from Eric Johnson:
The NBLA had a table at the recent Codex International Book Fair in Richmond, as we have in the past two Fairs. We enjoy every minute of these events, for many reasons. For one, we’re surrounded by book artists from all over the world; over 200 exhibitors each with distinct aesthetics and the highest level of skills in all aspects of book creation. It’s almost too much to take in, as one wanders down aisles not sure how to decide to take more time with one or another of the intricate worlds on display. The building itself, a repurposed factory right on the dock with a view of the San Francisco Bay, creates a sensation of being on a ship, with so much glass in its walls and ceilings one always feels the weather and color of the Bay.
The theme of this year’s Codex was the proliferation of Book Arts in Scandinavia, and there was an aisle that concentrated tables from Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland & Denmark.
We had our own ‘neighborhood’ feel, with the NBLA table surrounded on both sides by other exhibitors from Sebastopol: Sara Press & Tiana Krahn on one side, and Brooke Holve on the other. Brooke & I both have connections in Iceland, so we spent some time talking with the artists that presided at their table. Brooke invited them come up to our shop in Sebastopol if they had any time after the Codex Fair…and they accepted.
So, two days after the closing, we hosted what had mushroomed into a delegation of ten artists: six from Iceland, three from Norway, and one from Sweden. The whole afternoon was such a charmed & warm exchange that we were glowing for days after. There was lunch at the restaurant next door, then a showing of each other’s recent books, and finally sitting down with coffee and cake to talk about how we might collaborate or at least stay in touch. It was a perfect ending to a week of non-stop conversation and contemplation of the rich field of international book art.