My Day in Bindings, Part 2

La Couleur du vent exhibit catalog

La Couleur du vent exhibit catalog

It seems like ages ago, but I’m still thinking about my fine art bindings orgy on September 10th. In my last post, I didn’t comment on the La Couleur du vent exhibit, sponsored by ARA Canada  and École Estienne, at NBSS. It would have made the post way too long.

Seeing La Couleur du vent (that’s the title of the set book) in person made me think about the three ways we can experience a binding exhibit: an online exhibit; a print catalog; and a live viewing. This was the first time I was able to experience a single exhibit in all three ways. I was struck by the advantages and disadvantages of each method. I also thought of ways each experience could be enhanced.

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My Day in Bindings, Part 1

September 10th was like an orgy of bindings.

I saw so many bindings and spoke to so many binders in one day; it was sensory overload. It has taken me days to recover.

I started out in Somerville at Sheri’s place (Sheri is my editor), met Sonya Sheats in Cambridge, took the T with her to Boston to see La couleur du vent at NBSS. Sonya has a binding (which she doesn’t like) in the exhibit, but hadn’t had a chance to see it yet (more on that exhibit later). We ran into NBSS binding program director Jeff Altepeter on his way back from a coffee run for Dominic Riley, who was teaching at the school last week. We had arrived just in time for Dominic’s informal lecture about his life in fine art bookbinding. What a nice surprise! Sonya and I were allowed to sit in.

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InsideOUT, La couleur du vent, and new terminology

I’m so excited!

I’ll be in Cambridge this week for the opening reception at Houghton Library for the InsideOUT exhibit on September 10th. I will also get to see the ARA Canada exhibit La couleur du vent at the North Bennet Street School before it closes on September 14th. I will see so many contemporary fine art bindings in one day, I think my head might explode. Fortunately, I already have the InsideOUT catalog and have studied La couleur du vent online.

Who is going to be at the InsideOUT reception? I can’t wait to be in the same room with so many binders, librarians, and collectors of contemporary fine art bindings.

From now on I am going to be using the term “contemporary fine art binding” instead of “design binding.” Bindings are a form of fine art. Using the term “fine art” places the bindings in an understandable framework. Art collectors and most book collectors don’t know the meaning of  the terms “design binding” or “contemporary fine binding.” The concept is too abstract. I’d like to present bookbinding within the construct of contemporary art, which is where I think it belongs. I see my change in terminology as a tiny step toward bringing bookbinding in a contemporary idiom to a wider audience.

That’s what we all want, isn’t it? A wider audience for the amazing work binders are turning out these days?

Houghton_Library_-_Harvard_University_-_IMG_0095

Houghton Library, Harvard University


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