Maddy Hearn and Paul Hearn are the enthusiastic and energetic duo of artists behind Pineapple Falls, Wonderful Grotto and, in collaboration with Vickie Fear, Counter: Plymouth Art Book Fair.

The Counter team describe themselves as ‘keeners, fans, and D.I.Y. enthusiasts’, but as artists they also recognise the challenges of presenting and selling experimental bookworks, and as such think of creative ways to make that happen.

As the Counter manifesto states: “We welcome artists that are already comfortable at a book fair but we also want to find radical work being made on the kitchen table and create a possible outlet.”

This empathy for artists on the peripheries is what makes the events they organise so brilliant. The Hearns’ practices have crossovers and individuality; source materials may include ‘chocolate wrappers, paper bags, plastic brioche, potato bags, Christmas cracker contents, the offcuts left when you cut things out’. Maddy is the only artist I have heard describe part of her practice as making ‘collage salads’ – and they are beautiful ‘salads’.

Earlier this year, Maddy spent time in Amsterdam researching artist-run bookstores on an a-n international Travel Bursary. Her experience fed into Pineapple Falls’ sharing of other artists’ books and zines with the wider public through pop-up events and exhibitions.

After a five-month stint of Temporary Shop’ at Plymouth City Market, Pineapple Falls launched ‘Wonderful Grotto’, bringing artists’ books and zines to the public in new spaces. They also presented a ‘Making a Zine, Typing Pool Party’ at The Cavern (a live music venue in Exeter) in collaboration with Spacex Gallery, as well as a curated table of books by artists at Drift Records in Totnes for the Sea Change Festival in August.

Showing books at music venues is a natural connection: “We’re comfortable falling into music contexts as we feel an immediacy and solidarity in pop music; the artists’ books we share here connect with people in similar ways.”

This upcoming Counter is its third outing, with 41 exhibitors from the South West and beyond selling books and swapping stories in the friendly, experimental, yet relaxed environment that makes Counter such a special day out for attendees and visitors.

Counter, Plymouth Art Book Fair, 12-6pm, Saturday 29 October 2016, 12-6pm, Main Hall of the Davy Building at Plymouth University.
The Launch Party with DJ set from Drift Records, 7-10pm, Friday 28 October 7-10pm. #Counter2016

1. Ladies of the Press* meet Keiken Collective at Counter 2015. Photo: Maddy Hearn
2. Wonderful Grotto Pop-up Shop in collaboration with Spacex at the Cavern, Exeter, Nov-Dec 2015. Photo: Pineapple Falls
3. Salad collage packs of hand-cut, found images by Maddy Hearn. Photo: Pineapple Falls
4. Front and external views of window feature in: Something Else, ‘Pineapple Falls Test Space & show of papery things’ at Artspace 57, which featured the launch of the bookwork Schlagmetal. Photo: Pineapple Falls

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