Small Publishers Fair @ Conway Hall, Holborn

After work this evening Jo & I popped into Conway Hall in Holborn for the Small Publishers Fair. Barrie and Philippa (our tutors from Lincoln Uni) a.k.a The Caseroom Press had a stall with some of their lovely work and of course, we wanted to show our support:


‘To thine own self be true.’ – a lovely little message looking over the hall! The retro style hall was packed with stalls and people discussing books of all shapes and sizes.

First things first, we headed straight to find Barrie & Philippa:


It was lovely to see them both and briefly catch up. They’re running the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course at Lincoln now – the students are in safe hands!

I then bumped into Soof who I hadn’t seen since she started her Masters in book design at Reading. Now that she is on her way to becoming a Master of books, I took her with me to explore and find our favourite pieces of work:

At first I read this as ‘a book of tears’ like as in sad tears/crying/water coming from your eyes, but then when we opened it…



… it all made sense. A nice minimalistic idea by Julie Johnstone of Essence Press.

My letterpress appetite was kept happy by The Caseroom Press’ new ‘Stop Start’ Manifesto (of course!) I discovered a few other artists using lovely letterpress:


These characters by Ambeck design remind me of that time that Barrie’s circus came to Lincoln when I was in the 3rd year of my degree!

Ever heard that joke ‘What is black and white and red all over? A newspaper!’ Well, how lovely are these prints by Tom Paine? Keeping it simple in just black and red ink is bold and classic. And ampersands too – yay!

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The range of pieces on show was great with literature books, prints, paintings, postcards, artist books in weird and wonderful formats, and also pop-up books!

Soof & I spent a little while appreciating John.D.Kilburn’s ‘The Golden Plaice’ which is probably the most elaborate and detailed pop up book I’ve seen – it is beautiful (and costs £500 per copy as they are all handmade)!

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A simpler pop up, but very striking design – Do you know the way to San Jose? from Atlantic Press.

These graphic style American signage pages by Red Fox Press really caught my eye…



… as did a lovely way to recycle/ refresh old postcards – reduce, reuse, repair, recycle! (Sorry, forgot to write the name down for the artist this belongs to – please email me if you know)

X Marks the Bokship had some striking book covers on display and look, that one’s got triangles on it!


Unfortunately the atmosphere was spoilt when a woman basically told me off, saying that ‘it was rude to take photos without asking’ in a condescending tone. I don’t know what she thought I was going to do with the photos, but obviously she’s not read my blog and seen that I like to post and share nice work. Her loss! Other than that lady’s bad attitude, I thought it was a lovely little fair and seeing all of these handcrafted pieces made me want to get more hands on again because I’ve not really done anything ‘creative’ for a while – at work it is mainly digital stuff and by the time I get home I’m too tired to do anything crafty really.

Tomorrow (Saturday 15th November 2014) there is a full line up of talks, performances and book launches so you should definitely pop in to get involved if you liked what I’ve shown in this post. And at 1.30pm Barrie Tullett will be talking about ‘The Typewriter and The Book’ – Barrie’s talks are legendary and his book is brilliant so this is not to be missed (I wish I could go!).

The fair is open 11am to 7pm at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square in London (WC1R 4RL) so schedule it into your saturday! For more info and updates check out the website or follow @SmallPublishers on twitter.

What is your favourite piece that I’ve posted? Or maybe you visited the fair yourself and discovered something else that was lovely? Let me know if you visit and don’t forget to say hi to Philippa and Barrie!



P.S. If you love my blog please vote for Graphique Fantastique as ‘Best Arts & Culture Blog’ in the UK Blog Awards 2015!


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© Natasha Nuttall | January 2022

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