Northampton Book and Book Arts Fair

This past weekend I attended the third annual Northampton Book and Book Arts Fair at Smith College in Northampton, MA. It was awesome to be able to attend again, having missed it last year. Many thanks go to my hubby for watching Anna!

Northampton Book and Book Arts Fair 2017 poster

This year was a different experience for me in that I was an exhibitor representing the Book Arts Guild of Vermont. I think our booth looked rather spiffy. We had a nice selection of pieces on display that represented the wide range of our members’ work.

Book Arts Guild of Vermont booth at the Northampton Book and Book Arts Fair 2017

I brought my hybrid artist book/board game, You Can’t Take it with You:

Artist book/game hybrid - You Can't Take it with You

The fair mostly consisted of a vendor fair that included a mix of book artists, papermakers, binders, letterpress printers, and antiquarian booksellers. Chena River Marblers didn’t attend this year, which bummed me out. Their papers are so yummy! Their annual open studio is coming up this weekend and sadly I can’t make it. Maybe next year.

The keynote presentation was given by Nicholas A. Basbanes, which was titled Among the Gently Mad. Here’s the description of his lecture:

His talk is a reflection drawn on thirty years of in-the-field research conducted among a variety of book people: collectors, booksellers, librarians, conservators, and readers — people he affectionately refers to as the gently mad.

While browsing at the fair, I bought a copy of his book On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History

On Paper by Nicholas Basbanes

I casually checked it out and saw that there was a chapter titled, Goddess by the Stream. I just knew that it had to be about Echizen! I turned to the chapter and discovered that it was correct. There was an image of Okamoto Otaki Shrine on one of the pages and I freaked out – I WAS THERE.

Hello sir, please take my money for this book!

I really enjoyed talking to folks at the fair and hanging out with my B.A.G. buddies. However, I think that the fair would really benefit from more programming, perhaps adding in demonstrations and/or hand-on activities. It was a bit disappointing to only have the keynote to look forward to, other than the vendor fair.

Of course, it’s easy for me to say that, considering that I’m not on the planning committee. Putting together events like this is hard work! The fair has a lot of potential and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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