Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book Arts Classes

Upcoming Book Arts classes:

June 5th, Tape Bound Book at the CUAC in Ephraim, UT
June 12th, Coptic Stitch Book at the CUAC in Ephraim, UT
June 19th, Longstitch Book at Provo Art and Frame in Provo, UT
July 10th, Coptic Stitch Book at Provo Art and Frame in Provo, UT

You can check out my classes page in the links above for specific class info. To sign up for the Provo classes just email me at KarleighJae@yahoo.com and ask me to add you to the list. For the Ephraim classes please contact the CUAC.

Book Arts Collaborative Project

So I've had to take a break from Tuesday posts because I'm swamped with preparing massive amounts of books for a Festival this weekend. BUT, I thought I'd take a break and give everyone a glimpse at the Collaborative Book Arts Project that members of BEST have been working on.

There are about 20 participants and each participant was asked to create a page for a book based on the book's theme. There are four books that will be bound and sent to a gallery for display and purchase. The theme of each book is a poem written by one of the members of BEST. Each group has 5 or 6 people in it and each person made a page for every member of the group as well as an extra for the gallery piece.

I'll be showing the pages of the books throughout the next month so you can see all the amazing creativeness that BEST members put out!

Today I'll spotlight 3 pages that were based on this poem:

by Jennifer Borges Foster
For you she builds a house of spices and sleigh beds,
of anise and armrests, of typewriters happily clacking
their teeth at the blowsy dawn. She builds boxes and ladders,
kneelers and coffins, stocks hardtack and swatches of cloth.
There is a history of horses and husbandry here,
a history of holiness and excess, of morning and mourning,
of days that never wake. For you she builds a body, a list
from hip to waist, a weight in breasts best set to anchor
the architecture of your mouth. On leaving she
lives in a biscuit, peeking through the gnawed-out windows
at the robins who dumbly clutter her roof.
She is vaulted and volleyed by the long-armed god
of her father; holed up and hoping you’ll come rob
the stockpile she’s been hoarding for years. Her letters to
you are written in steam, apparent only on nights
when the windows drift open. For you she builds a house
of hallways, one easy to wander when she is gone.


   Prints by Tim Fredrick

Mixed media pages by Kristi Oliver

Mixed Media Pages by Jennifer Borges Foster
"Each signature is slightly different -scraps of fabric were sewn on to cotton paper, then I cut out a bird shape on the cover. Each bird has handwritten pages from an old (1898) botany book or fragments from an equally old map. Inside the signature there is a hand-printed erasure of my original poem Husbandry.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Every week, Emily from SUBU, INC. has Wordsmith Wednesday. The blog viewers are asked to leave a word and she picks one of the words to be used on the recycled notebooks in her etsy shop. 

This week she chose the theme of New York.

The word I suggested:


A straphanger is a commuter who uses public transportation. Hooray for me!! She sends the winner of Wordsmith Wednesday a notebook with the word on it that she hand-makes. I'm excited to get a prize in the mail!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Selling Your Handmade Books: Craft Fair Tips

I just realized it was Tuesday and my post hasn't been written! I do have an awesome excuse though. We're preparing massive amounts of books for a booth at a local festival. This goes right along with last week's post and this week's post. I'll actually extend the craft fair posts for one more week and we'll show you some excellent to-dos and displays next week with a few guests. For this week, you get my top five "I-almost-forgot-about-that"tips.

#1- Make a checklist of things to take and stick to it! Don't say "I won't really need that ducktape" at the last moment. You'll end up needing it. For an extensive (almost overwhelming) fabulous list, check out this one written by Susan West. If you have a checklist, you probably won't have any "I-almost-forgot-about-that" moments.

#2- Figure out taxes before you show up at the craft fair. Some places require that you have a tax number and other's just require you to fill out a form while there and mail in the sales tax. This is not something to push aside until the last minute. You need to decide if you'll show the taxes on the price tags or if you'll need a sign stating how much tax is or a sign letting your customers know that taxes are already included in the prices. Here in Utah, I have to send in the sales tax within 10 days after the event. Don't forget to write out the check for it and send it in or you could be fined! The person in charge of the event will have tax information and a form for you to fill out.

#3- Everything you do at the craft fair will represent your business and your craft. Was your email list a last minute handwritten thought thrown out on notebook paper? What will this say about your books? You don't need to go overboard with a large 10" x 10" x 5" thick sign-in/email list book with a fancy feather pen on it's own separate table, but at least make things look nice and not just an afterthought. For my own booth, this has been my ideal which has room for a date, name, email address and comments: 

#4- Customer service might not be on your checklist, so don't forget it! Don't go to the show and just sit behind the table. Don't bring a book to read. Don't stare at the floor while customers walk by. The best things you can do for your business is to be actively involved in it. Hand out your business cards, talk with your neighbors and tell them about bookbinding and how you do it. As people walk by, they'll hear you talking and find interest in your products. Sew a book while you're there. People love to see the process of things and it will draw people in. Smile at people as they walk by, maybe even ask them a question "Have you found anything wonderful yet?" and you can even promote the products of the person next to you and you'll find that they'll probably promote your stuff as well. At one particular craft fair last Autumn, my best customers were the other vendors. Get to know them and they might not only become a fan of your books, but they could be a great source for future shows and advice as well as a potential customer. Don't let good customer service (which is really just being a sincerely friendly person) become an afterthought as well.

#5- Take a day off! Plan to do nothing on the day after the event. Nothing at all. You'll need that time to regain energy and creative motivation! You'll also need to set aside a day to organize all inventory and craft fair items for your next event. You'll probably spend days and days leading up to the event working on making books or creating displays or gathering everything on your checklist. It's a lot of work and you'll need that day afterward to just relax.

Share your craft fair tips in the comments!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Selling Your Handmade Books: A Craft Fair Detour

Well, it's Tuesday again. Hooray! Right?

So, I've slacked off and haven't prepared anything so here goes....

I have been thinking about craft fairs, as that season seems to be upon us and I know that some of you have never ventured into the craft fair world and some of you are experts at this point. BEST members have had some great discussion going on about craft fairs and I thought I'd add a bit to it. So...this is the first in a two part series on craft fairs before we get back to selling in our Etsy shops.

I know several people who make their living from summertime craft fairs. It seems so ideal to me: Spend 9 months at home making things to sell and then spend 3 months traveling from craft fair to craft fair selling your wares. Do what you love, travel, meet new people, see new places and get paid for it!

Well, I quickly found out that the craft fair world is quite different than selling anywhere else. It takes a lot of preparation and research. So...today, I'm giving you tips and resources for selling your handmade goods in the craft fair market and next week I'll be back with more tidbits on craft fairs.

From my own craft fair experience, I would suggest one thing to a beginner and I'm sure all the festival veterans will agree: Do not base your opinion of craft festivals on one simple craft fair. In order to really get a taste of it and how you might do, it's probably best to do several and see what works for you and your products.

Having a calendar full of craft fairs can really boost your business. I know that I would not have been prepared for my awesome Etsy shop sells in December if I had not prepared with inventory for craft fairs in the Autumn.

So how do you even find a craft fair to go to?

Here are 5 Ways to find craft fairs:

1- Online Event Lists

http://festivalnet.com - United States Craft Fairs by location. It costs money, BUT if you come across a site like this that has the title/location of the event, you can google it to find the actual site of the event and learn more about it. It takes more time on your part to do a google search but it's FREE!
Click here to see an Etsy Forum Post with a ton of craft fair list options written by CrookedSister.
Clockworkfantastica of Etsy also started a craft fair list for Canada. Make sure to read through the post for more and add your own if you know of one!

2- Craigslist.org has events for your part of the world. Check them out for local craft and art fairs.

Another thing to look for is events that aren't really marketed as arts and craft festivals but maybe some other big event. In my little corner of the world we have rodeos, a city festival and a cowboy poetry weekend. All these events offer booth space (and what better place to sell a rustic leather journal than a cowboy poetry festival?)

3- Check your local newspaper, radio and television websites. They often have calendars of events in your area.

4- You can also check with your city/county/state travel and business bureaus. They have a super long list!

5- And the best way to find great craft fairs? Talk to other artists. Ask around and find someone who has done a few and can let you in on the ones that would be great for your products, and the craft fairs you should avoid.

I've found the festivals I want to show my books at. Now what?

Now find out if you can make enough inventory for that particular show. So, how many books do you really need to create to sell at the event? A lot. I've talked with a few people who run festivals and I've gotten feedback on at least $5,000 - $10,000 in products. If your book prices are around $25 then you'd need at least 200 books. Remember that this is not a must do but rather a recommendation for selling your best.

Have you ever seen one of those stores that has only 3 dresses in it and the whole store space is completely empty besides those three dresses? I've seen jewelry stores like this too with only one small case. I never-ever go into them or if I did, I probably wouldn't buy anything. To really draw people in, you want a variety of items for the customer to choose from. People like to browse, explore and make great finds. Allowing someone to find that perfect journal from your large inventory of books will ensure a happy customer that will walk away with a great purchase that they "found".

I use baskets on my tables, they're great for traveling as I can have them set up in the baskets and just place the basket on the table for people to sort through. We'll talk more about displays next week but for now, try and understand that if you don't have enough inventory to fill your booth space, you probably should not sign up for the craft fair. Instead, keep working on inventory so a future craft fair will go better for you.

Does 200 books seem a little daunting? You might want to start out with a small local craft fair and work on your inventory. Maybe only one large craft fair a year or every other year would suit you.

Even if you do smaller craft fairs though, try and remember to stalk your space as much as you possibly can. Don't expect to walk away with $2000 dollars in profits when your table only has $200 of inventory.

These are $20 Journals and I can fit about 36 in this basket which is $720 worth.

When you sign up for a craft show, you might want to ask the event coordinator how much inventory you should bring. A good rule of thumb is to bring more than you have display space for, even just an extra little basket of books that sits under the table is great. This can be used to fill the spaces in when books sell.

In part two, next week we'll talk about Craft fair to-do and do-nots with a few special guests!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Collaborative Book Art Project

I've organized a collaborative book art project with fellow BEST (Bookbinding Etsy Street Team) members. There will be four books and I'll talk more about that on another day. Each group has a poem as their theme (written by a member of the group) and the first group's poem is by Lisa Asanuma. 

Desert lizards


Birds land on the back of an oil rig
hitching a ride
like it's any other dinosaur.
The up-down-movement doesn't bother them
but they don't know just yet
that they're not getting anywhere.


Its skeleton lay stretched across a strip of railroad
like a great lizard basking in the sun
and we could see clean through its bones
'Canada Pacific' and '
Union Pacific' and 'Pacific Southwest'
tattooed on what's left of its skin.


At night their eyes glow red and yellow
depending on the direction
and they're full of lonely people
desert-tired and far from home.

So, on Saturday I received a lovely prize in the mail :)

It's the first pages of about 20 that will be sent to me. It came from Duane of Surfbunny who is in group one. I absolutely love it! It's handmade lemon grass green paper! It was packaged so nicely as well as each page was individually wrapped in a clear sleeve with a typed page about the process of making the lemon grass along with information about the art piece itself and it has a business card with each page as well. Beautifully done!

 This is the view of the front and backside all spread out. You can see the beautiful natural deckle of the handmade paper.

This one is the backside of the folio and you can see the colophon was letterpressed. Love it!

This next photo is of the inside pages. The words were done with antique wood type. I think this is my favorite part as it really captures the feel of an abandoned train in the desert.

And of course the birds on the front cover. They were printed with photo polymer plates.

I look forward to get more prizes in the mail and plan on showing them off to you as they come in!