Designer Bookbinders Day of Lectures 2017

Saturday March 4th 2017
Art Workers Guild
Queens Square

Tickets will be available to purchase on the door.
For the day: DB members £20, non-members £30, students £10
Per lecture: DB members £8, non-members £12, students £4


Karen Bleitz: The Mechanical Word

In a time of fake news, alternative facts, and runaway algorithms, Karen Bleitz looks back at a series of works titled 'The Mechanical Word' in which she experiments with ways and means of pinning down this slippery thing we call language. She says: "Though we’re not always conscious of it, words are some of the most easily manipulated elements in our daily lives. Throughout the day, we constantly massage and reorder words and letters to create a new meaning or to elicit a reaction. What if, however, words had fixed laws and rules that regulate their use? What if they were more like machines? What dialogue would that bring about?"

Karen Bleitz studied literature at the University of California, Davis and at Mills College in Oakland. Her interest in book arts led her to a year’s scholarship at Camberwell College of Art, where she went on to teach. She spent ten years with the renowned Circle Press in London, and in 2006 was a co-founder of Arc Editions. Her Interactive and often sculptural books draw readers in by allowing them to alter or manipulate the page. Books with machines, pop-ups, and magnets become dynamic stages where the reader actively participates in debates around issues that range from the evolution of language to the role of gender and the body in communication.


John Gillis: Can You Judge a Book by its Cover?
Interpreting the Physical Features of the Faddan More Psalter

When in July 2006 an early medieval insular manuscript was unearthed from the Faddan More Bog in Co. Tipperary, the event afforded a rare opportunity to study in detail all aspects of what is now one of the National Museum of Ireland’s top ten treasures. Dating from the late eighth century the codex is an illuminated psalter, written in latin, from the age of the great Irish illuminated manuscripts. Although in a poor state of preservation having been entombed in its own inhospitable time capsule for over a millennium, many features of the original binding have somehow survived. One unexpected feature was the vegetable tanned leather cover, which seemed to draw stylistically from Near Eastern models for its form and is unknown to us in a Western context. In his lecture John will describe the material nature of the Psalter and some of these unique features, while posing questions about the source of Oriental influence.

John Gillis is a Senior Manuscript Conservator and currently works in Trinity College Library Conservation Department. In 1988 he established and worked as Head of Conservation in the Delmas Conservation Bindery at Archbishop Marsh’s Library, Dublin. John has been teaching book conservation techniques and theory in Italy for twenty years. He lectures both at home and abroad and has been published in a number of journals and monographs. His work on the Faddan More Psalter won him the Heritage Council of Ireland Conservation Award in 2010. Now writing a doctoral thesis focusing on codicological and historical aspects of the Faddan More Psalter, John has twice been a resident scholar in the Getty Research Institute in Los Angles and has lectured widely in the United States while carrying out his research.


Marianne Tidcombe: Bookbinding as a Fine Art

Illustrating her lecture with a selection of supremely beautiful bindings, Dr Tidcombe will discuss what it is that makes bookbinding a fine art.  Her talk will touch on all the main aspects of the craft - the execution, exhibition, sale and collecting of bindings, in the past and in the present - and show that the desirability and the value of fine bindings are tied up as much in their particular craftsmanship as in their design. Looking to the future of hand-bookbinding, when patrons and collectors expect to pay huge sums for art, she asserts that the craft’s survival, and certainly its success, will be determined by its craftsmanship.

Marianne Tidcombe is a bibliographer and bookbinding historian. She has an MA in librarianship from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and trained in bookbinding and bibliography at the Hunt Institute, Pittsburgh. Her PhD thesis at University College London was on the Bookbindings of T. J. Cobden-Sanderson. This, and her subsequent books on the Doves Bindery, the Doves Press, and Women Bookbinders, were published by the British Library. She has lectured widely on various topics of historical bookbinding, ranging from the women binders of Little Gidding in the seventeenth century to the sumptuous jewelled Cosway and Vellucent bindings in the early twentieth century. Her next book will be on the eminent English binder Katharine Adams.


Peter Jones: Making Life Difficult - Jones’ Approach to Bookbinding

Peter Jones takes the idea of the bound book into new and exciting directions through his use of non-traditional materials - such as wood and acrylic - as well as experiments with new structures and techniques. The binding is always specific to the book, and he is constantly seeking solutions to the needs that each book presents. In his talk Peter will concentrate on his work from the last fifteen years, examining his personal approach to the processes he uses to create his very varied Design Bindings. Sometimes this results in a conventional structure but oftentimes he is developing something quite new to him.

Peter Jones studied Economics at Bristol University, then worked in London as a furniture restorer, leather liner and retail manager. In 1985 he moved to Brighton and enrolled in bookbinding classes at Brighton Polytechnic. He has been self-employed since 1988 as carpenter, bookbinder and teacher of bookbinding. He was elected a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders in 1995 and served as President from 2005 to 2007. His work has been exhibited internationally and held in numerous private, corporate and national collections. Peter now lives and works in Wannock, East Sussex.




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