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

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.

Continue reading “International Forum of Artistic Bookbinding”

InsideOUT: Contemporary Bindings of Private Press Books



Lucky me! I got my catalogue early. Another example of my motto: You Don’t Ask; You Don’t Get. To tell the truth, I asked for something totally outrageous and impossible. Sayaka Fakuda, who is doing much of the administrative work for the exhibit on behalf of Designer Bookbinders, let me down gently and offered some nice consolation prizes. One was an advance copy of the exhibit catalogue. I cannot thank her enough. It is delicious. I can’t stop looking at it. These bindings are sexy. I want to fondle them.

So I took a leap of faith. Even though I cannot be at the collector’s preview at St. Bride’s on May 14th from 4:30-5:45, when the books can be fondled, sorry, examined, I have submitted a lottery form for a binding. That’s right. Just based on the book that was bound, two photos of the binding, and a description, I am attempting to purchase a binding by a binder whose work I have never seen in person. When I say “attempting,” I mean that it’s a lottery. If my form requesting this binding is picked out of a hat first, I get to purchase it. If another collector’s form is pulled first, with the same binding listed as first choice, I lose. Keep your fingers crossed for me. It’s the only one I want.