Monday, February 16, 2009

A Booked Schedule

Bay Area book-lovers have had the privilege of being able to attend not one but two world-class book expos over the past few weeks. I visited the second biennial Codex International Book Fair just a week ago in Berkeley, and over the weekend I went to San Francisco to take in the 42nd California International Antiquarian Book Fair.

The Codex Fair, led by letterpress ringmaster Peter Koch, hosted nearly 150 book artists and small presses, and their works are simply amazing. The book arts medium continues to develop well into the digital age, and it almost seems to me that the growth of online publishing (Hello, Blogger!) has encouraged artists to go even further with innovative printing and binding in the world of paper and ink.

The Antiquarian Book Fair was a fabulous horse of a different color, with almost 250 dealers in antique, fine press, and collectible books. It was astounding to be able to walk from booth to booth there and hold Renaissance-era tomes, see book projects from favorite artists (I have a weakness for Warhol), and find copies of treasured books from childhood. I went with my family, and my little girls ended up talking shop with some of the vendors about woodblock printing and special kinds of paper. A family favorite that we didn't end up bringing home was a series of tiny books recounting Japanese fairy tales, printed on fantastic crepe paper.


The Joy of Nesting said...

How wonderful!!

I can remember when we were kids living in Germany, how amazing it was to wander through the old libraries of the castles and manor houses we would visit. Even the old cathedrals and little churches had libraries in them.

There is a certain odor and a tactile pleasure that can come only from holding and reading books. It's part of the whole emotional experience of reading a book. An experience you can never have reading a computer.:)


A little elf told me you met a mutual blogging sister the other day?? :) Now I'm calling No fair No fair You two have met each other and I haven't met either one of you yet! :( But then again that could be said of all of my Bloglandian sister!

Pattie ;)
Mazatlan Mexioc

Lisa Oceandreamer Swifka said...

There is something about books that hold a world so magical it's beyond words. The antiquarian fair would have thrilled me to touch, smell and gander at words written many years ago. I always like to wonder where did they write? Was it long hand, an old typrwriter of sorts, were they in cafes or some garret in another country? Why THAT book? Why THAT theme? If only we could dive right in to the pages to get those answers and see first hand the birth of a new that becomes legend.
How lucky you were able to attend both!