Designer Binders On Tour

Beginning tomorrow, the Designer Bookbinders, a UK-based group of artists devoted to spreading the word about hand-bookbinding, goes on tour. This is the group's first major tour in years, and it opens at the Sophie Schneideman Gallery in London. The exhibition will remain there until July 23, after which it will travel for an entire year--to The Hull History Centre (Aug. 5-Sept. 16), the Dean Clough Galleries in Halifax (Oct. 22-Jan. 15, 2012), Newcastle City Library (Jan. 20, 2012-March 23, 2012), the Bodleian Library (March 31, 2012-May 27, 2012) and finally to the John Rylands Library in Manchester from June 29, 2012-July 27, 2012).

According to the DB catalogue, "The venues represent some of the best contemporary exhibition spaces available today and we are delighted to be able to bring modern design bookbinding to a new audience, many of whom will be discovering the medium for the first time. The show aims to represent the current state of British bookbinding and includes bindings by some of the most respected practitioners working today. For over fifty years, their constant pushing of the boundaries of technique and craftsmanship has laid the foundations for what can all too easily be taken for granted today."

Here is a sampling of some of the beautiful bindings on display.

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Stuart Brockman's vivid Oxford shows the view of the spires of Oxford from South Park in spring. The covering is full transparent vellum over watercolor painting, with black goatskin onlays, gold tooling, lettering, and edges. This binding has a dreamy fairytale quality to it.

Lester Capon's The Shepheards Calendar is a stunningly rich and vibrant design, bound in full blue goatskin with multi-colored calf and goatskin onlays and tooled in blind and gold with gold lettering. Inside is a 1930 edition of Edmund Spenser's poem, with illustrations by John Nash.

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Jenni Grey's New York Revisited caught my eye first because it is lovely, and second because the summer issue of FB&C contains an extensive Q&A with Gaylord Schanilec, the wood engraver whose work is bound here in Grey's limp suede. The book is further enclosed in a box made of padouk wood with brass fixtures and name plate.

Lori Sauer has several pieces in the exhibit, and her Shaman: Anthropomorphic Figures in North American Rock Art is book, art, and object combined. She bound this limited edition miniature in suede with a separate handmade folder containing a map, all of which is placed within a beaded suede bag.

The full catalogue is viewable here.