I Sold Some Books in San Francisco

The San Francisco Bay Area is a hotbed of book arts with a long-standing tradition of French-style binding. Historically, binding in the Northeast US owes more to the English and Germans. I’m not going to discuss dates, patterns of immigration and migration, or happenstance. The research has been done and written about by actual binder-scholars. I refer you to the index to the journal of the Guild of Bookworkers. These days, in San Francisco, you can get excellent training in both French and English binding methods from the many binders who reside and teach in the area.

The point is that in San Francisco there is an especially appreciative audience for exquisitely crafted fine art bindings such as the ones I brought to CODEX.

Continue reading “I Sold Some Books in San Francisco”


Upcoming Exhibit: Contemporary Bindings of Private Press Books

Designer Bookbinders has sponsored an exhibition of over 60 bindings by designer binders working in either North America or the United Kingdom (sorry Central and South America). The invited participants could choose from a group of private press books: four printed in the UK and 5 printed in North America. The bindings were due on February 3rd, and the selection and photography will commence on the 13th (today!).

As far as I know, this exhibit is a first. Designer Bookbinders has an annual competition for UK based binders only and a triennial international competition. I’m very excited because whatever the result, this is going to be a fabulous opportunity to see the work of many North American binders all in one place. I think we are going to see bindings by binders who rarely compete. Another great feature of this exhibit is that it is neither a set book, nor thematic. I am sure that allowing the binders to choose from so many lovely books provided scope for imagination and inspiration. I can hardly wait to see the bindings!

The chair of the committee for the exhibit is Sayaka Fukuda, a licentiate of Designer Bookbinders. I do not know who else is on the committee. There will be a catalogue of the exhibition and a tour.

The tour schedule is:

15 May – 22 August St Bride Foundation
11 Sept – 13 December Houghton Library
10 Jan – 28 March 2015 MCBA, Minneapolis
10 Apr – 19 Apr 2015 Bonhams, New York
6 June – 5 July 2015 San Francisco Centre for the Book, San Francisco

I really like the looks of the tour schedule. St. Bride’s makes perfect sense, as it is the home of Designer Bookbinders. Hitting the East Coast, the Midwest, and the West Coast is great. We could argue about Chicago vs Minneapolis and ask why there is no stop in the South. However, we must keep in mind that you have to have willing hosts, a vacant slot in the host’s exhibition schedule, and a space that can comfortably accommodate the exhibition. The tour lasts over a year. I hope we can all make it to one of these book meccas. The exhibit dates at Houghton Library (who do you have to know to get an exhibit placed there?) will very nicely overlap with the Boston Antiquarian Book Fair, an annual event sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, which usually occurs in mid-November. I don’t know the dates for 2015 yet, but the brief appearance in New York may be during or just after the ABAA/ILAB antiquarian book fair. For those who don’t know, the New York Antiquarian Book Fair is a Very Big Deal. It’s huge. It’s International. It’s New York. Bonhams is a few blocks from the fair. The Center for Book Arts is a very long 40 blocks away.

So, I’ve mentioned antiquarian book fairs twice. What does that have to do with contemporary designer bindings, you may ask? Simple: there are quite a few dealers who specialize in bindings, artists’ books, and book arts: antique, contemporary, and that fuzzy area in between. The next ABAA/ILAB book fair will be in New York, the first weekend in April. The one after that is in London in May. There are other ILAB book fairs. Paris and Frankfurt, I think. The one in Los Angeles just ended. Next year it will be in San Francisco. Check the ILAB website for dates.