Heroic Works display showcases the best contemporary designer book binding from around the world

19 July 2017

A new display at the Bodleian Libraries showcases bookbinding entries from the Designer Bookbinders 3rd International Bookbinding Competition 2017, which this year focused on the theme of ‘Myths, Heroes & Legends.’

Bookbinders competition first place design by Andrea Odametey

The awards ceremony and display opening took place on 17 July 2017 at the Bodleian’s Weston Library and the free display continues until 20 August.

Designer Bookbinders, one of the world’s foremost bookbinding societies devoted to the art and craft of the hand-bound book, has once again collaborated with the Bodleian Libraries to attract top binders from around the world for their 3rd International Bookbinding Competition.

The new display, titled Heroic Works, features 74 designer bindings, including the 28 prize-winners and a further 46 selected entries. Drawing on entries from more than 30 countries, the display showcases the creativity and craftsmanship of the international bookbinding community.

The display is an opportunity for visitors to see diverse styles and techniques from some of the best binders worldwide. The broad range of bindings on show includes a concertina structured binding with hand-drawn imagery, a book traditionally bound in beautiful leather with gold tooling, fanciful pop-up creations and a binding made of coloured acrylic that looks like a painting.

Jeanette Koch, the competition’s organiser, said:

'Throughout the ages, every culture has created myths and legends that recount the great deeds of its heroes.

'This year’s entries reflect a remarkable range of styles, materials and approaches to great classics of world literature, as well as modern texts. The imagination in form and structure, and the variety of materials used will capture the attention of audiences of all ages and display the wonderful and intricate art and craft of a unique handmade book.'

Bookbinders competition second place design by Rachel WardThe competition’s two prestigious top prizes are sponsored by Mark Getty, the co-founder of Getty Images, in memory of his father, Sir Paul Getty, the great collector, sponsor and advocate of the craft of bookbinding. A further 25 silver prizes are awarded for the most distinguished bindings in the competition, alongside the Oxford University Students’ Prize. For a full list of this year’s prizewinners, visit the Designer Bookbinders website.

Following its run at the Weston Library, the Heroic Works display will subsequently tour the following locations:

  • Library of Birmingham: 23 August – 28 September
  • St Bride Foundation, London: 2 – 14 October
  • North Bennet Street School, Boston, Massachusetts: 2 November – 22 December (28 prize-winners and USA bindings only)

A full colour catalogue, Heroic Works, is available from the Bodleian Bookshop. For more information, visit the Shop website.

For more information about the Heroic Works display at the Weston Library, including opening hours, visit: http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/whatson/whats-on/upcoming-events/2017/jul/heroic-works

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