International Forum of Artistic Bookbinding

Several weeks ago I showed this:

ARA xi 1

This three-month long exhibit in Nîmes, on display for only two more weeks, shows 255 recent bindings by members of Les Amis de la Reliure d’Art. It is not surprising that France is overwhelmingly represented. ARA was founded in France in 1982. There are active branches in Belgium, Canada, Greece, Italy, and Switzerland, but binders from many other countries participated. Clearly, a binder does not have to be a resident or citizen of one of the countries with an active branch to be a member. Presumably, a binder living in the United States, Central, or South America could join. I wish more binders in the Americas were members so they could submit bindings. This is the XIth Forum International de la Reliure d’Art (FIRA). It’s a biennial event, in a different city each time. It’s a great forum for showing work to a European audience.

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Images from “In Retrospect: Designer Bookbindings by Michael Wilcox”

 

wilcox st john
Saint John the Divine. The Apocalypse. Woodcuts by Jim Dine. San Francisco: Arion Press, 1982.
Lent by Jeremy M. Norman.
Full black goatskin, with coloured leather onlays and gold and blind tooling.
382 x 282mm. Bound in 1988.
In Retrospect: Designer Bookbindings by Michael Wilcox
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, 1998.

Fun fact: The two black goatskins on this binding were tanned using aluminum triformate. At the time, this chemical was used to improve the durability of leather. Unfortunately, when Wilcox purchased it he did not realize (nor did many others) that gold does not adhere to it well. Hence, his gold tooling is restricted to the onlays, while the black is tooled in blind.

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Michael Wilcox Eye Candy

wilcox in retrospect poster

Michael Wilcox is a Canadian binder. He was born in Bristol, England in 1939. Michael began his training in 1955 as a forwarder at Edward Everard in Bristol. Then he moved to Toronto in 1962 with a five-year contract in the restoration department at the University of Toronto. During that time, he began to refine his skills and explore the freedom of designing his own bindings. He has never looked back. These days, he lives very simply in Ontario, making design bindings by commission.

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