last update


Man Booker Prize 2018

The six bindings of this year's Man Booker Prize shortlist will be displayed at Bonhams, Montpelier St, London SW7 1HH from Wednesday 17th October for approximately two weeks in the main reception area.

To see all the bindings and read the binders' notes go to the Booker page in the Exhibitions section.


The Bookbinding Competition 2018


Faith Shannon: 24 February 1938 - 24 August 2018

It is with great sadness that I have to report that Faith Shannon died on August 24th, after a long illness. She had been in and out of hospital throughout the summer, always hoping to get back to her bindery to continue her work.

Those of us who knew her or had the privilege of being taught by her will remember her as an inspired and dedicated binder, always expecting the highest standards of herself and her students. She was an ambassador for bookbinding as well as a staunch supporter of Designer Bookbinders, and will be sadly missed by her friends, colleagues and family.

Faith was awarded an MBE in 1977 for services to bookbinding and was made an Honorary Fellow of Designer Bookbinders in 2013.

Rachel Ward-Sale


DB/SoB Joint Workshops

The 2018/19 programme of Joint Workshops is now available here. As ever, places are limited so don't delay if you would like to register!


Newsletter Editor Required
DB is looking for someone to take over the editing of the quarterly Newsletter. Whoever takes on this position needs to be computer literate. You can do all this from your own home, but you will need your own computer or laptop. There is remuneration attached to this position.

Could this be you? If you would like to find out more please contact Wendy Hood.


The Queen's Bindery Apprenticeship Scheme
The Queen's Bindery Apprenticeship Scheme is recruiting for the third intake to its pilot programme of a five-year apprenticeship in hand bookbinding, based in the Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle. Further details are available here.

Application is open until 1st July 2018, 23:55 BST.


Autumn Masterclasses Announced
The Autumn 2018 season of DB Masterclassses is now available for booking.

Sep 29-30: Dominic Riley - 'Knife Sharpening, Leather Paring and Covering'
Oct 20-21: Andrew Brown - 'Leatherworking & Decoration'
Nov 10-11: Midori Kunikata-Cockram - 'Hako Chitsu (Box Case)' 

Each Masterclass will be held at the St Bride bindery in Central London with a maximum class size of only 6 students, so early booking is recommended.

Full details here.


Rare Books London 2018: A Talk on Printing and Bookbinding
The next event run by the University of London Bibliophiles Committee will be on Wednesday 16th May. You are invited to a panel discussion which will explore a range of traditional and contemporary perspectives on bookbinding.

This event has been organised in conjunction with Birkbeck's Arts Week and Designer Bookbinders. The panel will be comprised of those who work in the industry - including DB Fellow Lester Capon - and individuals who collect fine bindings. Panelists will explore various perspectives on bookbinding and will examine the role of bookbinding in the modern age.

The discussion will be followed by a drinks reception, kindly sponsored by the Private Libraries Association.

The event is free but booking is essential via Eventbrite.

The UoL Bibliophiles Committee
6-9pm, Room 106, 1st Floor, 43 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1H 0PD


Turn the Page Symposium

This year Turn the Page is hosting their inaugural symposium the day before the fair. On May 24th 2018, the inaugural symposium will feature new and well-established voices, from Ton Sowden to recent graduates. The symposium aims to promote new research into the field of book arts, increase the public interest and knowledge, and to contribute to the academic and artistic field.

Symposiums dedicated to book arts are rare, and it is their hope that this first year will be successful enough to make the symposium an annual event, hosted yearly in conjunction with the Turn the Page.

You can register and pay for tickets can be found here.

Turn the Page are offering a discount code, allowing just the early bird fee to be paid for tickets! When you submit the registration form you should include 'SHARE2018' in your email.


HCA/Marsh Trainer Award

Winner of the 2018 award is bookbinder Kathy Abbott. For more details, see the HCA website.


DB Now: Exhibition of Design Bindings at St Bride Foundation
Designer Bookbinders will be displaying work by exhibiting Fellows and Licentiates as part of the DB Now rolling exhibition. The DB Now show at St Bride will be opening on Monday April 30th 2018 and will run until 12th May. The show will not be invigilated and opening hours will be Monday-Friday 9.30-11.30 & 2.30-5.30, Saturday 12th 10am-4pm.

Images of the exhibition can be seen on the DB Now page in the EXHIBITIONS section.


New Fellow For Designer Bookbinders

Designer Bookbinders are very pleased to announce that Haein Song is the latest Licentiate of Designer Bookbinders to be successful in her application to become a Fellow. We would like to congratulate Haein on her success and wish her well for her future as a Fellow with the society!

Haein picked up the Mansfield Medal for the best book in the competition in the 2017 Annual Competition, for her beautifully restrained binding of Emily Dickinson's Selected Poems.


DB Annual Competition 2018
This is a reminder that sheets for the 2018 DB Annual Bookbinding competition are still available for purchase at £25 (to Members) and £30 (for Non-members) to include packing, postage and entrance fee. The Set Book for the Competition in 2018 The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury, with an Introduction by Margaret Atwood and Illustrations by Marc Burckhardt. The 2017 set book sold out quickly so don't miss your opportunity to get your hands on a copy of this years as you will need one in order to enter!

The Illustrated Man is Ray Bradbury at his very best - sixteen startling tales that built on his breakout collection The Martian Chronicles and paved the way for his dystopian masterpiece Fahrenheit 451.

At first glance, this is science fiction rooted firmly in 1950s America - the paranoia of McCarthyism, apocalyptic fears of the Cold War, concern about colonial ambitions, racial segregation and the dangers of television. But as Bradbury's stories rise before us, we find that the questions he asks, and the anxieties he explores, are universal. In her insightful introduction, Margaret Atwood explores Bradbury's unique talent and how encountering his work in her formative years shaped her own writing.

You can order your copy of The Illustrated Man here.




Announcing a New Study Opportunity: BOOK CAMP - 2018 June 8-17
Dragon Press Bindery Highworth, Wiltshire

Limp Vellum Binding with Michael Burke
Edelpappband with Dieter Räder
Leather Chemise with Philippa Räder
Library Style Binding with Dominic Riley

Fees include tuition, materials and meals. For more information see


George Barlee 1927-2018

We are sad to announce the death of George Barlee on the 10th of February 2018.

George was Head of Management at J. Hewit & Sons for many years, during which time he oversaw radical modernisation of the company's tanning processes, culminating in the award of a Royal Warrant in 1975. George remained a warrant holder until his retirement in 1992.

In 1994 he was appointed as the President of the Society of Bookbinders, a position he held for four years.

For more information, visit the J. Hewit & Sons website.


Designer Bookbinders Day of Lectures
Rescheduled from 3rd March.

Saturday 5th May 2018
Maggs Bros. Bookshop, 48 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DR
(nearest tube station: Tottenham Court Road)

Lara Artemis: Inside the Parliamentary Archive
Jill Sellars: An Artist Remembered: the Creative Bindings of David Sellars
Ian Andrews: Fans, Tulips and Lace: The Representation of Fashionable Commodities in Gold Decoration on Books from 1500 - 1800

Full details on the LECTURES page.


AGM Speaker Announced
The Speaker at this year's AGM on Saturday 28 April is Christopher Brown, who will give an illustrated talk about life as an illustrator.

Christopher is an illustrator, printmaker and artist. He studied at the Royal College of Art, where he met and later assisted the master of the linocut, Edward Bawden snr. He is visiting lecturer in Fashion Menswear at Central St Martins and in MA Illustration at Camberwell College of Arts.

His clients include the Folio Society, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The New Yorker, The Bay Tree Food Company. His work has been exhibited widely including at the Royal Academy, The Fry Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and St.Judes Gallery and Michael Parkin Fine Art.

Christopher has written and illustrated An Alphabet of London (Merrell) and is currently working on An Alphabet of England. He has recently worked on illustrations for the Museum of London for
The Fire of London.


Wim Visscher MBE

This month Wim Visscher collected his MBE. The Heritage Craft Association was delighted to put forward Wim, the co-owner of William Cowley, producers of hand-crafted parchment and vellum since 1870 and the last parchment and vellum makers left in the UK.

Wim has worked tirelessly to keep this ancient craft alive. Congratulations, Wim! He will be one of the speakers at the HCA Crafts for the Future conference on 24 March. (details here)


World Book Day at Windsor Castle

World Book Day is a worldwide celebration of books and reading. On 2-3 March in this, the 21st year, Windsor Castle will be marking its unique contribution to the world of books.

Further details here.


DB Now: Exhibition of Design Bindings at the Oxford Fine Press Book Fair 2018

Saturday 24th March (11am - 6pm) - Sunday 25th March (10am - 5pm)
The Kassam Stadium Conference and Events Centre, Grenoble Road, Oxford, OX4 4XP

Admission for the two days is £5 and includes a catalogue.

More details here.


London Craft Week 2018

Designer Bookbinders is pleased to be taking part again in London Craft Week at St Bride. London Craft Week is an annual event that showcases exceptional craftsmanship through a journey-of-discovery programme featuring hidden workshops and unknown makers alongside celebrated masters, famous studios, galleries, shops and luxury brands.

Designer Bookbinders and the St Bride Foundation collaborate with a week of events celebrating fine printing and design bookbinding, including demonstrations, workshops, exhibitions and have-a-go sessions.

There are three key events for your diary happening over the course of LCW as follows:

DB Now: Exhibition of Design Bindings
Monday-Friday 9.30-11.30am & 2.30-5.30pm Saturday 12th May 10am-4pm

Printing Workshop
May 9th - 11th, 10.30am - 4.30pm

Open Day
Saturday May 12th, 10.00am - 5.00pm

Full details can be found here.


Designer Bookbinders Bursaries
Designer Bookbinders is pleased to have the opportunity to award bursaries to provide financial assistance towards the cost of the current programme of DB Masterclasses and Joint DB/SoB Workshops.

The bursaries are aimed at:

  • UK binders who need financial help to cover the class fees

Bursaries of £150 will be awarded to contribute to the cost of a DB Masterclass
Bursaries of £100 will be awarded to contribute to the cost of a Joint DB/SoB Workshop

  • Overseas binders who wish to travel to the UK to take part in classes and need help with travel costs

    Bursaries of £200 will be awarded to contribute to the cost of a DB Masterclass or a Joint DB/SoB workshop.
    The normal terms and conditions for bookings will apply to the Masterclass and Joint Workshop series.

The Number of bursaries is limited and they are available to bookbinders and practitioners of the craft who are seriously and actively pursuing ways to extend their skills and learning.

Applications will be accepted anytime after classes are announced but MUST arrive no later than 3 weeks prior to the class date. Participants who have already booked for the upcoming 2018 masterclasses are eligible to apply immediately.

Anyone who wishes to take advantage of these bursaries is asked to email or write to the DB Secretary naming the Masterclass or Workshop of choice. They will then be asked to complete an application form to be considered before an award is made.

If you would like any further information please contact the Secretary, Wendy Hood.


Designer Bookbinders Day of Lectures 2018
This year's event will be held on 3rd March at The Artworkers Guild, London WC1.

Full details are available here.


Designer Bookbinders Masterclasses 2017
Booking is now open for the first of 2017's DB Masterclass series to be held at the St Bride Bindery, London.

Class size is restricted to 6 students so early booking is strongly recommended.

Further details can be found here.


Designer Bookbinders Annual Competition: 2017 Winners Exhibition
Shepherds are proud to present the winning 17 bindings of the 2017 Designer Bookbinders Annual Competition in their Gillingham Street (London) store. This is the perfect opportunity to shop for your bookbinding materials whilst taking inspiration from these wonderful prizewinning bindings!

The Private View will take place on Thursday 18th January from 6-8pm and an invitation to this is open to everyone who wishes to attend. The Exhibition continues until 1st February.

Opening times: Monday - Friday 10am - 6pm
Saturday 10am - 5pm
30 Gillingham Street


If you have any news or information for this page, please email the website manager

The Bookbinding Competition 2017

Haein Song's Mansfield Medal-winning binding of the set book

Full details of all the prize-winners can be found in the COMPETITION section.


Heroic Works Goes International!
After a very successful tour in the UK at the Weston Library in Oxford, The Library of Birmingham and then St Bride Foundation in London, the Heroic Works exhibition is now over at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, USA from the 3rd November through until the 22nd December. The Exhibition at this venue will comprise of the 28 Prizewinners and the 8 USA binders only.


The Man Booker Bindings for 2017

George Sanders' winning book, Lincoln in the Bardo, bound by Mark Cockram

The Dinner and Prize announcement of the Man Booker took place on Tuesday 17th October. The six Man Booker binders for this year were: Mark Cockram, Stephen Conway, Sue Doggett, Kate Holland, Derek Hood and Tom McEwan. The bindings can be seen in the Exhibitions section.

Unfortunately, there will be no display of the bindings this year as the usual venue for the display was unable to accommodate them. Next year, 2018, will be the 50th Anniversary of the Booker Prize and it is hoped that there will be a display of a selection of the past Booker bindings to coincide with the celebrations. The Booker bindings organiser will be keeping in close contact with the PR company about this and we will inform members of any further info about this.


Hannah Brown becomes the Publications and Events Manager (PEM) for Designer Bookbinders
We are pleased to announce that Hannah Brown has now taken on the role of Publications and Events Manager (PEM) for Designer Bookbinders. The PEM is the switchboard for information coming in from members and going out to the public, and Hannah will be keeping an up-to-date diary of all DB activities including meetings, exhibitions and the significant dates of other events from SoB, and other major related societies. This diary will also include dates of book-related fairs, publication deadlines and any other significant events in order to prevent things being scheduled on conflicting dates.

The role also involves getting DB events properly publicised, this includes using social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and sending notices to everyone on the mailing list as appropriate. Part of Hannah's new role as PEM will also be to source new outlets for advertising such as in magazines, newsletters etc.

Hannah would welcome any feedback on her new role, or suggestions for places that DB could advertise that we have yet not tried in order to reach a larger audience. If you have any suggestions, Hannah would love to hear from you at


Designer Bookbinders on Instagram!
Designer Bookbinders now has an Instagram account. We can be found on @db_bookbinding_uk


Queen's Bindery Apprentice Scheme
Recruitment of the second intake to The Queen's Bindery Apprenticeship Scheme (QBAS) took place over June and July 2017. As well as conventional interviews, the rigorous assessment procedure included a one-day 'introduction to bookbinding' workshop at St Bride Institute (whose facilities were generously donated), during which candidates were observed for aptitude and ability. Laura Hollingworth and Emily MacMillan emerged successfully from the process and took up their posts, based in the Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle, at the start of October.

They are initially employed in a two-year foundation training programme at the end of which, if successful in assessment of their progress, they will be offered a further three years to begin developing areas of specialism. Alongside this, apprentices in the scheme undertake work experience in a variety of binderies from small one-person concerns to large commercial businesses.

Eleanor Lanham and Matthew Stockl have just completed the first year of their apprenticeships, culminating in both attaining City & Guilds Levels 1 and 2 Awards in bookbinding, the latter with distinction. A report of their their first year can be seen here (PDF).

QBAS now has a blog hosted by the Stationers' Company.

Philippa Räder, Head of the Royal Bindery


London Craft Week 2018
London Craft Week 2018 will run from the 9th to the 13th May, so put the date in your diary and watch this space.


2018 DB Annual Bookbinding Competition
The set book for the 2018 competition has been chosen from the Folio Society’s Christmas catalogue. The Folio will release the titles of their publications to their members in mid-October this year and until then we aren’t able to let you know the details.

Otherwise the schedule for the competition remains the same and we expect the date for completion of entries will be 13th October 2018.



Designer Bookbinders International Competition - Prizewinners Announced

First prize winner Andrea Odametey

Full details and pictures of all the prizewinners in the 2017 competition are now available in the COMPETITION section.


Martin Frost: Maker of the Year
We would like to congratulate foredge painter Martin Frost on receiving The Heritage Craft Association Maker of the Year Award. Martin is the only foredge painter still working in the UK, he was a speaker at the SoB conference in 2015 and has given lectures and demonstrations to Designer Bookbinders and the Society of Bookbinders.

The Heritage Crafts Association is the advocacy body for traditional heritage crafts. Working in partnership with Government and key agencies, it provides a focus for craftspeople, groups, societies and guilds, as well as individuals who care about the loss of traditional crafts skills. It aims to support heritage crafts through a range of means, including advice, networking, training and access to public and private funding.

Examples of Martin's work can be seen here.


Christopher Clarkson
It is with sadness that we must announce the death of Christopher Clarkson on 30th March.

Chris was a pre-eminent figure in the world of book and manuscript conservation and the history of bookbinding. His wide interests, extraordinary capacity for hard work, his thoroughness and endless curiosity, as well as his remarkable manual skills, gave him a stature in the field that it will be hard to equal. He worked at Sandy Cockerell's and was involved in the rescue of books following the Florence floods, amongst many other achievements. He taught and lectured in many countries across the world and will be remembered as an inspiring teacher and an unequalled source of knowledge. He will be greatly missed.


Bindery Hire in London
It is now possible to hire the Guidecca Room bindery at St Bride Foundation, Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8EQ.

The room is small but well lit and equipped with new benches, several nipping and finishing presses, a board chopper etc. and running water. There is space for up to 7 participants – depending on the type of work involved – and the room can be used for personal bookbinding projects or private tuition, subject to agreement.

Available week days and weekends.

The hire of the Guidecca Room and equipment is £130 per day (9.00am - 5.00pm).
Additional time is £30 per hour or part thereof.

If you would like more information or would like to book the bindery, please contact the DB Secretary, Wendy Hood.


Africa Boards

We are delighted that the collection has now sold for £40,000.
75% goes to the Ethiopian Heritage Fund; 25% to Designer Bookbinders.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the project. Special thanks to Hannah Brown who also made the presentation box.

It is hoped that the whole collection can be exhibited in the not too distant future.

At the Antiquarian Booksellers Fair in June 2011 Designer Bookbinders will be exhibiting something a bit different. 35 Fellows and Licentiates of the society have each designed and made a 255 x 180mm board based on the theme of Africa. These will be housed in a Tulip and Oak wooden presentation container made by Hannah Brown, and sold as a group in aid of The Ethiopian Heritage Fund.

These boards form a wonderful 'exhibition in a box' - a snapshot of the richly varied type of work being produced in the early 21st. Century by contemporary bookbinders.

This is a way of using our skills to help those less fortunate and also contribute to the preservation of some of the most wonderful objects in the world.

Modern bookbinding is flourishing and there are several stunning private and public collections around the world. This unique project could enhance one such. Here is an opportunity to purchase a dazzling selection of many different styles and techniques.

Lester Capon comments, "Having worked on some of the Ethiopian artifacts and witnessed the extremely difficult conditions in which the people live and work I tried to think of ways in which I could help. I was working on the objects half way up mountains and on my hands and knees on the bare earth, but, of course, I could come home afterwards to the luxury of my bindery and home.

"It was with some trepidation that I suggested this idea to my friends and colleagues in Designer Bookbinders, but they responded with great generosity, entering wholeheartedly into the spirit of the project and have created a wonderful object."

The container and boards will be exhibited and for sale at the London Antiquarian Book Fair in the Olympia Exhibition Centre, on the George Bayntun stand from 9th. - 11th June 2011. 75% of proceeds to The Ethiopian Heritage Fund. (registered charity no. 1110969 25% of proceeds to Designer Bookbinders (registered charity no. 282018)



Designer Bookbinders