Hungarian textile innovation laboratory EJTech won the first prize of the “Textile Structures for New Building” competition by Frankfurt am Main-based Techtextil 2015. The winning work, Chromosonic is based on a 2013 graduation project by MOME alumna Eszter Judit Kárpáti, who since than formed EJTech with partner Esteban de la Torre. We asked the two designers to give an overview on their experiences.
Techtextil and Texprocess 2015 have proven to be the undisputed epicentre for innovation in high-tech fabrics, smart textiles, new materials and processing technologies. Over 1400 exhibitors from 48 countries presented their innovations to the 29,000 visitors over the span of 4 days in Messe Frankfurt. Techtextil, focused on the today and tomorrow of technical textiles and revealed such integrated technologies are really peaking. The serious wealth of innovative products set out to boost fields such as aerospace industry, medicine, automaking, wearables and particularly the architecture segments is stunning. It is segmented into twelve areas: Agrotech, Buildtech, Clothtech, Geotech, Hometech, Indutech, Medtech, Mobiltech, Oekotech, Packtech, Protech and Sporttech. A definite highlight was the yarns, threads, and other conductive fabrics designed to transmit data and electricity, ever engaging, with stronger momentum than ever for future trends and visions.
Finally found the time to make a stupid self-indulgent Vancaf Haul post!
I didn’t buy NEARLY as much this year as I have in past years, which I really regret, but I was busy running a table and I guess we can’t have everything we want in this sinful world. At least what I DID find the time to buy was super quality!
1) Family Man Volume one, by Dylan Meconis. I have been meaning to buy this for YEARS and I always ended up blowing my budget on minicomics before I could get to her table. This comic is SO GOOD you guys it’s just PERFECTION. Also I talked to the artist at the show and also at the event afterwards and she is a DOLL.
2) Boumeries Volume Two, by Boum. I never would have learned about this artist/comic if she hadn’t been on the Vancaf exhibitors list but thank god she was because it’s one of my new favourites. I always love any sort of autobio comic and hers are HILARIOUS seriously she is so funny. I should have bought all of her books come to think of it; they weren’t expensive at all. A true tragedy.
Kate Beaton is a Canadian cartoonist who appeared in the comics scene in 2007 with her online work “Hark! A Vagrant!”. Since then, she has become a fan favorite and has gathered a significant following, with illustrations appearing in places like The New Yorker, Harper’s and Marvel’s Strange Tales anthology. Praised for their expression, intelligence and comic timing, her cartoons often display a wonderfully light touch on historical and literary topics. Her first strip collection, Never Learn Anything From History, has been a bestseller for Publisher Topatoco since its release in 2009, and her 2012 release, published by Drawn & Quarterly also called Hark! A Vagrant, was a New York Times Best Seller.
Lucie Ebrey is a comic artist currently in her final year of studying illustration at Falmouth University. She draws a diary strip every day on top of other comic projects and is probably drawing frantically right now whilst you’re reading this.
Jen Tong’s world is one that takes the old addage “If life gives you lemons–” and stops for a few years to imagine what might that look like, how these lemons present themselves, whether life gave them to us, or us to them. More fantastical ponderings await the reader of one of her many hand screen-printed and bound minicomics, plenty of which will be available to grab at this year’s TCAF!
Over all, I felt much better walking away from Takeover than I did from Thought Bubble. That’s not to say one is better than the other, a lot of it had to do with the hard lessons I learned at Thought Bubble and how I applied them this time around.
First some numbers! Cause numbers are fun.
My total outgoing costs for the convention in order of leaving my house to the start of the show: £131
Round Trip Flight from Madrid to London - £63
Round Trip Train from Stansted Airport to London - £30
Accommodation in London (2 nights) - Free with friends! YAY
Takeover Quarter Table - £8.25
Food for 3 days - £30-ish
What I brought with me:
Stacks of business cards
25 sets of postcards
“a handful” of pins/buttons/badges (just to give away, not for sale)
50 copies of Hats
20 copies of Strong
What I sold over two days:
1 sets of postcards at £3 a set
4 copy of Hats for £7
2 copies of Strong at £5
For a total incoming of £41
I still lost money, but nowhere near the loss of Thought Bubble. I easily made back the cost of the table and even some covered my food and a bit of the airport train. Not bad! I’m learning!
This trip was about as cheap as I could manage but I still could have made it a bit cheaper by taking the Stansted Express bus instead of the Stansted Express train. I also delayed my plane purchase by a few weeks because we were debating traveling as a family vs me traveling alone. That delay resulted in the ticket price going up 20 pounds. So it’s possible, if I did this again, I could get the total price for a weekend in London under £100 which would make my numbers even better.
Made Less, Felt Better
You might have noticed that I made £2 less at Takeover than I did at Thought Bubble, but still felt better about the whole thing, so why’s that?
First off, despite a very turbulent flight that made me sicker getting off a plane than I have been in years, my weekend started off on the right foot! Straight from the plane I visited Gosh! comics in London to restock She Always Looked Good in Hats.
Last year, it was Orbital comics in London that saved the weekend by being super supportive and stocking my books after Thought Bubble. This time Gosh! was super supportive and encouraging just before the Takeover event. Knowing that my 5 copies of Hats that I mailed them over the winter had sold out and that they wanted 10 more helped a lot with my confidence going into Takeover. It was also immediately felt in the sense that my suitcase was 10 books lighter right off the plane, just a great way to start the weekend.
After the solid start with Gosh! the main difference this time around was the kind of numbers and the time frame that the numbers fell in.
At Thought Bubble I sold 7 postcard sets and 1 copy of Hats (the book I was there to sell). At Takeover I sold 1 set of postcards and 4 copies of Hats. As a person who wants to make comics, selling books was more encouraging than selling postcards.
There’s also the timeframe in which I sold those books. I sold a total of 3 books at Thought Bubble over two full days. It was hugely discouraging to see my books sitting there unsold for that many hours. At Takeover I sold a total of 6 books in less than 6 hours. More than a book an hour. So at no point at Takeover did I feel like I was just sitting at a dead table.
I can’t really say for sure why my books did better at one place than another. Takeover was smaller, so I have a feeling, at the stage I’m at now, smaller shows are the way to go.
My table and Me
This time around I had a quarter table instead of the half-table I had at Thought Bubble. My half-table at Thought Bubble felt small, so going down to a quarter table felt microscopic! But I didn’t bring the music stand or the hats and instead used some small bookstands that we found in our new apartment and that really helped with the layout.
I didn’t pack a tablecloth this time around due to carry-on space restraints, so I just used my table-mate Rosie’s black table cloth. As much as I dislike the over-abundane of black at comic shows, I have to admit my stuff really pops on a black backdrop. Maybe I need to invest in a black table cloth. Dang!
So I had this idea to put a slideshow of my comic pages on my padder and have that displayed on my table. The second part of the plan was to make a unique download link for Takeover and use that to sell digital comics to people that they could download later. I didn’t have time to make a unique Takeover link and print out addresses, but part-way through the day I realized that it didn’t matter, I could just try it. I wasn’t sure how exactly, maybe take people’s email address and email the link later, or use the free wifi at the venue to email people a link then and there.
Anyway, I made this sign, but nothing came of it. No one opted for the digital purchase though several people said “hey, that’s a good idea!” And lots of little kids saw the images going by on my padder and wanted to play with it.
With about an hour left in the day, one of my table-mate’s had to leave early, so I spread out to a half table. The roominess and symmetry were comforting.
One of the lessons I learned at Thought Bubble that I applied here was making sure that if a person stopped or picked up something from my table I would hand them a business card. I did a much better job at this than last time and was a lot more comfortable in doing so.
The day started off kind of funny. We arrived at the Takeover warehouse to no tables. No tables, no chairs.
It sounds like they got pooched by the furniture company they’d hired. So the show was delayed an hour while they rented a truck and procured more tables and chairs. In the meantime, the more together venders just set up their wares on the floor.
I wasn’t really that together, so I just hung around until the tables arrived which was about 1:30pm, an hour and a half after the advertised start of the show. Then I guess the seating chart got thrown out so there was a bit of a scramble for space. Then once we were settled, we didn’t realize there was a stack of chairs out back that never made it inside, so we stood for hours before I went hunting for them. Phew!
Being partly a radical book fair meant most people enjoyed or appreciated the chaos at the start of the day. Me flying to London, for my first small show and not really knowing what to expect left me a little worried at the start that I’d flown to London for a bust of a show. But well done to the Takeover people for keeping the show going despite unforeseen delays!
The funny thing about the show being partly a radical book fair meant at first I was afraid I was in the wrong place. The first books I spotted were all political zines and Marxist texts. The first people I talked to said “oh you do comics? What are they about? I mean, they’re radical, obviously, but what are they about?” Are my books radical? Would Marx approve of my story of Alice wanting to start her own hat shop? Was that capitalist? Or was it a worker taking control of the means of production? That sounded like a bit of a stretch. I could maybe argue that Strong was about self-sacrifice, and what’s more radical than that?
Add on top of that the recent UK elections that I knew almost nothing about since we’ve been without internet for weeks while moving apartments. The vibe of the room was extremely political and I wasn’t sure if my stories were going to fly there.
In the end avoided explaining what my books where about and I tried to have faith that the curators of the show knew what they were doing when they accepted my application. I knew Robert Brown, who I tabled next to at Thought Bubble, was going to be there, and his books and mine aren’t a million miles away in style and tone so I figured there must be an audience for us there. I felt better when I finally sat down in an area that had other small press comic people with books covering a variety of subject matters, from the political to the poetic to the mundane.
My “hi mom” photo:
The Power of the Press
This past winter I discovered Andy Oliver and Broken Frontier, covering the UK small press scene. I found lots of helpful valuable information there, including this Takeover event! Which I wouldn’t have known about if it hadn’t been covered there.
Andy actually stopped by to say hi to my table-mate John, and they actually chatted for a second about my books before Andy picked up a copy of Strong. I fumbled a bit seeing someone in person that I’d only talked to on the internet so I didn’t give a proper hello and handshake like I should have! What a dope!
Later Andy was talking to someone else and they saw my table and said “is that the book you were telling me about?” referring to Hats, and Andy nodded an affirmative in my direction. Then the guy came over and bought a copy of Hats!
I’m still amazed by how that scene played out. A person nodded at my table and then another person gave me money and took a book! Magic!
Several people over the course of the weekend had told me they had seen my book before or had heard of it, which I mostly attributed to the presence of my books at Gosh! and Orbital, but some people mentioned hearing of my book through Andy, and he hasn’t even reviewed it yet!
Since the start of the show was delayed and I was actually selling books, I didn’t step away from my Takeover table nearly as much as I did my Thought Bubble table. But I still met some cool people and saw some cool books.
My table-mates were very kind and nice to chat to throughout the day. They had both been at Thought Bubble but I only just met them here!
I packed my books into these funny egg cartons we get in Spain. I went home one entire egg carton lighter! That’s how I was measuring success.
Small shows, in places where I know people to stay with, seem much more viable than bigger shows that require more travel and accommodation. Life with baby has changed my comic book life dramatically but I think I can realistically attend 1 England show a year and I’m glad I gave Takeover a try.
The next show that I have my sights on is the Dublin Zine Fair in August since we’ll already be in Ireland! It’ll be the first show that I won’t have to take the cost of travel in account!
It was a lovely evening in London after the show. I walked across the Tower Bridge which I’d never seen up close and in-person before!
Iasmin is another highly talented artist already well on her way. A recent graduate from SVA she has already produced a print for Telegraph Gallery, a mural for Babycastles, and launched her comics series “MIS(H)ADRA” about the struggles of living and coping with epilepsy. Iasmin has exactly the kind of talent and energy that we strive to showcase at Paper Jam.
We’ve all had at least one of these wine boxes with the sliding lids. Some people like them and find uses for them right away, me, the lid always bothered me. But this is cool and I would totally have a small collection on a wall, reminiscent of medicine cabinets.
In just a few short years Lale has become a fixture of the independent comics scene in Brooklyn. From her frequent contributions to publications such as Happiness, Smoke Signal, and Arthur Magazine. We felt Lale’s wild and grotesque style would gel well with the aesthetic of the Paper Jam and the Silent Barn. Her comics are decidedly rock and roll, as is Lale herself. In fact, she will be performing at the Silent Barn on July 27th as part of the Happiness #4 release party.