Fine bindings go on display at St Bride

By Jo Francis, Friday 16 May 2014

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An exhibition of contemporary book binding is underway at London’s St Bride Foundation, featuring the craft of UK and USA-based fine binding specialists.


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The Inside Out exhibit runs until 22 August, before going on tour in the States from September.

It features the work of the UK’s association of Designer Bookbinders, and printing by a range of private presses also from both sides of the Atlantic, including: Arion Press, Barbarian Press, Incline Press, The Lone Oak Press, Midnight Paper Sales, The Old School Press, The Old Stile Press, Shanty Bay, and The Whittington Press.

Co-curator and Designer Bookbinders fellow Lester Capon said: “We’ve been planning it for a couple of years. The binders were invited to choose a selection of titles from each press, so there are different interpretations of the books – it’s a comparison of ideas about the text inside and illustrations.”

Each individual book can take the bookbinder many weeks of work to complete. Materials used include goatskin, vellum, organza and velvet with an array of inlays, onlays and embellishments.

Stephen Conway, president of the association, described the work as an “eclectic mix” that posed the question “is there a British or North American style?”

“The one constant is the willingness of bookbinders worldwide to freely share their skills and ideas,” he noted.

Rosie Lamb, director at fine leather supplier Harmatan & Oakridge Leathers in Northamptonshire, said: “This is as top quality binding I think I’ve ever seen.”

The 80pp catalogue for the exhibit was printed by Henry Ling in Dorchester.

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