Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lit Fest Roundup

This past weekend was the Printer's Row Lit Fest (formerly the Book Fair, and let's be fair, it is still all about the books!) We were there for the opening bell, and it did not disappoint. There seemed to be more vendors than last year, and, good news for the economy, people appeared to be buying lots of books. This event is all about the thrill of the hunt, so here are a few of the items I found in my quest for cool.

A 1934 booklet on Block Printing with Linoleum, that begins ..."Linoleum block printing is comparatively new, starting with the discovery of linoleum ......" All of the illustrations inside are block prints, including the ones with text, and are quite charming. A few weeks back, I had found a book of John DePol's wood block prints, so I can see where the next collection of resource books might be headed. 

My favorite find of the day was a collection of 12 stencils from the 1893 World's Fair Expo in Chicago, depicting the various buildings at the fair in great detail. They are about 8" wide by 4" tall and are in excellent condition, still in their original container. When I took them out at home to examine them more closely, there was a nice little stash of stencil drawings at the bottom of the box. I'm happy the stencils had some use in their original life; the drawings are signed with children's handwriting. I do believe I feel a "Devil in the White City" artist book coming on! (If you haven't read Eric Larsen's book of this title, it is a great summer read.)

And, there was a wedding at Lit Fest, for a couple that met there two years ago. The wedding programs were bookmarks; the bridal party's flowers were origami blossoms made from old book pages, the bridesmaids carried Japanese paper parasols, and the groom's boutonniere was made from a copy of a Kipling poem that was the favorite of his deceased father. Apparently our invitation went astray, but we did read about it in the Tribune

We attended a talk with Elmore Leonard, an author who still actually writes all his manuscripts in longhand and does not own a computer. He once owned a Royal manual typewriter, but quickly discarded it when it didn't cooperate with his typing style. He doesn't do email; he has a website which he has never visited (he has people), and in general has no use for computer technology. Amazing!

The rain cut our visit to Lit Fest a little short, but the weekend was long on fun. We had Mary Beth Shaw and her husband, John as our house guests this weekend. Mary Beth was showing her work at the 57th Street Art Fair, and we got to spend a little time together before we went off to our respective events. I also missed Mike Meador's annual warehouse sale (in Indianapolis) and all my buds who went to that event .... can we please get these calendars coordinated so I can do it all?


  1. Pam, I didn't know you knew Mary Beth. She is a delight and her art is wonderful. It is a small world.

  2. Pam, which suburb are you in? I live in Naperville. You have the scoop on all the fun stuff. I wish I would have gone to the lit fest. I didn't know anything about it.