First day in Amsterdam.
Feeling lucky to be supported with a Travel Bursary from a-n to enable me to explore and make friends with artist-run bookstores in Amsterdam.
I’ve designed an itinerary which allows me to focus on achieving one big thing a day but also allows me to stumble across interesting things and think about new stuff – in other words discoveries that can’t be planned and manifest themselves only by getting away – a breath of fresh air.
My planned task for today was to travel here from Devon, visit artist run book store Boekie Woekie, say hello to artists Runa, Jan and Henriette who run the store and discuss an existing invitation to come to Plymouth to participate in Counter, Plymouth Art Book Fair.
Tickety the cat was staffing the shop at Boekie Woekie along with Jan. It is going to take some patience and delicate communication to find a way for Jan, Runa or Henriette to come to Plymouth. Jan will be in Iceland at the time of the event this year, attends Small Publishers Fair, followed by New York and then maybe will look to participate in another event. Jan suggested sending the cat – I like this idea!
Bought two postcards cut from cat food boxes and a copy of an easy fold giant poster/text ‘Thirty Years of Boekie Woekie, Books and More – by Artists’ from an exhibition at Nylistasafnid The Living Art Museum, Reykjavik, 2016.
Discussed returning tomorrow to spend some time mooching through artists books and multiples and finding out how artists submit books to the store.
The Art of the Shopkeeper
Spent a lot of time walking today to get bearings and stumbled across some great shops, always lured by elegant and charming shop window displays including: Typique a lovely atelier trading since 1967 selling letterpress prints and traditional stationery.
Looking in shop windows at curated objects has been helpful in absorbing and thinking about how works can be displayed to engage people. Although, at times, I felt I had fallen into a living Pinterest nightmare I thought about the significant presence of Dutch design here. I wonder how this strong design sensibility starts to be acquired – its interesting that every kindergarten appears to present delightfully idiosyncratic, colourful hand-painted scenes, bold paper cut outs and proudly share pictures of Dick Bruna’s Miffy in their windows.