2017 Designer Bookbinders (UK) International Prize-winners. My Favorites.

Congratulations to the prize winners from Designer Bookbinders 2017 International Competition! Excellent work all around, and there's too much good work out there - a pity that only 28 can be chosen -- all who submitted something should be extremely proud!

Here are my favorite bindings among the 28 prize winners. Links are provided to the binder's websites, where available. Enjoy!

Gavin Dovey . A lot to love in this binding. Love the background tones and texture. Love the Ivor Robinson vibe of the black line. Love the gilded touches, especially the title. Love the touches of color. Some behind the scene images and notes  about this binding are available from Dovey's blog . 

Gavin Dovey. A lot to love in this binding. Love the background tones and texture. Love the Ivor Robinson vibe of the black line. Love the gilded touches, especially the title. Love the touches of color. Some behind the scene images and notes about this binding are available from Dovey's blog

Fabrizio Bertolotti. Wood (or at least veneer) boards, with very attractive board attachment. The threads laced from the spine into the boards are neat, simple, and elegant. It is my second favorite aspect of the binding from a design standpoint -- the first is the background grain of the wood! Isn't it beautiful? The rest of the design, like the inlays on the spine, and the marquetry and gilding on the boards, are extremely impressive technically, but don't "pop" for me.

Fabrizio Bertolotti. Wood (or at least veneer) boards, with very attractive board attachment. The threads laced from the spine into the boards are neat, simple, and elegant. It is my second favorite aspect of the binding from a design standpoint -- the first is the background grain of the wood! Isn't it beautiful? The rest of the design, like the inlays on the spine, and the marquetry and gilding on the boards, are extremely impressive technically, but don't "pop" for me.

Daniel Wray . Steampunk vibe HIGHLY successful, in my opinion. Sometimes cool designs look good, but may not feel right or open well, or be structurally sound, but in this case, the binder is a very experienced conservator and binder, so I don't have those normal reservations. (One thing to watch out for In particular are acrylic paints which on top of leather or metal, and can look great in photos, but look sloppy in person.) Dang, it's cool. Some neat features of the design include the sewing thread laced over leather strips which are horizontally wrapped on the boards -- note the middle strip extends from the back board to the front like a belt!, and the labels look adequately distressed. The colors all look right, just so, to evoke a lightly corroded steampunk iron man!

Daniel Wray. Steampunk vibe HIGHLY successful, in my opinion. Sometimes cool designs look good, but may not feel right or open well, or be structurally sound, but in this case, the binder is a very experienced conservator and binder, so I don't have those normal reservations. (One thing to watch out for In particular are acrylic paints which on top of leather or metal, and can look great in photos, but look sloppy in person.) Dang, it's cool. Some neat features of the design include the sewing thread laced over leather strips which are horizontally wrapped on the boards -- note the middle strip extends from the back board to the front like a belt!, and the labels look adequately distressed. The colors all look right, just so, to evoke a lightly corroded steampunk iron man!

Keiko Fujii . Wowwwwww. Beautiful variety of textures, colors, and depth. But it is still highly focused, and balanced, because the varieties are subtle -- looks like only a couple shades of box calf and a couple shades of tawed goat to achieve the design. While wide open, I love the flush and smooth look of a covered spine. I wonder how it looks closed. EDIT:  Found a view of the opened spine , which is exposed and looks good.

Keiko Fujii. Wowwwwww. Beautiful variety of textures, colors, and depth. But it is still highly focused, and balanced, because the varieties are subtle -- looks like only a couple shades of box calf and a couple shades of tawed goat to achieve the design. While wide open, I love the flush and smooth look of a covered spine. I wonder how it looks closed. EDIT: Found a view of the opened spine, which is exposed and looks good.

Christopher Shaw . Cheeky, fun, and gilt to the nines. I'm not a great fan of pictorial design but this one has enough going on stylistically and technically to work very very well. Some nice repetitive elements, beautiful materials, lots of gold, killer technique and all precisely executed.

Christopher Shaw. Cheeky, fun, and gilt to the nines. I'm not a great fan of pictorial design but this one has enough going on stylistically and technically to work very very well. Some nice repetitive elements, beautiful materials, lots of gold, killer technique and all precisely executed.