last update


Derek Hood, Fellow of Designer Bookbinders 2009-2021

It is with immense sadness that we have to announce the death of Derek Hood on 21 October 2021. Derek became a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders in 2009 and will be a great loss to the Society as a binder and as a friend.

Our love and thoughts go to Wendy and the family.


Jeff Clements MBE

It is with great sadness that Designer Bookbinders must announce the death of Jeff Clements. Jeff was elected as a Fellow of The Guild of Contemporary Bookbinders, (later to become known as Designer Bookbinders) in 1957 and was President of Designer Bookbinders from 1981-83. Jeff lived and worked in England until 1988, at which point he moved to Amsterdam.

An artist bookbinder, painter, and graphic designer, he was an Art and Design Educationist from 1961-1988 and examiner until 2006. His fine bindings were usually bound in goatskin with inlays, and more recently he made extensive use of feathered onlays. The designs grew out of the text but invariably retained a strong vertical/horizontal and oblique stress relationship, with sculptured boards playing an important role in the composition.

Jeff exhibited regularly with Designer Bookbinders and in Europe, America and Japan. His bindings are in major public and private collections throughout the European Union and the USA.

In 2021 Jeff retired from being a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders after making more than a hundred and sixty contemporary fine bindings.

Designer Bookbinders would like to express their sympathy to all of Jeff's family and friends, he will be greatly missed.


Talks by US and UK binders of the
La Prose du Transsibérien recreations now on YouTube

Twenty-five binders from the USA, Canada and the UK were commissioned to bind a copy of a facsimile of the 1913 La Prose du Transsibérien by Sonia Delaunay and Blaise Cendrars, published in 2018 by Two Hands Press. The exhibit commenced in 2019 in San Francisco, travelled to Los Angeles and Boston in 2020, and was shown virtually at Minnesota Center for the Book in 2021. The exhibit has been curated by Kitty Maryatt, with Simon Eccles and Toby Schwartzburg as Co-Curators.

On Saturday 2nd October, Designer Bookbinders facilitated an online event where the participating US and UK binders of the facsimile of La Prose du Transsibérien discussed the process of designing and executing their bindings. The event, which was moderated by Kitty Maryatt, the creator of the facsimile, was recorded and is now available to view on YouTube.


The Book Beautiful 4-25 October

A new exhibition of hand-crafted bindings by internationally-acclaimed contemporary bookbinders in one of London's most famous rare book stores: Maggs Bros., 48 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DR

Exhibition Dates: 4th October to 25th October 2021 Monday - Friday 9.00am - 5.00pm no booking required.

Featured Binders: Glenn Bartley, Richard Beadsmoore, James Brockman, Stuart Brockman, Lester Capon, Jeff Clements, Mark Cockram, Sue Doggett, Eri Funazaki, Flora Ginn, Kate Holland, Angela James, Peter Jones, Midori Kunikata-Cockram, Kaori Maki, Tom McEwan, Haein Song, Gillian Stewart, Anne Thornton, Rachel Ward-Sale


London Craft Week 4 - 10 October

Designer Bookbinders is taking part in London Craft Week from the 4th to the 10th October.

As part of this event Designer Bookbinders are putting on a series of weekend workshops on the 9th and 10th October. Fellows of Designer Bookbinders will be running these at the Education Space at Cockpit Arts in Holborn. On Saturday 9th October, Rachel Ward-Sale and Kate Holland will give workshops on making a Soft Leather Journal and a Photograph Album/Scrapbook. On Sunday, Midori Kunikata-Cockram and Mark Cockram will give workshops on The Art of Paper-Folding in making an artist's book and making a collaged Hard-back Notebook.

Booking for all four workshops is via Eventbrite.


Booker Prize 2021: Shortlist Revealed
We are very pleased to announce that the six Fellows binding this year's shortlisted Booker Prize novels are:

Glenn Bartley
Mark Cockram
Stephen Conway
Sue Doggett
Kate Holland
Tom McEwan

The shortlisted books were announced on the 14th September and are as follows:

A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam
The Promise by Damon Galgut
No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed            
Bewilderment by Richard Power
Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

We want to take this opportunity to wish our six Fellows well over the next few weeks reading, designing, drawing, forwarding, printing, painting, cutting, paring etc. at double speed to get them finished in time for the Awards Ceremony at the start of November!

The bindings will be kept under wraps until then and we can't wait to see them and share them with you in a few weeks time, including the reasons behind the designs and how each binder executed their work. Designer Bookbinders is very pleased to continue this ongoing relationship with the leading literary award in the English speaking world, which has brought recognition, reward and readership to outstanding fiction for over five decades.


Drop Dead Gorgeous

Drop Dead Gorgeous, an exhibition of fine bindings of La Prose du Transsibérien Re-creation, will be shown at Maggs Bros. Ltd. Rare Books and Manuscripts in London from October 4 to October 25, 2021. Twenty-five binders from the US, Canada and the UK were commissioned to bind a copy of this facsimile of the 1913 La Prose du Transsibérien by Sonia Delaunay and Blaise Cendrars, published in 2018 by Two Hands Press. The exhibit commenced in 2019 in San Francisco, travelled to Los Angeles and Boston in 2020, and was shown virtually at the Minnesota Center for the Book in 2021. The exhibit is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm during the week.

You can view the virtual MCBA exhibit here.

For further information about the facsimile project can be found here.

Events coordinating with the Drop Dead Gorgeous exhibit at Maggs in October 2021:

1. October 2: Zoom event with the binders of La Prose, 7:00 pm UK time, 11:00 PDT. Registration through Eventbrite.

2. October 9-10: Traditional French Pochoir Workshop at St. Bride’s Library, London, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Registration through Eventbrite.

3. October 11: Showing of the hour-long documentary by Rosy Rhee, 'The Making of a Masterpiece: La Prose du Transsibérien', at Maggs Bros. at 6:00 pm. Interviews with scholars, booksellers, collectors, and underwriters of the project, and demonstrations of traditional French pochoir technique. Reservations required:

4. October 25: Special visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum at 1:00 pm to view an original copy of the 1913 La Prose du Transsibérien, Blaise Cendrars’ La Fin du Monde, and Sonia Delaunay’s 1925 portfolio Ses Peintures, Ses Objets, Ses Tissues Simultanés, Ses Modes. Reservations required:


Designer Bookbinders are seeking a Treasurer
The Treasurer plays a key role in the Society taking responsibility for managing the accounts and advising the Executive Committee on financial matters. Designer Bookbinders undertake interesting projects from international exhibitions, competitions, and online events, to masterclasses and workshops. The role is part-time and flexible. Designer Bookbinders will offer an annual contract for the role with an honorarium. The role-holder must be based in the UK.

If you are interested in taking on this key and interesting role, or know of a suitable person, please ask for more information by emailing:


Traditional French Pochoir Workshop
9-10 October

This is a unique opportunity to learn this technique from Kitty Maryatt during her visit to the UK. Kitty Maryatt is Director Emerita of the Scripps College Press, California, and studied pochoir with Atelier Coloris in Ploubazlenac, France. Inspired by Sonia Delaunay's magnificent imagery in her recreation of 'La Prose du Transsibérien', she will teach participants the French process of stencil techniques using aluminium plates, French pochoir brushes and Winsor-Newton Designers Gouache. After cutting the aluminium plates, an edition of five prints will be completed in the workshop, as well as the participants being able to develop their own individual pochoir projects.

The workshop will run from 8.30am to 4.30pm each day. Fee £180, plus a materials fee of £75 per person payable at the workshop. Please book your space via Eventbrite: La Pochoir Workshop. Limited spaces.


Nicholas McDowall

'As some of you may now have heard, our beloved father and friend, Nicolas, founder and creator of The Old Stile Press, died on July 31st 2021 after a short illness and recent diagnosis of cancer. This came as a shock to all our family and has been especially saddening given we had just moved from Scotland in order to be closer to him.

Dad was the creator and inspiration for The Old Stile Press and his vision and ability to work with artists to create these beautiful publications was second to none.

Life and the Old Stile Press very much goes on and I will continue to run the press in all it's capacity. Although there will be no further publications, all books will be available via the website. All contact details will remain the same, but do please keep up to date with our website and we will shortly launch a new Facebook page which I will share with you soon.

The current situation may lead to a delay in fulfilment but please be assured that our books are available for purchase as always and we hope to see many of you at book fairs when Covid restrictions allow.'

Cressida and Daniel, The Old Stile Press Ltd


Crafts Council Maker's Eye: Stories of Craft
The exhibition, 'Maker's Eye: Stories of Craft' is now open at Crafts Council Gallery (@craftscouncil). Thirteen makers were asked to select up to fifteen objects from the Crafts Council Collection and state why they chose each object. One of these makers was Designer Bookbinders Fellow Angela James. Angela and another of our Designer Bookbinders Fellows, Eri Funazaki (@linocoot), have bindings selected and on display.

An eclectic display of work celebrating the breadth, diversity, and qualities of craft, this exhibition is open until 9th October 2021 at Crafts Council Gallery, 44a Pentonville Road, Angel, London N1 9BY.



Bookbinding Vacancy
Blissetts are a long-established, 4th-generation family business with a Royal Warrant to Her Majesty The Queen for bookbinding services. Based in West London, they specialise in all things to do with printing and binding.

Blissetts are looking for an enthusiastic individual to join their specialist department who undertake leather work, box making, tooling and blocking, restoration, fine binding, plus many other projects undertaken on a regular basis.

Based in Brentford, West London, close to tube, rail and bus links.

Full-time position available immediately. 37.5 hours per week: Monday to Thursday 7.30am to 4pm and 7.30am to 1pm Friday.

The successful applicant will either have bookbinding experience or the ability to work well with their hands and have a specific interest in training as a bookbinder.

Salary dependent on the applicant's experience.

Key skills required are: attention to detail, the ability to work well in a team, the enthusiasm to make the highest quality/beautiful products.

Contact: Chris Blissett: Tel: 020 8992 3965



Contemporary Binders of La Prose Du Transsibérien
Kitty Maryatt will be hosting a discussion with 22 of the US and UK binders who provided contemporary bindings of her re-creation of the 1913 book, 'La Prose du Transsibérien', by Blaise Cendrars and Sonia Delaunay. The binding by Paul Bonet of a copy of the original in 1963-64 was the inspiration for the idea to commission twenty-five binders to bind the 2018 facsimile, which replicated the original techniques of letterpress and pochoir. The resulting bindings were shown at the exhibit titled Drop Dead Gorgeous, which toured the country starting in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston. The exhibit closes in Minneapolis at MCBA on May 9, and will land in London in the autumn. An exhibition catalogue for Drop Dead Gorgeous is available.

This is a free event that is open to the public on Saturday 26th June. You can register for the Guild of Book Workers Event here.


Shepherds Bookbinders, London
Shepherds are looking for a Journeyman bookbinder who has experience of working in a commercial bindery to work in their London Bindery. Please email Alison Strachan on for further details.


Designer Bookbinders Online Lecture Series
Lester Capon: 'A little too much is just enough for me'

Designer Bookbinders are pleased to announce a new series of online lectures. First up was our new President, Lester Capon. The lecture, held on 27 April 2017, is now available on our YouTube channel or via the link on the DB Lectures page.


Fine Books and Collections Online Magazine
We are very pleased to have had The Designer Bookbinders UK Competition featured in the online Fine Books and Collections Magazine. Following the Awards Ceremony on Friday 30th April the major award (The Mansfield Medal) was won by Thomas Hosking for his goatskin binding of Mort by Terry Pratchett featuring a scythe-shaped void.



DBUK Competition 2020/21: Winners announced!

Following the online Awards Ceremony on 30th April, a full list of this year's prizewinners and images of their bindings are now available for viewing on the DBUK Competition page.


Cockpit Arts Awards
Cockpit Arts have three Awards open for application for up to SEVEN talented makers to join the Cockpit Arts community, each Awardee will receive a space in a shared studio with hugely subsidised studio cost and tailored business support.

Find out more and apply here.


Book Arts Newsletter
The latest Book Arts Newsletter (No. 138 March - mid-April 2021) is now ready for download here.

48pp of Exhibitions, Announcements, Courses, Conferences, Lectures & Workshops, Opportunities, Book Fairs and Events, Internet News, New Publications, Reports & Reviews and Stop Press!

Cover artist: Peter Morgan - I Am The Messenger.


SoB/DB 2020/2021 season Joint Workshops: UPDATE

It is with great reluctance that we have decided to cancel the 20/21 season of Joint Workshops. As you will be aware Government guidelines suggest that only after 21 June will more than six people be allowed to gather together indoors. All our planned sessions are before this date. We aim to re-establish the whole programme of six workshops during the 21/22 season.

We will work to see if it will be possible to run the three workshops already twice postponed from 2019 over this coming summer. (Contemporary Paper Conservation Binding with Kathy Abbott, Conservation Enclosures with Anne-Marie Miller and Paper Cut Drum-Leaf Artists' Book with Kip Perdue and Mark Cockram.) In which case dates and venues will follow as soon as possible.

If anyone who has paid for a workshop and has, or has not, advised the organisers that they are due a refund but has not yet been refunded, would you please contact Sarah Burns asap. We shall start afresh for the next season with costs of 185 and non-members £205.

Stay safe and let us hope for a successful next season.
Nesta Davies & Sarah Burns (organisers)


The Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Competition 2020

Join us at the National Library of Scotland for this virtual showcase of Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Competition 2020 winners at 5pm on Thursday 25th February. This competition, sponsored by the Elizabeth Soutar Trustees and set up in the memory of Elizabeth's parents Manus and Janet in 1993, offers bookbinders across Europe the opportunity to showcase their creative and craft talents. Our 2020 competition had the 1980s as the theme and entrants to the competition were able to respond in very inventive and personal ways to this broad category.

We invite you to an online event to view the winning designs, and to hear from the bookbinders about their responses to the competition brief and their creative process. This unique and special event promises to highlight some of the best bookbinding skills and talents from across Europe and to celebrate their success. Details here.


Designer Bookbinders are very pleased to announce 'Architecture and Bookbinding'

This is a unique collection of boards designed and made by Fellows and Licentiates of Designer Bookbinders on the theme of architecture. Twenty-nine prominent contemporary binders responded with enthusiasm to Fellow Lester Capon's suggestion for the production of this special project and collectively created a wonderful snapshot of the richly diverse approaches to modern bookbinding in the early 21st century.

The box and boards are now available for sale as a complete set, POA. Any interested parties should please contact Lester Capon directly. We also have a number of 'Architecture and Bookbinding' pamphlets available for sale at £5.00 containing images of all the boards and descriptions from the binders who made them.

Full details and pictures of all the boards can be see in the Exhibitions section.


Notification of Book Sale
Books from Designer Bookbinder Faith Shannon's library will be sold at Forum's online sale on 18 February 2021. The sale starts at 1pm. Please see the details and link below for more information.

Online Sale: Modern Literature, Private Press and Illustrated Books.
Lots 1-23: Books on Bookbinding and for binding: the Property of the late Faith Shannon MBE HonFDB ARCA ATC (1938-2018).


Saving the Art of Bookbinding in the UK
Here is a link to an article on the Fine Books and Collections website.


Rising Star Awards 2021
The Rising Star Awards from the Printing Charity are now open for entry. The Rising Star Awards (previously known as Print Futures Awards) recognise the best young talent and help them to reach their career goals. Winners receive funding of up to £1500 towards the training or equipment they have chosen to help them on their journey. Designer Bookbinder Licentiate Gillian Stewart is a previous winner.

To find out how to apply visit the Printing Charity website.


The Clothworkers' Company and West Dean College

The Clothworkers' Company continues to support arts and conservation at West Dean College. Details here.


New DB Secretary
Designer Bookbinders would like to welcome our new Secretary, Pippa Smith who has taken over the roles of both Membership Secretary and Secretary of Designer Bookbinders from Wendy Hood. Wendy spent 13 years working for Designer Bookbinders and will be greatly missed, but we are delighted to announce that the society is now in the very capable hands of Pippa!


It has now been a couple of weeks since I officially handed over the reigns of Secretary and I have to say it has taken some adjustment for my brain to switch off after so many years!

I would like to say a huge 'Thank you' to Pippa Smith who, as you know, has taken over the role. I couldn't have asked for an easier transition and I know Pippa will do a sterling job which I hope she will thoroughly enjoy, as did I.

Being in the role for so many years meant I had the pleasure of working with many Presidents and they were all fantastic. In my last couple of years Rachel Ward-Sale gave me so much support through some difficult times and I cannot thank her enough for this. The warmth and humour of Jack London made him a wonderful Treasurer to work alongside and I hope to have many more lunches with him in the future! To the many Executive Committee members who have been in place over the years, you are a lovely bunch of people and I hope to see many of you at events in the future.

And finally to the many members around the world who have sent their wishes to me, Thank you, I have been touched by your sentiments. I received an absolutely amazing leaving present from the Fellows, Licentiates and Executive Committee and I would like to say the biggest 'Thank you' for this. You were generous beyond belief and I am a very happy girl!

With my very best wishes, Wendy.


In November, I took on the role of Secretary of Designer Bookbinders and was asked to introduce myself and say a bit about how I got here.

I always loved making things with my hands and also loved books. Careers advice and the internet didn't exist then, so when at 18 I was told that I had to choose between costume design (unfunded), or literature (funded), I chose to study literature at university with the idea that I could carry on with textiles and making in my free time.

I went on rather randomly to a become a production co-ordinator at the BBC (a catch-all role and title that covered continuity, research, booking facilities, running the production office, et cetera, depending on the type of production). It was good fun and creative but also long hours and a lot of time away from home.

I moved on to a career in academic administration at the University of London which was busy and varied but had the benefit of free weekends and evenings. I came across bookbinding through evening classes at the wonderful City Lit. Among the many courses I took, taught by inspiring binders, I was lucky enough to study the City & Guilds in Bookbinding with Nesta Davies and Fine Binding with Kathy Abbott.

Having moved to Worcestershire last year to a house 'needing some renovation' with an overgrown garage in the garden I can convert into a workshop. I aim to bring my professional skills to the Secretary role to support the Society and on the creative side I hope to develop my binding and further my work in textiles.

I look forward to seeing you again, or to meeting you for the first time when life returns to normal, in the meantime please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Pippa Smith: Secretary, Designer Bookbinders


Box Your Book - an international competition

Stichting Handboekbinden (Foundation for Hand Bookbinding) from The Netherlands, have organized an international competition: Box Your Book. Entrants are invited to make a special box for a favourite book.

Full details can be found on their website.


DB International Bookbinding Competition 2022

We are delighted to launch the Designer Bookbinders International Bookbinding Competition 2022 'A Gathering of Leaves'.

Registration is now open. Entries need to be submitted during August 2021 to the Bodleian Library, Oxford, UK. The prizegiving ceremony and exhibition will take place at the Bodleian Library during June 2022.

Full details and a link to the registration form can be found on the International Competition page.

Stuart & Louise Brockman: Competition Organisers


A Tribute to Peter J Langley

Many binders in DB will remember Peter Langley as an enthusiastic and loyal collector who never failed to visit our exhibitions and in particular our series of 'Covered' shows at the Flow Gallery from 2006-2011, where he attended unfailingly together with his wife Sue, and never failed to augment his already impressive bookbinding collection with significant purchases. It is therefore a great shock to hear that he passed away suddenly following a severe stroke while in Italy last week.

Peter Langley was the legal advisor to the Clothworkers' Company for over 20 years prior to his retirement in 1999, but he continued as a Trustee and indulged his love of books by initiating a contemporary fine binding collection there. After discussions with DB, a highly forward- thinking and imaginative project was developed whereby DB Fellows were commissioned every year to bind books and texts from the Clothworkers' own library. From 2008 he chaired the Company's Collections and Archives Committee, and ever since the fine binding collection has grown to become an important and highly impressive showcase for 20th and 21st book craft. He also encouraged the Clothworkers to support DB not only through commissions but also by sponsoring 2 prizes at our UK Competition, supporting the Transferring Design project, and by providing key funding for the bursaries which DB gives to binders needing financial support to attend Masterclasses and Workshops.

The highlight of his tenure at the Clothworkers' Company was his instrumental role in the 'Chris Ofili - Dovecot tapestry' commission (2014-2017). He insisted on calling it so, in recognition of the Master Weavers who painstakingly wove the triptych, now hanging in the Clothworkers' Hall, from Ofili's small watercolour drawing.

Peter had an effortless ability to strike up a conversation and find common ground with everyone he met. Over many years and countless meetings with binders, conservators, makers and artists, he was never anything other than his warm jovial self, gesticulating wildly when something amused him, but importantly, making everyone feel welcome and valued. He will be deeply missed by his friends in DB, and our sympathy goes out to his wife Sue, his children, and his little 'collection' of grandchildren, as he so fondly referred to them.


DB/SoB Joint Workshop Bookings Update
Firstly, apologies for the belatedness of this announcement, we hope you'll understand that we have been busy behind the scenes trying to ensure that we don't present as possible something we later have to withdraw. Given the resurgence of continual changes to travel and meeting regulations we’ve been considering the best way forward with Joint Workshop bookings for the forthcoming series (already rescheduled!).

We have agreed with the venues that Emma Fraser's workshop on Board Reattachment and Kristine Rose-Beers on Islamic Binding are to be postponed but we very much hope to include them in a following series.

Bookings are now open for the rest of the workshops. At this point we are simply asking for 'Expressions of Interest' only. (Not for Emma's or Kristine's, please.) We've got (fingers crossed) a great programme! Below is a reminder with a complete list of the 2021 workshops, which includes the three postponed from the 19/20 series.

If you would like to express an interest in attending a workshop or workshops, please contact Sarah Burns with your full name, address and telephone number. Please also state if you are a member or either DB or SoB, (SoB members please give your membership number)

If you have already contacted us to ask to book a workshop, please would you reconfirm your interest to Sarah Burns with your full details to avoid any misunderstanding. As and when we know whether or not each workshop will go ahead, you'll be asked if you wish to confirm your booking.

We have varying maximum numbers for each workshop, dependent on social distancing requirements at the time of each workshop. Workshop images and content is available on DB and SoB websites, and from Sarah Burns. 

Weekend workshop fees for DB or SoB members are £185 and non-members £205.

Contemporary Paper Conservation Binding
Kathy Abbott
London Centre for Book Arts
February 20-21st

Conservation Enclosures
Ann-Marie Miller
Southern Bookcrafts Club
March 13-14th

Colour, Texture and Pattern on Book Cloth
Ruth Brown
Leah Higgins' Studio
April 10-11th

Fill that Page! A bookbinder's guide to creative design practice Sue Doggett
venue TBC
April 24-25th

Tooling for Beginners
Dieter Räder
Dragon Bindery (note new address)
nr Carmarthen
May 15-16th

Full-leather Notebook
Tom McEwan
Harbour Arts Centre
June 5-6th

Paper Cut Drum-Leaf Artists' Book
Kip Perdue & Mark Cockram
June 5-6th

Full details here.


New Online Secondhand Antiquarian & Bookshop
Lester Capon, Fellow of Designer Bookbinders and one of the exhibiting members of our current online bookbinding exhibition ABC (Art, Book, Craft) has a new website, Theoc Books, selling secondhand and antiquarian books. Any binders looking for texts to bind for competitions or speculative work might find items of interest here!

Theoc is short for Theocsbury, the Anglo Saxon name for what is now Tewkesbury, where Lester is based.



Two New Honorary Fellows

Designer Bookbinders would like to congratulate both Julia Dummet and Jack London on being awarded Honorary Fellowships of Designer Bookbinders and for all the hard work they have done for the society.

Thanks, Julia
I was looking forward to presenting Julia Dummett with her certificate at the AGM and thanking her in person for all her hard work for DB, but sadly due to the current crisis that has not been possible, so instead I shall have to put my thanks in writing.

Julia started bookbinding in the early 1990s at City Lit, where she was taught by Simon Hague, Lester Capon and Nesta Davies. There followed workshops and courses with other binders before she returned to City Lit for advanced classes with Kathy Abbott. Throughout this time, she bound books for herself and her family, regularly submitting bindings for the annual competition. Her childhood in a creative family instilled a love of art and reading in her from an early age which led to an appreciation of private press books, particularly the guinea editions from the Golden Cockrell Press with their wood engraved illustrations, which she started to collect. It was these combined interests which first inspired her to enrol for beginners bookbinding classes and then attend workshops in other techniques and structures.

For many years Julia has worked behind the scenes for DB, helping at events and private views, always ready to step in with an extra pair of hands when needed. In 2007 we were both asked to take over the DB lectures. Neither of us had done anything like this before, but despite the steep learning curve we thoroughly enjoyed drawing up our wishlist of speakers. There were stressful times too, trying to get information from lecturers and battling with the audio-visual equipment to name but two. When I texted Julia to tell her that one lecturer had hurt his back and would have to cancel, she texted back "eek!".

After five years running the lecture series, we both stepped down and two years later Julia joined the executive committee as well as the TNB editorial board. In 2014 Lisa von Clemm asked her to help with the annual competition, which she did for several years, assisting with administration, judging and organising the exhibition.

I am delighted that Julia has accepted this offer of an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of the time and effort she has given supporting DB over many years. I look forward to continuing to work with her for many years to come.

Rachel Ward-Sale  

A celebratory glass for Jack London

When Jack received his letter from Rachel Ward-Sale, offering him an Honorary Fellowship, you could have knocked him down with a feather. He was astounded, and felt very honoured, never ever having thought such a thing possible.

Jack spent the majority of his professional life in the financial sector, starting in accountancy in 1959, then progressing into banking, working on the London Stock Exchange as a portfolio manager, and then on the Floor as a dealer. In 1980 he moved to Bristol, returning to accountancy but specifically in the sectors of both corporate and personal insolvency.

One of his passions is wine, which has been a great part of his life. On his first audit at a wine merchants in the City, business stopped at 11am for a glass of Madeira and a slice of Dundee cake. Lunch was always accompanied by white Burgundy or claret! In the early 70s, together with a colleague, Jack ran the Stock Exchange Wine Society, during which time he took and passed - with honours - the Wine & Spirits Education Trust Higher Certificate & Diploma. In 1985, after his move to Bristol, he founded the Jeroboam Club with a solicitor friend. This club, comprising 40 members, still meets every month to taste fine wines, and the only interruption in its 30+ years has been caused by Covid-19.

I met Jack in 1993, when Proscenium Publications, my firm which produced bespoke theatre programmes for 36 theatres throughout the UK, went bust! My co-partner, Sean, who lived in Bristol and was a member of the Jeroboam Club, suggested we both meet up with Jack to discuss our predicament. After much reluctance (Jack and Sean were great friends, and insolvency was a bloody business!), Jack agreed to act for us, but was just about to take up another position in London. I got to know him well after that, and when DB was urgently looking for a treasurer, I suggested him as a possible candidate.

'I was president at this time', remembers Lester Capon, 'so Jeanette brought Jack up to Tewkesbury for an interview. Well, there wasn't much I could ask him about accountancy really. The black arts of mathematics and me don't get along too well. However, I could see from his history and from his obvious enthusiasm that he was the man for us, so of course I said yes. That's a decision you can all thank me for whenever you want, because Jack has vastly improved our financial position from the low point we were at. I can't remember if wine was consumed on that day, but if it was, I'm sure it was the finest.' Regarding Jack's general attitude, Lester continues: 'Jack is always so positive in his thinking. He inspires hopefulness whenever our monetary position is tenuous and keeps a firm rein on things when we're more flush. He is great to work with, always ready with a cheerful chuckle whilst remaining clear-sighted about the job in hand. I'm delighted that we are able to award him this well-deserved Honorary Fellowship.'

The art and craft of designer bookbinding was a revelation to Jack. Previously, bookmaking was more his line, being rather partial to attending racecourse meetings! His first memorable DB event was going over to the Bibliothek Wittockiana exhibition in Brussels in 2004, which was an eye opener to the quality of DB's exhibiting members' work. Since then he has been a devoted admirer of the craft.

Becoming treasurer in 2004 opened up another world of social activity and new friendships, and he often says how valued and cherished he feels while doing the work of DB treasurer. 'I am always deeply touched by the kindness I have experienced from everyone in the Society', said Jack. It was two way, as Wendy Hood fondly remembers: 'Jack had been treasurer for some time when I became Secretary in 2008, and his friendliness and help at the first few meeting I attended made my settling-in process extremely easy. Over the subsequent years his solid dependency on the end of the telephone has supported me so much in my role on a day-to-day basis.' Jack would occasionally drop in at Wendy's home in Bath on his way to one of his monthly Jeroboam tastings, and Wendy comments: 'he is always very gracious in his opinion of the wine I serve with lunch, undoubtedly not quite up to his usual standard! He is a good friend and I look forward to many more lunches.'

I think that everyone who comes in contact with Jack values his sympathetic temperament and diligent attention to doing the job well. Salut!

Jeanette Koch  


Bookbinding Videos
We have been fortunate to be offered some videos which we would like to share with you. They will bring you a couple of hours of binding and design escapism! One of the videos is James Brockman giving a lecture on his Concave Spine structure, the other, filmed by Rodney Crouch, is an interview with Edgar Mansfield and James Brockman on a collaborative project they did. Many thanks to James for letting us share these and we hope you enjoy them.




DBUK Competition - update
Due to the current lockdown, we realise that it may have been difficult for people to gather materials or be able to get to their workshops. At the moment, we are thinking that the competition will still go ahead, but this is based on the assumption that the lockdown will have been lifted by Oct/Nov and that City Lit will be open for business as usual.

Please contact us if you are struggling to work on your book or you feel that your entry will be jeopardised because of the current circumstances. We will then make a decision as to whether to postpone the competition or look at a virtual alternative.


DB International Bookbinding Competition 2021 - update
It is with sadness and regret that Designer Bookbinders and the Bodleian Libraries must announce that the DB International Bookbinding Competition 2021 'A Gathering of Leaves' has been postponed.

We know that there are some people who will have sourced or created their text, and maybe even started working on their binding, but with the current Covid-19 situation worldwide it would not be sensible, fair or maybe even possible to continue with the current planned timescale.

We plan to carry the registrations over unless binders wish us not to. Refunds of the Entry fee will be made if individuals wish.

All those registered will receive an email explaining the situation and giving you the opportunity to obtain a refund, and/or cancel your registration. If you haven't received an email by 1st April 2020, please email us at

The Bodleian are working on their future exhibition and events programmes, which are inevitably being affected by many changes of plans. We will announce the new timescales as soon as we know them.

For those of you who have decided their text, or possibly started their bindings, we can assure you that the theme will remain the same, so please be assured that you haven't wasted your time and efforts.

We hope that this extended time will give you the opportunity to bind the best possible binding you can. We are still very excited about the prospect of a fantastic exhibition of the very best craftsmanship Bookbinding has to offer, in a World Famous setting. We look forward to experiencing this with you at some point in the future.

Any binders who are not currently registered, but would like to register for the re-scheduled 'A Gathering of Leaves', please feel free to email us at and we will keep you informed of important dates, including when registration will re-open.

We are very sad to have to take this action, but know that you will understand. A lot of work has gone into the planning - we had several exciting venues to announce for the travelling exhibition, who we hope will still be on board for the re-launch!

For now, we wish you all good health at this very difficult time for everyone.

Stuart & Louise Brockman: Competition Organisers


New Honorary Fellow
Designer Bookbinders is very pleased to announce that Edward Bayntun Coward has been awarded Honorary Fellowship. Edward's bookshop and bindery is very well known and was founded by his great grandfather, George over a century ago. It moved to its present location in Bath in 1939.

Apart from running the bindery at the rear of the bookshop, thus helping to keep the tradition of fine binding alive Edward has been a huge supporter of DB and contemporary binding. He has commissioned many design bindings from a variety of binders for his own collection and helped to introduce other collectors, broadening the interest in our work.

He has not only donated generously to help fund various exhibitions but also helped in an essential and practical way with at least two major projects that we have undertaken. These would not have been anywhere near as successful without his input which is always given with the greatest good humour.



Designer Bookbinders