Winners of Sir Paul Getty Bodleian Bookbinding Prize 2013 announced

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Sir Paul Getty Bodleian Bookbinding Prize 2013 has been awarded tonight in a special ceremony held at the Bodleian Library.  The theme of the second International Designer Bookbinding Competition was William Shakespeare. Competition entrants representing thirty-one countries offered highly creative and surprisingly diverse interpretations on the subject of the Great Bard. 

Recognizing the best of craftsmanship and creativity in the contemporary art of bookbinding, the first prize was awarded to Dominic Riley from the United Kingdom for a binding made of brown and black goatskin which depicts the story of Pyramus and Thisbe in a landscape of a forest lit by the full moon with the names of the lovers half hidden in the stars. The winner of the first prize was awarded £10,000 and the binding has been given to the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

2nd-Prize-Gimenez-Eduardo_wThe second prize went to Eduardo Giménez from Spain for the binding named This Solid Globe. Bound in full black calfskin, the cover is made of dyed maple veneer onlays and wood lettering insets in the shape of a wooden ‘O’ as a reference to The Globe Theatre building. The second prize is in amount of £6,000 and the binding will be part of the Getty Collection.

At this year’s edition, a special student prize has been awarded for the first time to Yuri Nomura from Japan  for a binding made of Japanese stab box spine structure covered in green and black goatskin with onlays of various gilt and coloured onlays and Japanese traditional Urushi lacquered areas shaped in Shakespeare’s initials ‘W’ and ‘S’.

There were 25 entries shortlisted as distinguished winners, representing eight countries: United Kingdom (11), Germany (3), Argentina (2), Spain (2), USA (2), Canada, Czech Republic, and Switzerland. The shortlisted distinguished winners received a silver Shakespeare nib, designed by the silversmith Gerry Summers and engraved with the binder’s name.

The winning bindings will be on special two-month long public display at the Bodleian which will also include another fifty-four submissions. Binders could choose any of the works written by Shakespeare, or texts about Shakespeare. They adopted different approaches and interpretations, ranging from the traditional to the experimental. Some binders created their own texts which they printed or handwritten. Most entrants used the traditional materials of leather, vellum and wood with a great mastery and invention, especially in the elaborate use of gold tooling in their design. Also the use of embroidery, and modern materials alongside the traditional produced superbly executed effects.

In his foreword to the accompanying exhibition catalogue, Mark Getty says: ‘Bindings are the vehicles for expressing our wonder at humankind’s literary and intellectual achievements and it is with great joy that we at Wormsley, together with the Bodleian Library, do what we can to encourage this great quiet and noble art form.’

Richard Ovenden, Deputy to Bodley’s Librarian, said: ‘Following the success of the first International Designer Bookbinding Competition held in 2009, the Bodleian Libraries are honoured to award the second Sir Paul Getty Bodleian Bookbinding Prize. We are grateful for Mark Getty’s generosity in supporting this collaboration between the Bodleian Libraries and Designer Bookbinders. ’

Stephen Conway, President of Designer Bookbinders, commented: ‘The eclectic diversity of styles and influences demonstrated by the competition entries moves bookbinding in new and exciting directions. Pre-conceived ideas of what represents national bookbinding are, in the light of global development, being constantly challenged, and the prospect of global bookbinding takes us into exciting uncharted territory, no doubt raising as many questions as it answers’.

The judging panel for the Designer Bookbinders International competition 2013 are:  Richard Ovenden, Deputy to Bodley’s Librarian (Chair); James Brockman, Fellow of Designer Bookbinders; Timothy Ely, book artist and binder Washington State, USA; Katinka Keus, bookbinder and conservator, Amsterdam. 

After Oxford, the competition display will travel to another  ten venues around the world:

  • 13 June–10 August 2013 Bodleian Libraries, Oxford
  • 12 August–20 September 2013 St Bride Foundation, London
  • 27 September–  12January 2014 Bibliothecka Wittockiana, Brussels
  • 25 January–15 February 2014 National Library of Estonia, Tallinn
  • 28 February–6 April 2014 Museum of Western Bohemia, Pilzen
  • 17 April–9 May 2014 Library of the Bauhaus University, Weimar
  • 18 May– 22 June 2014 Museum of the Printing Arts, Leipzig
  • 28 June – 5 September– 2014 Imprenta Municipal, Madrid
  • 28 September – 30 November 2014 Nerima Art Museum, Tokyo
  • 7 February – 5 April 2015  Museum of Modern Art, Shiga 

Designer Bookbinders is one of the foremost societies devoted to the craft of fine bookbinding. Founded over fifty years ago it has, by means of exhibitions and publications, helped to establish the reputation of British bookbinding worldwide. Its membership includes some of the most highly regarded makers in the fields of fine bookbinding, book arts and artists’ books, each with a passion for presenting the bound text as a unique art object.
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