Bookbinding Inspirations – Society of Bookbinders

The Society of Bookbinders, based in the UK, is an organization dedicated to historical and contemporary bookbinding, as well as its conservation. The Society organizes a biennial International Bookbinding Competition attracting professional and amateur bookbinders from all over the world, the most recent of which was held in 2013. Prizes are awarded in various categories such as Fine Binding, Case Binding, as well as Historical Binding styles. Their website not only profiles the bound books of the contestants, but also describes their process, materials used, and main inspirations. Some examples are included below:

Jo Bird, First Prize in Fine Binding (Goatskin and split board, hand dyed):

Jo Bird

Barbara Schmeizer, First Prize in Case Binding (Danish millimetre binding, goat leather, decorative paper, hand-sewn silk endbands):

Barbara Schmeizer

This next one is my personal favorite due to its uniqueness. Paul Johnson, First Prize in the Complete Book (carousel pop-up book made out of water-colour paper textile dyes, pen work, gold inlays):

Paul Johnson

The Society’s website also profiles other UK-based bookbinders and showcases some of their work – many projects utilize unique materials and are highly personalized to specific causes or hobbies. Links to personal websites are also included.

Sarah Grosvenor – materials include astro turf as a project for a woman who loved to garden:

Sarah Grosvenor

Hannah Brown – a book to honor Broadway lyricist Cole Porter. Accordioned pages make for a fun and playful book design.

Hannah Brown

Definitely worth taking a look!


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