Belgian wins prestigious bookbinding competition

At an awards ceremony held last night at the National Library of Scotland (NLS), the winners of the Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Competition 2005, one of the book industry's most prestigious design competitions, were announced.

The competition, now in its 13th year and organised by NLS, has again attracted entries from the UK and Europe, with a top prize of £1,200 for the overall winner and £600 for the student winner.

The overall winner for 2005 is Julia van Mechelen from Belgium, with the student award going to Clara Schmidt from Germany. Given the exceptional standard of craftsmanship the judges have also commended the binding submitted by Andrea Odametey, also from Germany.

The judges of the competition were Linda Ramsay, Head of Conservation at the National Archives for Scotland, John McIntyre OBE (formerly Head of Preservation, NLS) and Rab Jackson, Preservation and Conservation Manager at NLS.

John McIntyre said: 'I was pleased and encouraged to see that the competition continues to attract entries of a high standard. It is true to say that this, together with European representation, is now a strong feature of the competition. The winning entry was outstanding, displaying a very high standard of both craftsmanship and design. The craft skills evident were especially outstanding, more so with the degree of difficulty undertaken. A very fine binding in every respect.'

Rab Jackson commented: 'The student winner, Clara Schmidt from Germany, submitted a binding which was finely executed and, interestingly, displayed a mixture of medieval techniques with modern materials. This worthy winner shows great potential and excellent craft and design skills.'

The Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Competition is generously sponsored by Mrs Elizabeth A Clark (formerly Soutar) of Moray. 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.

The winning entries are donated to the National Library and added to the Library's collection of rare, old and modern fine bindings.

13 January 2006

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