last update


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