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.
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.