Behold the happy vendor at the Independent and Small Press Bookfair over the weekend, selling her handmade books as a one-artist enterprise called Tenth Leper Press. Behold that link, to the rudimentary website where you can see and buy these books--so it must be real!
It's not the first time I've sold work at fairs, but the weekend marked a real transition into doing this as a vocation. Taking things I've designed and made in my top-floor studio in the CrazyStable and spending two days watching strangers finger them and exclaim over them and sometimes--mirabile dictu-- buy them, was a wonderful confirmation that my dream of a mid-life career change and art/business venture might indeed work out.
Spouse was a dedicated helper and tirelessly enthusiastic publicist, and Child helped set up my table with her characteristic flair. The fair itself was, as usual, an enjoyable geekfest, with a motley assortment of indie publishers ranging from the slick and respectable to the lone anarchist nut-job variety. Fellow exhibitors included veterans like Malachi McCormick of Stone Street Press (the alchemical book artist who put this whole idea in my head) and newcomer Charlotte Noruzi, whose self-published children's book Grow, Watermelon, Grow is breathtakingly beautiful and tender. (If I think about the fact that publishers snap up half-baked kiddie books by celebs but pass over treasures like this, I'll go crazy--but then, that's why there are so many crazies at indie fairs like this one.)
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to making stuff. I also want to paint the front hallway by Christmas, exchanging "Shrimp Bisque Bordello" for a peaceful cream-and-white scheme. The house is getting jealous, and trying to hypnotize me into thinking of it as a top-priority Art Project if it can get my attention no other way.
I'm not getting any younger, and I didn't want to defer this little festivity which later on I won't any longer be able to afford, already it's very difficult. . . . Even if the enormous expenses I'm incurring prevent me from finishing my picture, it's still a step forward; one must from time to time attempt things that are beyond one's capacity." --Pierre-August Renoir, letter, on painting 'Luncheon of the Boating Party'