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Some photos from the fair!
These are mostly pics of new friends/other vendors. In the next day or so, I’ll post additional photos of interesting books and other funny things I saw at the fair…

Mari Yano's "Mizuisu"

Mari Yano

This was one of my favorite projects, and I know exactly why. Mari’s book “Mizuisu” captures the process of a book in transition, and is all mixed media textures and organic color. I bought the offset printed book the moment I saw it; on days two and three, she had the actual books at the fair. Thick with paint and ink and texture, they are some of the best altered books I’ve seen. And that’s saying alot.

Anna Gleeson

Anna Gleeson

“Goodbye Shoes” by Anna Gleeson is an artists’ book that nearly every girl can identify with. Six different pairs of shoes, six different scenarios…the book is gocco printed and delicious. It’s in the same vein as Sue King’s “Redressing the Sixties” and is utterly charming.

the many zines of Invisible School

the many zines of Invisible School

These guys kept me laughing all weekend long, mostly because they were so serious about not taking themselves seriously. They also had a posse that hung out in our corner of the room, providing instant rockstar status…

Mon Mon Press -- one of my faves!

Mon Mon Press -- one of my faves!

Another one of my faves. I purchased “Haru no Okurimon (“Gifts of Spring”) for the charming silkscreen illustrations and story (it’s about Mon Mon’s pup!). I also picked up a totebag, and it has become my new “can’t live without” accessory, since the weather is too hot for an actual purse…

Alex of A/B Books

Alex of A/B Books

Alex Buhler creates beautiful things; I want everyone to know that. He’s also a great guy to spend a weekend with. Swiss-born, he has spent the last year living in Tokyo and has recently completed the CCA Research Program in Kitakyushu, Japan.

close up of some zines by Rain or Shine Press

close up of some zines by Rain or Shine Press

You know what I love? Anything that incorporates maps and old papers. (that’s really no secret to anyone who reads this blog…) So when I saw that Aya of Rain or Shine Books had a zine that incorporated both of these things into one zine, I knew the weekend was going to be just fine!

Aya of Rain or Shine Press

Aya of Rain or Shine Press

Aya saved me a couple of times over the weekend, providing necessary on-the-fly Japanese verbage when my language skills couldn’t rise to the challenge. For this, I thank her!

Himaa-san...

Himaa-san...

Himaa was a big favorite at the fair, and somehow always managed to be smiling. What was his secret? He also left our section of the room in awe because he would arrive fresh in the morning with a new project that he had concocted out of thin air the night before.

So, postal people, those are the folks I’ve spent the last three and a half days with. There’s alot to be said for hanging out with a group of people in an extremely hot room, selling zines for three or four hundred yen; it builds a sense of camaraderie and community. Sure, I could’ve gone to the fair as a spectator, but it wouldn’t have been the same. At the end of the day, I’m glad I’m sitting on the vending side of the table.
–JH

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Quickly, quickly, quickly: this will be a fast post for you, dear correspondents. I’ve gotta make it swift (you know, like “USPS overnight mail” kind of fast…) because A) I’m typing this in the hotel lobby and B) my laptop battery’s about to run out of juice. Why am I in the hotel lobby? It’s a long story that I’ll explain later.

For now, some eye candy:

What's my name again?

What's my name again?

Yep. That's a school desk.

Yep. That's a school desk.

Hey look! It's Red Letter Day!

Hey look! It's Red Letter Day!

Zines on display, vertical

Zines on display, vertical

zines on display, horizontal

zines on display, horizontal

Alright. Discuss amongst yourselves, ask questions galore. I’m ready to answer ’em! The next post will feature some of the artists I’ve been meeting, as well as their work.
–JH

PS: did I mention it’s humid here? Yes. Yes, it is.

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the "good old days" of mail art...

the "good old days" of mail art...

Correspondents near and far: I have a secret to confess to you.
There’s something that I haven’t told you yet, something I’ve been hiding.

I didn’t want to mention it just yet, because I wanted to have a Really Great Surprise for you, something that would be like Christmas and Easter and fireworks on the fourth of July, all rolled up into one fun and sparkletastic/noisy package. I feel like we’ve come to a point in our relationship where I can be honest with you, and let you in on this secret.

Ready?
I’m pretty excited about it.

You see, next week I’m going to be out of town, taking part in (what I hope will be) a fun event. It’s something I heard about way back in 2009 (was it really only last year?!), one of those sorts of things that you say to yourself “I’m going to DO that next time — no excuses!”. The event in question? An artist book/zine fair.

Now that in and of itself is not surprising. I’ve done plenty of vendor fairs in my time: whether it was selling vintage clothing in historic venues or working the Alternative Press Expo as part of Pod Post, I’m no stranger to standing behind a table and talking up “the work”. However this fair will be a little different, a little bit more exotic, so to speak.

By this time next week, I’ll be in -wait for it- Tokyo!!!
look at all the magic happening!

look at all the magic happening!

That’s right. I’m taking part in the Tokyo Artist Book Fair. Imagine if you will: one hundred plus zinesters and book artists gathered together for 4 days, in the same place! I have all sorts of questions that I’m dying to find the answers to: what do Japanese zinesters write about? What sorts of artists books are being made in a place where the artform is still relatively undiscovered? And it’s true: letterpress printing is starting to catch on like wildfire in Japan. Will I see some evidence of this? What is the overall vibe like, at the fair? Will it be similar or different to the DIY and handmade aesthetic which reign supreme at American events like Renegade Craft Fair and the SF Zinefest?

That being said, I’ve been spending the last month and a half putting together paper-y yum yums and mail art tasties, as well as a new zine and reprints of “Red Letter Day” issues 1-3. What follows is photographic evidence of some of the items I’m squeezing into the suitcase, in between typing this entry and waiting for PVA glue to dry…
like Christmas in July, dont'cha think?
like Christmas in July, dont’cha think?
old machines and new perfs!

old machines and new perfs!

I’ve been spending plenty of time over at the SF Center for the Book, using their Rossbach perforating machine to put together these mail art seals. If you’re interested, I’ll be teaching folks how to use this baby, as part of my mail art class in August
delicious! x3...

delicious! x3...

My kitchen table leads a double life. During the day, it serves as a workbench — completely covered with all manner of creative detritus and spilling over with ephermeric bits-n-bobs. At night, it turns back into a kitchen table. Dinner is consumed, conversation is had. Sometimes wine is spilled. But (hopefully) not on the in-progress projects. In the morning, brownie sprites have put everything back in order, and the whole cycle starts over again.
would you be able to send this postcard out into the world?

would you be able to send this postcard out into the world?

Examples of some postcards I’ll be selling individually. I made 60 of these puppies, each one different in it’s own postal way — like an edition of something, but different…
...or this one?

...or this one?

What else is there? Well, some postcard sets. Some sheets of faux postage (Ray Johnson and Mr. Zip). A few — no quite a few — blank journals which use cool papers (ledger sheets/gambling forms/raffle tickets/gocco’d etcs.). I’ll be taking my series of prints titled “Dead Letter Office”. And of course, the new zine.

Ahhh…the new zine.

Because I am so excited about that particular project, I’ll save the details for tomorrow’s post!

You see, I’ve got to keep a few secrets — it gives us all something to look forward to, no? So tomorrow, I’ll regale you with more fabulous photos and tasty bits on the creation of “Waiting/待っています” — ooops!: I let part of the secret slip. You have a title, and soon you’ll have a cover to put with that title!

Signing off for now, and heading to the PO —
–JH

PS: I will (of course) be blogging as much as I can while I’m in Tokyo; I want to keep you in the loop! But to be perfectly honest, I’ll be sending out twitter messages a bit more frequently, so if you want up-to-date, instantaneous info, be sure to keep track of me via @redletterzine!

PPS: to all of you who wrote in to me (both virtually and in-person) about the “Junk Mail” show — thanks so much! I heard word this morning that each and every single piece I created for the show was SOLD! (guess that makes me a sell out: heh heh heh…) I’m thrilled, and couldn’t have done it without your support. And guess what? I have plenty more envelopes to create with, so I bet (wink wink) there will be some more security panels in the near future…

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