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New England Art Book Fair | Smudge InkTwo weekends ago, I made my way to the Space Gallery in Portland, Maine, for the first ever New England Art Book Fair. Much like the Northampton Print & Book Fair (see my recap here), this gathering of creative heads will become an essential staple in not only their respective artists communities, but also the greater New England communities. It was exciting to see the crowds and packed rooms. Such high attendance of these projects tells me there are people out there who want to see art, meet artists, and have a much more interactive experience.

New England Art Book Fair | Pickwick Press(image: Pickwick Independent Press fine art printing facility)

New England Art Book Fair | Alex Lukas (image: Alex Lukas)

I was at the event for Saturday, and there were a number of cool workshops and lectures throughout the day at Pickwick Independent Press right upstairs from the gallery. PIP is a community print shop specializing in intaglio and letterpress. I was very excited to attend a short talk by Alex Lukas who is a printmaker/artist out of Pittsburgh. In his talk, Memorialization, Colonialism and Empowerment Through Public Name Writing, Lukas discussed the historical context and the difference between Louis C. Clark scrawling his name on cave walls during his exploration of the Louisiana Purchase to white graffiti writers entering neighborhoods like Harlem in the 1980’s. Very heady, thought provoking stuff. Alex Lukas was also tabling his project, Cantab Publishing, which include really beautiful Risograph, photocopy, offset, and silkscreen books.

New England Art Book Fair | Draw Down Books(image: Draw Down Books)

There were many of the same vendors I met in Northampton, like Draw Down Books from Connecticut. DDB are publishing house that releases a lot of cool different projects including small zine-like books and larger hardcover monographs showing work of individual artists, surveys of graphic design projects and also works that serve to critique contemporary graphic design practices.

New England Art Book Fair | Sylvia Kim(image: Sylvia Kim)

Sylvia Kim is an artist local to Boston and she was selling her project, Halfling Zine, a photography zine dedicated to maintaining and creating dialogue between photographers like herself. In her latest issue she chose to represent only female artists. Her books are beautifully printed and very well designed.

New England Art Book Fair | Jim Holt(image: Jim Croft)

Jim Croft truly stood out as having the most unique offerings at NEABF. He is a longtime traditional book maker. He could talk to you for hours about all the awesome stuff he’s been creating. From wooden hardcover books complete with paper made from flax he grows and harvests on his property to intricate metal clasps custom made for each project.

New England Art Book Fair | Jim Holt(image: Jim Croft's handmade bone folders)

He was selling an array of bone folders sourced from local farms. Elk, moose, deer and more to help you get those crisp folds. It’s really something to see artists of all walks of life dedicated to their craft and creative process.

These past few events I’ve been a vendor at have been great experiences. I’ve met some new friends and potential collaborators, and I’ve seen old friends doing new things. What I perceive to be the greatest gain from this experience is a newfound vigor to get some new projects and artworks out of my brain and into real life! I’m excited to see what develops! While I don’t have any book or print fairs lined up in the next couple weeks, I’ll be letting you, our dedicated readership, in on all the great holiday craft and art markets hitting the scene in December. See you guys then!