The Codex Book Fair, which I’ve had the privilege of attending three times, is by far the biggest marketing gamble I take in my business. It is a huge undertaking on many levels – cost: the hefty booth fee, travel expenses, and shipping; and time spent in preparation, marketing and being physically present at the booth.
I am incredible lucky and grateful that I am able to find (or they find me) generous souls who help me fulfill my visions. Daria Wilber went above and beyond to come work with me in my studio during my final push to finish preparing for Codex. Before she came I mentioned that I’d like to make a paper garment to wear at the event. I scrounged up some paper that was left over from the Mother Tree Project and Daria got it to take shape in the form of this vest, which was a great talking point at Codex. There was even a conversation about making an edition. Paper vests anyone?
And even though I had an assistant during the event (Daria also accompanied me to Codex and I didn’t even take her picture!) I hardly had time to step away from my booth, much less to take photographs! I had every intention of talking to others who were exhibiting (in fact, I requested a booth next to another artist so that we could catch up, but we hardly exchanged a word).
I wanted to hang out with friends, seek inspiration from other artists and introduce myself to other book artists. I did some of this, but not nearly as much as I’d hoped!
And so it goes. I did sell products, I talked to loads of interesting people, I had some interest in my new book Interluceo and now I have lots of follow up to do! Many of the people who stopped by my booth were overwhelmed by the sheer number of booths they were trying to get to (there were 190 exhibitors), and those who were able to come for multiple days definitely had an advantage.
At an event like this there are people you want to meet, but they may not come by your booth. And there are others who you might not know or dream of seeing that appear at your booth. Old friends, strangers, acquaintances, students, librarians, book dealers, collectors, you name it! The woman pictured with me above is named Kate, and she took a class with me at the book and paper center in Chicago about three years ago. All of a sudden, there she was at my booth wearing a tyvek paper jacket.
Thanks to all of those who stopped by to say hello (especially those of you who read my blog and told me so)! It was a lot of fun, and I am thankful that I showed up! Sometimes that is just what it takes.