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 »
Rare Book Week is a big deal in New York City, where density is your friend. Three simultaneous book fairs, plus auctions, exhibits (like InsideOUT, for a very brief visit at Bonhams), and events the entire week. It’s a destination week in a destination city.
Here we are mostly unpacked and have put on my table cover (required but not provided). Michelle is sorting books. Please note that the display case is how we found it: filthy, no shelves, oddly placed brackets, and a temporary electrical hook-up. All normal. Not to worry.
Thanks to team Red Queen, we had plenty of paper towels and glass cleaner. Ooops! I forgot all about that. I didn’t need them at Codex. While Michelle cleaned the showcase, I mentally mapped the book layout, including shelf placement. We deployed the tape measure, adjusted the brackets, and locked them down properly (a critical step to be repeated frequently). Then we carefully installed the glass shelves, well away from the slightly warm overhead fluorescent lights.
We start to place the books.
More books, and I change my mind.
Am I laughing because almost all of the books are in the display case?
The final arrangement, including iPad with videos of the kinetic features of Mark Cockram’s
Joseph Cornell: Shadowplay, Eterniday
Not shown: MAC slipcase by Sonya Sheats; TOR by Timothy Ely, Oscar Gillespie, and Robert Rowe; and L’ombre d’un cri bound by Christine Giard. Those three are strategically placed in the display cases of Red Queen Book Arts.
I’ve been very, very happy lately to be having wonderful correspondence, and conversations in person, with several really talented binders. One of them, Tim Ely, is a binder who is far more than a binder. I think he is, in my humble and completely biased opinion, one of the greatest living books artists. I’ve examined three of his recent artist’s books in person (I’ve seen a few of his bindings, too, but that’s not what I’m talking about here). I spent hours with them. They are beautiful inside and out. I could write a very serious essay about his books, science, and literature, but I’ll leave that to someone else. Instead, I’m going to brag that Tim sent me a bunch of catalogs from past exhibits and the postcard (above) advertising his upcoming exhibit of paintings and drawings in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It sounds like an improbably remote location, but it is actually about 10 minutes from Spokane, Washington and near where Tim lives. I considered turning up for the opening, but I won’t. Instead, I’m going to the Center for Book Arts 40th Anniversary Colloquium on artists’ books at The Museum of Modern Art in New York on October 11th. I hope to see some of you there.
In honor of Tim’s exhibit The Impossible Landscape, I’m going to treat us with some Ely eye candy.