a week down south, and the weather promised terrible but then delivered pretty good, which, if the forecast is going to be wrong, is the way round you want it. I trod the usual deep grooves on my first trip into Bath, and on the second, having no particular end in view, took a much shallower groove right along Walcot Street. It promotes itself as a street full of independent, artisanal traders, and more or less delivers on that while also not feeling ultra hip'n'trendy or crafted into being. It's shabby here and there but (in a good way) not what you'd call chic. So I wandered along having a lovely, relaxed, sunny time, discovering a set of new local-trader-inspired (ok, so they're a bit self-regarding, but hey) and old gargoyles here
and a previously unspotted wall advert there (actually that was a bit beyond Walcot Street)
as well as discovering and rediscovering all sorts of other interesting ventures. I also found information about an exhibition I would like to visit but won't (although at least for practical reasons, like it being 200 miles away and not on for long enough) and a new (to me, at least) small-shop-sized gallery (Lane House Arts) showcasing work by Zsolt Dudas. And I popped in to see an exhibition at Walcot Chapel - it is purely an exhibition space these days, set back from Walcot Street in a little oasis of calm. It's a lovely spot, sun-dappled gravestones and all.
On show were two artists, Kitty Hillier - whose work is acrylics painted on plywood, chiselled back to reveal the interior - and Fiona Campbell, a sculptor using wire, copper and other materials. The artists went well together, with a shared strand of the natural world running through their work. My favourite title was one of Kitty's - Some Days are Darker than Others. Yup, ain't that the truth.
I make prints and book arts, though nowhere near as often as I'd like - no good reason, just an inability to get on with things. I occasionally go on about landscape (with which I am mildly obsessed) and various of its elements, and I like to pass comment on exhibitions I visit.