Mini-Address Books on Etsy

I’ve had a great time coming up with a design for these mini-address books that are now for sale from my Etsy shop.  They are about the size of a cell phone and fit perfectly in your back pocket or the palm of your hand.

For you bookmakers out there; I took the already printed address book text blocks (from Paper Source), attached decorative paper end pages with a chain stitch along the spine, made mini-covers and assembled all the pieces.  Then because it would be both cute and functional I added simple button and wrap around closures.

Check ’em out: www.afainbooks.etsy.com

Opened Mini-Adress Book Detail of Address Book Pages Decorative Paper Endpages

Retro Hotpink Address Book Inside of Retro Hot Pink Blue Cloud Address Book

Address Book Spines Detail of Address Book Page

Wedding Expo

Love Birds DetailLove Birds DetailSilver Flower Decorative Paper

A big part of running your own small business is experimenting with different venues and modes for marketing your product.  For artists and crafters there are many options: craft shows, galleries, teaching, online etsy shops etc.  I started this year with one of my bigger experiments; to solidify my line of wedding books and to participate in Asheville’s Wedding Festivals Expo.

I walked through the expo last January and was well aware that, not only were there no other book makers, but that the only other “hand-craft” based business in the entire expo (besides photographers, caterers and cake makers of course) specialized in hand-built, rustic arches under which you could say your vows.

“Hmm…,”I thought, “this could be a good thing or a bad thing.”  On one hand, if you are one of many artsy vendors at an event like the Big Crafty customers expect handmade work and are able to compare you with others who do similar work.  On the other hand, if you are offering one of the only hand-crafted items in a sea of Mary Cay, Interior Design and wedding DJ booths your work will stand out that much more.  Being always open to learning along the way and despite the large expense to a small producer like myself, I decided to go for it.

The theme was LOOOOVE (of course) so my mother, who was assisting me for the day, and I dressed in red hand-sewn dresses with red tights, pink cheeks, lots of smiles and an abundance of hearts cut from snazzy decorative paper.

My Booth at the Wedding Expo Assisted by My Dear MotherRed Tulip Wedding AlbumVintage Rose Postcard Detail

The day came and went.  We talked with hundreds of brides and interested mothers, sisters and friends of brides.  Many people had questions and took my printed pamphlets of wedding book information and  business cards.  Surprisingly enough, my most immediate customer response came from photographers and wedding planners who were also showing at the expo.  All of the sudden I had to think about wholesale prices for my wedding line which is somewhat new to me.  I’ve spent the last five years doing custom work directly with customers and my retail sales are consignment agreements.

So, in conclusion, only time will tell whether the Expo was a successful business move on my part.  In the end, it’s up to me to respond to interested customers quickly, be clear about the ordering process, send out mailings to the registered bride list, make high quality work and to follow through with a pricing structure that is supportive of the bride’s budget as well as my own. Though it takes alot of time, followup marketing is where it’s at.

8x8 Medium Photo AlbumLove Bird Wedding Guest BookLove Bird Dos-a-Dos Journal

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A.Fain Books Custom Wedding Book Options:
*12×12 Large Photo Album
*8×8 Medium Photo Album
*6×8 Accordion Fold Album
*Guest Book/Memory Album
*Dos-a-Dos Love Journal
*Vow Brainstorming Journal Set
*Mini Origami Star Book

“Annie Fain’s approach to book making is unusual in that she involves her customers in the design process.  She wants to ensure that your album and guest book set is truly “yours.”  Together you’ll discuss the style or theme of your wedding and your color palette, to develop a wedding package that reflects both you and your special day.”

For Wedding Book Examples go to: Wedding Books .

Vintage Rose Postcard DetailAccordion Fold AlbumRibbon Tie of Guestbook

Book Restoration

It’s been almost a year now that I started apprenticing and working for a wonderful traditional bookbinder and restoration queen, Dea Sasso.  I have learned soooo much from her, both about books and life.  We have wonderful days in her bindery, in the basement of her home in West Asheville drinking tea, sharing dreams and, of course, buckling down to work.

Here are a few projects from the past year:

Sewing A Large Bible Back TogetherDetail of Kozo RepairRemoving End Sheets with a Lifting KnifeTissue Repaired Pages and New Endbands

Dea teaches all over the place and juggles life both in Massachusetts and Western North Carolina.  The most dependable place to find her classes in marbling, book binding, restoration and leather work is the John C. Campbell Folkschool:

Dea Sasso is a professional hand bookbinder, sole proprietor of Light of Day Bindery since 1988, and custom leather designer since 1970. She works on private collections; repairs and restores old books; and designs and creates new books, editions and miniatures. Dea has been teaching in art institutes and privately since 1991. She has an MSPH and has studied and worked for numerous nationally-known hand binders and conservators. Many of her students have gone on to start binderies of their own. She is the Folk School’s Resident Artist in Book & Paper Art, Printmaking, Marbling, & Calligraphy.

Photo Pages of a Family BibleA Bible Before RepairMachine Used for Gold StampingType for Titling

Bookbinder on Local TV

A couple of weeks ago I was approached by Ursula Gullow, producer of our local Art Seen Asheville cable tv slot, to participate in an upcoming episode. Her projects typically feature artists, musician, writers and performers of Asheville. Her theme for this project was needles and her chosen artists were a tattoo artist, a DJ and a bookbinder. Can you guess which one was me?

As you might expect I felt a little shy about diving into my first tv experience, but it was actually lots of fun (luckily my performer within kicked in and left my shy self in the dust). Ursula is herself a painter and very involved in the rich artist community here in Asheville. Her goal is to create a show that is sensitive to artists and produced in a down-to-earth style that’s meant to be engaging and informative. The result was just that.

To checkout the 8 minute “bookbinder” portion of the show:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVUjRp61kWM

*For the complete version, tattoos and all, go to:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-316171183701447997

*To find out more about Art Seen Asheville visit www.myspace.com/artseenasheville or write to [email protected]

*If you are curious about Ursula and her fabulous paintings check out www.ursulagullow.com.

Book Sewing Circles

Discussing Art and Works in Progress Over Tea and CookiesWorking on Longstitch JournalsMuch Measuring and Cutting

Our monthly Sewing Circles are a relatively new addition to our home studio gatherings and workshops. Though we are sewing books the idea is similar in sentiment to a bunch of ladies gathering around to hand-stitch a quilt (of course men are invited too). We typically meet in my home studio the first Monday evening of each month from 5:30 to whenever. The intention of these book socials are:

#1. to provide special time set aside to complete unfinished and/or anxiety ridden projects in good company

#2. for former students to continue their development in bookarts without having to pay for yet another class

#3 to have show-and-tell; share your current work and be inspired by the work of your peers

#4. a chance for problem solving and sewing assistance from Annie Fain or anyone present

#5. to stockup on materials (waxed linen, text paper, bookbinders glue)

#6. in a nut shell, to provide a gathering space for budding and advanced book artists alike and to continue to strengthen our arts community simply by getting together on a regular basis

Best of all, we always have tea and treats! Feel free to come by if you are a book artist who has happened upon this website and/or visiting Asheville from somewhere else.

Email me with any questions: [email protected]