Trip to the Antiquarian Book Fair in Seattle

Autumn Tree
One of the many reasons we love our new digs on the planet

In the soft rain Oola and I are getting an early start on our first solo trip to Seattle.  The deciduous trees are letting go of the last of the light that they stored during long summer days.

Being very careful to follow directions from Oola’s cousin in the black box we reach the Bainbridge Island ferry just in time to see it leave the dock.  No biggie; we gave ourselves plenty of time for the trip.  The wind is blowing over here on the Sound of Puget but we are warm and comfy while we wait.  It is going to be a good trip.

Images can be enlarged with a click.

Bainbridge Island Ferry
Bainbridge Island Ferry to Seattle

I won’t bore you with the details of circling round and round in Seattle to the maddeningly patient tone of Oola’s cousin in the black box.  Luckily traffic is so slow we don’t have to worry about making split-second decisions.  We finally get to our destination, the parking lot of some sports arena, and Oola takes the obligatory picture of the iconic Space Needle.

Seattle Space Needle
Seattle Space Needle and Frank Ghery’s Music Experience Project (EMP), thank you Pamela!

A short walk in the rain (Oola left the umbrellas in the car) then we stop, saying

Exhibition Hall, Seattle
“This must be the spot”.

There is a cast of characters out front and they appear graphic novel ready, but, hey, no problem.

When we get inside, it is a wonderful world full of booth after booth after booth of old, delightful, and very expensive books, maps, prints, and probably more.

Antiquarian Book Fair
Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair

Oola and I have a free pass because we are volunteers at the Book Arts Guild table so we go there first.

Mare Blocker and Selene FisherAlready in place are artist Mare Blocker (left) and that force-of-nature and cat-herder Selene Fisher (right) who organized our part in this book fair.  A few of my books are for sale.  More on that later.

Our neighbor is Carl Montford of Seattle with his tiny, functioning letterpress machine.  On which he prints his tiny, incredibly precise wood engravings.  Exactly the right size for Oola!  But wa-a-ay beyond her skill set.

There is time before my shift to do the walk around.  And here are only a few of the magical things I saw.

Phillip J. Pirages,  Fine Books and Manuscripts

Cokie took out some of the pages to give us a close-up look.

Pirages makes it clear that they do not cut up books to sell the pages.

Antiquariat Botanicum

Far West Maps and Books

farwestmapsA Wildcard favorite — old maps.  This booth was presented by Myron West of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Nudelman Fine and Rare Books

Susan told us that Nudelman Fine and Rare Books has a special interest in work from the Guild of Women Binders which flourished in the late 1800’s.  Click here for a video of Phillip Pirages talking about the Guild (8mins).

It WAS a good day, after all.  My eyeballs are FULL.  Oola is asleep now, but on Sunday we continue our trip eastward to Sammamish, WA where an Arts Fair is going on and there is work to be done.

And, yes, something did happen to one of my books at the Book Arts Guild table.  More to come.



Book Arts Guild at Suzzallo Library

Last week Oola and I went to a meeting/show-and-tell at the Book Arts Guild in Seattle.  The meeting itself was held in the amazing building — the Suzzallo Library, University of Washington.

Suzzallo Library, UW after dark
Suzzallo Library, UW

We got there after dark so there are not many picts but you can see more of this architecture, including the part sometimes known as the Harry Potter room, at the University of Washington site.

Oola trying out the Suzzallo Library
Oola trying out the Suzzallo Library

Allow me to say that Book People are the greatest.  Several shared their projects at the meeting.  I can share only a few of them with you.

Here is Don Myhre holding one of his wonderfully hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind books.  This one is made of broken up bits of cell phones.  You can see more of his delightful books at Vamp and Tramp.

Don Myhre

Lisa Hasegawa is a printer with a warm smile and a self-effacing sense of humor.  She runs Ilfant Press in Seattle.

She is part of a postcard exchange with several other letterpress people.  Each member of this group produces a postcard a month to exchange with the others.  Here is a close-up of her postcard about “Lady” problems.

Lisa Hasegawa's postcard

On Lisa’s wrist is tattooed the word “printer” — upside down and backward, of course!  A little joke for those of us who have had the thrill of setting type.

Carl Youngmann and Ellie Matthews run the The North Press in Port Townsend,WA. They brought some exquisite typeset projects.

Here is an image they showed from one of their projects.

Han-Shan #82
Han-Shan #82

Anjani Millet talked about her artist book that jumped right into my heart.

Anjani with her 5.7.9 The Housethief
Anjani with her 5.7.9 The Housethief

Anjani Miller's 579 The Housethief

This is the story of Anjani’s mother and a battle with Alzheimer’s.  When they moved mother from her beloved home and the black mold that inhabited that house her memory got better and she was un-diagnosed from Alzheimer’s disease.

Photo by Anjani, borrowed from her website.  Your eyes and your spirit will be greatly rewarded when you visit

Michael Sobel showed a book of photographs he took in 1969.

Michael Sohel
Michael Sobel
one page from Michael's book of photographs
One page from Michael’s book of photographs, printed as digital inkjet images.  Really nice photo, Michael.  Where is your website so we can see more? Or did I get your name wrong?

Ed Marquand brought some high powered volumes designed and produced for museums, publishers, artists, and collectors by Lucia/Marquand in Seattle.   Check him out to see some top notch work.

Ed Marquand of Tieton, WA
Ed Marquand

Ed is also one of the instigators of “Mighty Tieton”, an arts incubator in the town of Tieton WA.

Claudia Hollander-Lucas, educator, visual artist and writer brought her Vade Mecum rant book.  An eye popper filled with time holes and textual atmosphere.

Claudia Hollander Lucas
Claudia Hollander Lucas

Susan Callan brought books of paste paper and talked “how-to” using paste and water media.

Susan Callan

Susan talking about paste paper

It seems to be very strong. And it looks a lot like too-much-fun.  Oola and I will give it a try.

Much more was shared but either my photos were no good, or my memory is faulty, or I am just running out of time.

I want to thank Susan Brown, whose book is her masters thesis, full of fascinating stuff about urban planning, “vital text” in petroglyphs and on gravestones, Queen Victoria of Seattle, the role of the UK in the evolution of the Northwest, and finally my better understanding of why people are so respectful and helpful, at least where I live on the peninsula.  I thought it was the influence of the Canadians, and it seems that I am maybe at least partially correct.

I also want to thank Lisa Leong Tsang calligrapher/anaplastologist.

Lisa Leong Tsang
Image borrowed from Out of the Silence exhibit

A quote from another one of her works fell into my notes:

To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong.

Book people are good, strong, and surprising people.  I am so happy to be meeting this community in my new digs on the planet.