Such a bibliophile

I’m intrigued by the craft and artistry of bookbinding so it was with a tigger-type spring in my step that I bounced along to the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery at The University of Leeds to see the fifteen winning entries from the 2013 International Bookbinding Competition.

The work was curated with examples of artists books and bookbinding from the University’s Special Collections archive giving a real sense of the different methods and the historical context of the skill. The winning books were a real mix of styles with my favourite being made by the London-based non-professional Tatjana Gretschmann, who won the Fine Cut Award for Finishing. 



Tatjana Gretschmann
London, UK, Non-professional

The Song of Songs which is Solomon’s
(Kranich Verlag, 2003; special print for ‘bel libro 2003’; limited edition of 1000)

Full leather binding covered in crimson goatskin. The book has been sewn in unsupported link stitch and secondary sewing with full linen board lamination attachment. There are leather jointed endpapers and double-core hand-sewn silk endbands. The binding is tooled in gold and moon-gold leaf.

The design echoes the relationship and the eternal dance of two entities around each other, with the round and oval shapes mirroring the circles in the design of the text block.

The Society of Bookbinders has run the bi-annual competition since 2009 and it is open to both professionals and non-professionals in five categories – Fine Binding, Complete Book, Case Binding, Restoration and Historic Binding. The Society itself is a UK-based educational charity formed in 1975 and dedicated to traditional and contemporary bookbinding and to the preservation and conservation of the printed and written word.

The exhibition is running at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery at The University of Leeds  7 September to 14 October 2013. All the winning entries from the 2013 competition can also be viewed on the Society of Bookbinders’ website.


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