Designer Bookbinders International Bookbinding Competition 2009
In Association with the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Great Britain



Alain Taral has been a member of Designer Bookbinders for many years. He is a renowned binder and a specialist of book-binding marquetry. Born on the 20th of March, 1949, in Saint-Dié, France. He began his career in wood design by creating and producing small wooden caskets, pictures, and small pieces of furniture with an inlay or mosaic design.

The origins of his vocation go deep into his childhood in the Vosges and in the forest; as a young boy, he started to carve picture frames and then furniture from wooden logs. He became a cabinetmaker, decorating furniture accessories and boxes with marquetry. One day he was asked to make an inlay to decorate the covers of a book. The challenge of decorating this book opened up unexplored territory for him. Of course wood was already used in bookbinding centuries ago, when wood made up the basic structure of the book covers and were then covered with pigskin, or decorations of ivory, enamel or embroidery. Then the wood was only a support and not in itself a decorative feature. Alain Taral was the first to use wood itself to decorate book covers in a manner equally as dignified and lavish, as all the materials used to date.

Alain Taral's "Feuille à Feuille" studio is situated on a hillside in Provence, a place of tranquillity and reflection-an ideal atmosphere for being creative. He also has at his disposal, the Jean Aicard Museum at Solliès-Ville where his work is exhibited to the public. Work in public and private collections worldwide.

Background information
Article by Alain Taral on his work in the journal of Designer Bookbinders, The New Bookbinder Volume 23/2003. pp37-39.

Contact for Alain Taral:


JENNI GREY, United Kingdom

Jenni Grey was born 1950, she graduated in Graphic Design and Illustration from Brighton University in 1984, followed by an MA in Sequential Design in 1991. She began teaching in 1987 on the Bookbinding Certificate Course at Brighton University, transferring to Senior Lecturer in Illustration and Book Arts in 1993. She was elected onto the Crafts Council Selected Index in 1986, elected Designer Bookbinder Fellow in 1989, and served as President of Designer Bookbinders 1996-98.

Collections: The British Library; The National Poetry Library: The John Rylands Library, Manchester; Winchester Cathedral; The Library of Congress, USA; The Royal Library, Holland; the Bibliotheka Wittockiana, Belgium; and private collections in Britain and abroad.

Personal Statement:
I am continually developing and simplifying the structures I use to maximize the time I spend on the creative element of my work, and to enable me to work with materials such as wood and metal, or techniques such as embroidery. Whilst typography and illustration in the book will play a part in the visual solution, the strongest influence on my design concept will be themes from the text. I do not aim to illustrate or interpret a text, but think more about adding a layer of personal meaning to pay homage to the book and its author, the challenge being to combine a collection of ideas and materials into a visually complete object.

Background information
Articles in the journal of Designer Bookbinders, The New Bookbinder, Volume 26/2006 pp. 5-20; and Volume 29/2009 pp 27-42.

Contact for Jenni Grey:


Designer Bookbinders