Bookbinding Exhibition: 'Bound for Success' / by Kat Howard

1909 Postcard of the Boston Public Library A couple of weeks ago I found myself in Boston and was fortunate enough to catch the tail end of the quaint and charming exhibition 'Bound for Success,' at the Boston Public Library. 'Bound for Success' features 100 + books from the Designer's Bookbinders' first International Competition. Designer's Bookbinders is a fine bookbinding society whose mission is to promote a passion for presenting the bound text as a unique art object. Other than organizing contests, they also publish a beautifully printed newsletter for their members called The New Bookbinder, act as a resource for classes in the UK, and maintain a presence and traveling exhibitions at book fairs worldwide.

'Bound for Success' Exhibition Catalogue

This particular contest was organized through the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. Each submission had to follow a simple prompt in order to enter the contest; the binding of each book had to be inspired by water. It was truly motivating to see the  range of ideas and the top notch quality that bookbinders from all over the world had created. Prize winning bindings ranged from decoration of "fusion" marquetry made of many different precious wood veneers to machine embroidered grey Dypion-style fabric and airbrushed endpapers. Specially designed sterling silver bone folders were awarded by the Judges for the 25 best bindings, too.

You can still catch the exhibition stateside in San Francisco at Bonhams & Butterfields February 12-March 6, and then in New York City at The Grolier Club May 19-July 31, 2010.