Thanks to the lovely folks at Bromer Booksellers, I now (actually just after Xmas) have my very own copy of the catalog from the International Miniature Bookbinding Competition I wrote about here. The competition, sponsored by the Dutch Hand Bookbinding Foundation, the Museum Meermanno (The Hague), and De Buitenkant Publishers, attracted 155 submissions from all over the world, nearly half from outside of The Netherlands. The winners were announced at the beginning of October and the exhibition at Museum Meermanno is up through February 18, 2018. The catalog is tiny (see photo above with a quarter for scale). It’s not a miniature, but it’s appropriately sized for the books pictured inside. Despite the small size, catalog is truly substantive, containing an introduction by the organizers, an explanation of the competition assignment, and essay by Anne Bromer. The jury then walks us through the selection process, something we don’t usually hear about. They describe their methodology and, for each prize awarded, they explain the features that made that binding outstanding. In a way, it could be read as a how-to guide for competition judges, for competing art bookbinders, and for binding collectors.
The catalog reproduces the submissions, arranged by stage, as the jurors winnowed down the pool of submissions in four rounds of judging: first excluding those that failed to meet the size limitations (a painful thing to do to an otherwise gorgeous binding) and those that they felt failed to meet their technical or aesthetic standards, on through to the prize-winners. The bindings demonstrate a stunning range of creativity and technique.
So, who won? Read the rest of this entry »
“The Poet of Them All”: William Shakespeare and Miniature Designer Bindings from the Collection of Neale and Margaret Albert
I just got back from the opening of “The Poet of Them All.” It’s a must see. Whether or not you like miniature books, you’ll never see so many works by great binders on display in one exhibit. Fortunately, I’ve had the great privilege of handling many of the bindings in the past few years, otherwise it would have been totally overwhelming. Leave yourself plenty of time and buy the catalog. You won’t regret it.
Oak Knoll are my crack dealers. They brought Jan van der Marck’s The Art of Contemporary Bookbinding to the Boston Antiquarian Book Fair for me and, of course, I bought it. This is not your average vanity exhibition catalog. Jan van der Marck (1929-2010) was an art historian, both a university professor and probably the most frequently fired museum curator in modern history.
What really sets this exhibit catalog apart from most in my collection is not just the breadth of van der Marck’s taste, which is significant, but his introduction, his essay on each binder, and his brief commentary on each binding. As an art historian, his point of reference is significantly different from that of a librarian, a binder, or a collector who is not an art historian (most of us).
Donald Glaister was one of van der Marck favorite binders. He selected eight examples from his collection for this exhibition. Below are images of all eight, complete with van der Marck’s commentary. Read the rest of this entry »