Ayrshire bookbinder ties up prestigious award

An Ayrshire man has beaten off competition from across Europe to win a prestigious bookbinding award. Tom McEwan from Glengarnock was announced as the Overall Winner of the 2007 Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Competition at ceremony a held last night at the National Library of Scotland (NLS) in Edinburgh, whilst the student prize went to Spain's Miguel Perez Fernandez.

This follows on from McEwan's achievement of last year, when he was made the 2006 Student Winner of the same competition. 'It was a huge surprise to be the overall winner following last year's success, this is a great encouragement for me to continue my bookbinding studies,' he said. McEwan won the prize for his binding of Goethe's Faust. Describing his work, he said: 'The sharp, angular and tapered forms in the design hint at Faust's ultimate fate following his pact with the devil.'

McEwan has been an enthusiastic book collector most of his life and in 2004 decided to take evening classes in book repair and restoration at Glasgow Metropolitan College (formerly Glasgow College of Building and Printing). Following this he enrolled as a mature student on the college's Fine Binding HNC course on a day-release basis over two years. He has now graduated from the HNC course and still attends evening classes.

This year the Student Winner was Miguel Perez Fernandez of Spain for his binding of Ritos Y Creencias Gallegas. The standard of the competition this year was deemed so high that the judges also highly commended a third entry, by Josefina Majo Diaz of Spain. NLS will be adding the commended entry to their collections along with those of the winners.

The competition, now in its 15th year and organised by NLS, has again attracted entries from across the UK and Europe, as far as Lithuania, with a top prize of £1,200 for the overall winner and £600 for the student winner.

The judges of the competition were Linda Green, Lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art, James Wilkinson, former Bindery Manager at St Andrews University Library, and Rab Jackson, Preservation and Conservation Manager at NLS. Wilkinson commented on Tom McEwan's binding, saying that 'all aspects of the binding are well executed and without question it is an extremely worthy winner'.

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.

All of the 2007 entries will be on display at the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, until 31 January.


National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge

Tel: 0131 623 3700


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22 January 2008

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