Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 April 2017 sees the sixth Bristol Artists’ Book Event (BABE), of which I’m a co-organiser. Taking place at Arnolfini as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of this biennial event, the artist Stephen Fowler is creating a ‘BABE Passport Scheme’ for visitors to the fair.

Fowler is well known for his artist’s books and printmaking practice, and is also the author of the brilliant Rubber Stamping book recently published by Laurence King.

Fowler offered to create the passport scheme due to his passion for making and collecting rubber stamp art, and it’s particularly inspired by the Japanese craze for souvenir Eki stamps that are collected at train stations, temples and museums.

In Japan, travellers get their books stamped at each place they visit as a memento of their trip, and Fowler plans the same for BABE.

A passport control office will be installed in Arnolfini’s foyer, and the first 50 visitors each day will be able to claim their free passport and visit participating stands around the fair to collect commemorative stamps by artists.

Participants include Mark Pawson, who will perhaps stamp passports with something from his book All My Rubberstamps, which features 250 stamps accumulated over 25 years.

Bristol-based artist and illustrator Corinne Welch will also have her rubber stamps at the ready while Imi Maufe will arrive with her stamp from Norway.

Johan Deumens Gallery will bring stamps from Amsterdam, specially made for the occasion by gallery artists Annesas Appel and Vibeke Mascini. On UWE Bristol’s Impact Press stand we will have some of our stamps from the Serena Joy World Book Night project.

The weekend will also see the Double Daggers in residence with live printing on their Farley press and a rubber stamp design at the ready for visitors’ passports.

Nancy Campbell’s Polar Tombola will join the passport scheme on the Sunday with the launch of the Polar Tombola anthology.

With Richard Roberts, Old Bear Press, Café Royal Books, Antic-Ham, Redfoxpress, David Faithfull, Mireille Fauchon, Hazard Press and many other exhibitors participating in the scheme, visitors’ passports should be full to the brim with artists’ stamps each day.

Bristol Artists’ Book Event 2017, Saturday 1 April 11am-6pm; Sunday 2 April 11am-5pm, free entry, Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA.

1. Stephen Fowler, Pigeon Post, sheet of rubber stamp printed, perforated ‘artistamps’. Photo: Stephen Fowler
2. Rubber Stamping: Get Creative with Stamps, Rollers and Other Printmaking Techniques, Stephen Fowler, published by Laurence King. Photo: Stephen Fowler
3. Page detail from All My Rubberstamps, Mark Pawson. Photo: Mark Pawson
4. Rubber stamp designs by Corinne Welch. Photo: Corinne Welch
5. Serena Joy, collaborative rubber stamp bookwork for World Book Night. Photo: Sarah Bodman

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