We {Heart} Books: Codex Book Fair 2013

Another Codex International Book Fair swept into the San Francisco Bay Area, this time in its new digs at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California. I saw many treasures and talked to many treasured book arts folk and friends. I spent about 5 1/2 hours there over two days and still missed a few people and books I had wanted to see. Here are some highlights.

Welcome to Codex, the International Book Fair
This year there were 175 exhibitors.

Inge Bruggeman (INK-A! Press) is a regular at Codex.
She's showing a book from a residency in Marseille, France,
called The Infinite Between Us that "maps the space
between the known and the unknown."

Robbin Ami Silverberg is holding a new book about mapping
her neighborhood, particularly the subway in Brooklyn, called Subterranean Geography.
Self Scrutiny, made with altered card catalogue cards, 
is the little green box on the left.
Robbin also featured a handsome book about snow for which she made
paper with silk in it and enclosed a custom scent in the box with the book.
"This is it." She held her wrist up for me to sniff.

Casey Gardner (Set In Motion Press) was a
bookmaking student of mine 
(and of Betsy Davids and of Nance O'Banion) at CCA.
Her latest work, HearSay is a collaboration with 
Nance O'Banion. (I believe that is Oona Lyons, another
CCA graphic design alum, next to Casey.)

Macy Chadwick (In Cahoots Press) is pointing (my request) to her latest works: 
The latter explores her experience listening to Moby Dick as an audio book
and features a collaboration with Jennifer McKnight.

Two Johns, it turns out. John DeMerritt is on the right;
he is the boxmaker for the stars. I got a quick tutorial from him
one day which changed how I made and taught boxmaking.
Thank you, John!
John Wehrle, in the hat, is an artist and muralist whose work
is well known in California, although he is originally from Texas.

Julie Chen (Flying Fish Press) is explaining why 
I probably should not take her picture.
Top book next to the blue sign is a collaboration with Barb Tetenbaum
called Glimpse, about narrative, and the lives we live 
in the space between "prominent events."
The little dark book in the silver box is 
Memento (and can be worn as a necklace),
and was created for the Al-Mutanabbi Street book project.

My longtime book arts friends, Marie Dern (Jungle Garden Press)
and Steve Woodall. (He was formerly at the San Francisco Center for the Book,
now directs the  program at 
This is Marie's table. 
Check out that tree knitted from paper by her friend
Danielle Giudici Wallis for their collaborative book Crow,
a found poem taken from a posted sign.

I bought a few things while I was there. First, the notorious Book Arts Jargonator from Dan Mayer & Ed Lebow (a photo is in Making Handmade Books). Amusing title possibilities like: Harmoniously Minisculed Dingbat; Oblique Bohemian Wormhole; Organically Inclined Hairline. It is printed letterpress from photopolymer plates. (I only now realized that MayBow is a combined word from their last names.)

Next, a very nice Frenchman at the Editions Al Manar showed me the lovely drawings by Diane de Bournazel. The unique books were meticulously drawn, painted, and had cutouts, truly breathtaking. This is a printed one with no color. It also has no text inside, other than the title "La Promenade." I do not know why the text on the front and back cover is in German. When I said, "That's all?" regarding the price, he suggested that he could add another zero. 

Bryan Kring's work is so detailed and so humorous and so well-crafted. I could go on. A book arts friend Mitsuko Baum works for him and was presiding over his table. His paper sculptures were delightful, particularly "Flying Fish" and his newest piece with the flying egg and printed text on the reverse. According to his website, the sculptural pieces will be in a show at the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, March 3-May 19, 2013. Sunken Heart is letterpress printed from photopolymer plates.

The introductory text talks about cargo from ships that gets lost at sea every year.
There is quite a bit of stuff floating around out there.

And last, and at long last, I obtained a soul piece of Judith Serebrin's from the Seager Gray Gallery. A little ceramic bird with a little painted book soul.

So, there it is.
Happy Valentine's Day, Book Lovers!


Amanda said…
Thanks for this post Alissa. Being far away in Australia it is much appreciated. So good to see a little detail, rather than a broad shot of multiple tables.
As a former ceramicist, I am a great admirer of Judith Serebrin's works, and I can see why this one spoke to you. Lovely!
Alisa said…
In 2012 there was the first Codex Australia:

And a Codex Mexico (website in Spanish):

If it continues on the every other year cycle that the Codex here does, perhaps there will be others in 2014. Check their website periodically, and I'll try to keep you posted here, too.