UK and Europe win bookbinding design competition

England and the Netherlands have secured the top prizes for the most original and creative work in one of the book industry's most sought-after design competitions from the National Library of Scotland (NLS).

The Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Competition, organised annually by NLS, has been won by Stuart Brockman from England with the student award going to Anna Linssen from the Netherlands.

Susanne Natterer from Germany and Sayaka Fukuda from England were both commended in an internationally strong field of entrants.

The awards, now in their 12th year, attracted entries from all over Europe including Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Czech Republic, with a top prize of £1,200 for the overall winner and £600 for the student winner.

This year's winning entries, along with the winning entries from previous years, are currently on display in the Exhibition Hall at NLS, George IV Bridge, until 7 March.

First prize in the competition is given to the bookbinder who displays the most original and creative use of skills applied in a craft binding, with particular emphasis placed on originality and expression in the cover design.

Judge Laura West, a practising bookbinder from Skye Bindery commented, 'Stuart Brockman's winning entry entitled Anacreon, has a striking cover design and its combination of technique and materials showed real skill. The covering leather of fair calf was dyed with daring colours in a geometric design which worked remarkably well with tooling in black and gold.'

The Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Competition has been held by NLS for over a decade and is generously supported by Mrs Elizabeth A Clark (formerly Soutar) of Moray, who sponsors the competition. The aim of the competition is to assist in the advancement of the practice and development of craft binding skills and, most importantly, to encourage originality and creativity in craft binding, both from existing and new practitioners. It is a condition of the award that the winning entry is donated to the Library's growing collection of modern craft bindings.

Competition judge Rab Jackson commented, 'The quality of entries for this year's competition was extremely high. All judges had great difficulty in deciding winners for the competition. I witnessed some fine examples of craft workmanship and design spread over many fine bindings. Both the overall winner and student winner showed what could be achieved by the use of imagination and craft skills. Such skills are an example to all up and coming bookbinders in the UK and Europe.'

Judge John Woodhouse, Head of Preservation and Photography, John Rylands University Library, University of Manchester commented on the competition: 'I think that it is wonderful that NLS continues to support this annual bookbinding competition. It encourages both established and new binders to promote themselves and the very unique skills they have developed.'

24 February 2005

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