Just back from the Bristol Artists Book Event. Every book sale I do I get a bit better at the logistics. Recent additions: black felt tablecloth instead of wrinkled bed sheet, cardboard display racks for small things instead of random, haphazard piles, paper bags for purchased goods instead of a blank look and a mad hunt for an extra carrier bag.
There were dozens of exhibitors spread over five rooms at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol. I was desperate to wander around and have a look, but it is hard to leave a table when you know you might lose a sale, and so mostly I saw this:
Here are things to do behind a table at a book sale:
1. eat snacks
2. use psychic powers to asses each person who comes to the table in order to determine if they want you to talk to them or not
3. write nonsense lists when your psychic powers say “do not speak to this person or they will leave”
4. smile smile smile smile smile
5. putter this and that on the table back into where everything should be.
6. putter this and that behind the table into where everything should be.
It is actually pretty fun to sit behind a table once you get into the swing. Lots of people to talk to, lots of things to hear about. To those of you who came by to tell me that you read this blog, thank you. You made my day, for real. Proof positive that I have readers beyond my mom. (Hi Mom!)
I did leave the table for brief, 3 minute increments and made like a laser beam for a few tables that I knew, like the lovely Charolotte Vallance, my neighbor at the Manchester Artists’ Book Fair in October (and who gave me the tip off about cardboard display racks.)
And I am leaving Bristol with a few new additions to my book collection, including Statues of Europe by Charlotte Vallance:
Landscape by Julie Johnstone of Essence Press:
Thing by Julie Johnstone of Essence Press
Letters of Triangles by Lucy May Schofield:
and Dissimulation of Birds by Elizabeth Willow:
A good weekend all in all, and now I am back home gearing up for more binding and an exhibition this weekend here in Brighton. Come if you can!
Thank you for this great post! I’ve been there “behind the table” many times, and I’ve done these “things” too! You describe it so well: the fears, and the joys, the craziness of it all, and the camaraderie of the other vendors – who ultimately help make it happen. I love your sense of humour. All the best with your next show!
Thank you! It is fun, even when it is exhausting. Maybe I’ll see you at a show sometime!
Oh, I’d love to! That would be wonderful to have you as a neighhour. Unfortunately, I haven’t gone international yet – just doing shows here is British Columbia, Canada. But maybe you’ll come show you work here?
You never know! One way or another I hope we bump into each other!
I love the table-eye-view photos 🙂
Great and wonderful. Next time, hows about a before and after photo of ye proprietor(ess) at table?
you got it, Glenn!
P.S. Commenter Fiona reminds me, Sarah. Have you read the works of my most beloved author Fiona MacLoud, described as a Celtic visionary and romantic of the late nineteenth century [but who carried well a most amazing secret]?
Oooh not yet, but that description will send me out looking!
Love your blog! Just wondering where you got the cardboard display racks. I could use something just like that 🙂 This size/style is just what I need.
Hi Cathy! thanks so much for reading! Here is the link: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/highimpacked
I wait eagerly for your every new blog (is that sad?) and have done so ever since the Manchester fair. Please keep it up – you always cheer me immensely.
Karen! Thank you so much for such a lovely thing to say! I have been laid up with a cold for the past two days and you have just cheered ME up. I am so glad you like the blog. Thanks again.