Me, answering questions at the Tatlin Books table, BABE 2019. Photo by Sophie Cunningham Dawe.

If you are reading this blog, you are probably a bibliophile. And by bibliophile, I mean not just someone who loves books for the stories and information they contain, but someone who loves books as objects. For me, there is nothing so magical as a beautiful, well-made book! In this age of digital devices, when we spend so much time on our phones and our laptops, being able to unplug and enjoy books as art objects is a real treat.

Two weekends ago (March 30th and 31st), I attended the Bristol Artists Book Event (BABE) with my husband Mark, who is a poet, painter, and printmaker. Mark collaborates with the legendary book artist and printer Walter Tisdale, publisher of Tatlin Books in Bangor, Maine. They don’t do a lot of shows, but at BABE, they displayed some of their amazing output.

Display for Mark Rutter, Tatlin Books, and Sophie Cunningham Dawe, Flatten Press. Photo by Sophie Cunningham Dawe.

BABE takes place every two years at the Arnolfini. This year, more than 80 bookmakers and small press publishers from around the world took part. Such a variety of books, broadsides, and paper sculptures–it was amazing and invigorating.

If you are in Bristol for their 2021 event, definitely go. (We will be there!) There is something for everyone at BABE, whether you want hand-printed, hand-bound books, political broadsides, interesting cards, or even a weird and wonderful tarot deck. Here is a link to this year’s event: https://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/babe-at-arnolfini-2019. See you there in 2021!