Winners of the Designer Bookbinders International Bookbinding Competition 2017

This July results of the 3rd Designer Bookbinders International Bookbinding Competition were announced. Bookbinders from 34 countries decided to participate in the Competition and 28 prizewinners were chosen out of 184 entries.

International Competition has a different system of awards compared to the Designer Bookbinders Annual Competition. While the latter has different prizes assigned for different aspects of the craft (along with the main prizes for the set and open choice books), the former has the First Prize, the Second Prize along with 25 Distinguished Winners of the Silver Prize assigned and an additional prize: Oxford University Students’ Choice.

All in all, 74 bindings were selected for the Heroic Works exhibition you may visit in different cities of the UK, or in Boston (Massachusetts, USA) in the end of the year. Below you will find photos of some of the bookbinders at the awards ceremony along with selected bindings and descriptions.

I love the idea of setting one theme for a competition without having a set book. While there are lots of astonishing works among the participants of the Annual Competition, there always are some similarities when you have only one set book to work with. Here the imagination and creativity of bookbinders allowed us to enjoy a full scale diversity of styles, forms and bookbinding tricks. The only unfortunate thing is that it is hard to fully appreciate work of a bookbinder based only on digital images. That’s why I urge you to visit the exhibition.

Here are some photos from the awards ceremony, to understand how books look along each other:

Exhibition Schedule

23augallday28sepallday3rd International Designer Bookbinders Bookbinding Competition ExhibitionBirmingham, United Kingdom

02octallday14allday3rd International Designer Bookbinders Bookbinding Competition ExhibitionLondon, United Kingdom

03novallday22decallday3rd International Designer Bookbinders Bookbinding Competition ExhibitionBoston, MA, USA


Heroic Works Competition Catalogue includes all 184 entries and is available at the online shop of Designer Bookbinders for only £30.

First Prize

Andrea Odametey (Germany): Daedelus and Icarus.
(£10,000. Binding given to the Bodleian Library)

Second Prize

Rachel Ward-Sale (UK): The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite.
(£6,000. Binding given to the Getty Collection at Wormsley)

Silver Prize

The Silver Prize is a perspex doric column with the top and bottom in hallmarked sterling silver, engraved with the binder’s name. A silver block of type spelling out HERO sits on top (you can find a photo below). Designed and made by the jeweller Gerry Summers.

Juan Antonio Fernández Argenta (Spain): Islands

Kaitlin Barber (Canada): Equus

You can follow Kaitlin on Facebook or check her blog.

Fabrizio Bertolotti (Italy): Héraclès

That’s a new variant of a rounded spine crisscross binding.

You can follow Fabrizio on Facebook.

Hannah Brown (UK): The Fables of Æsop

Hannah has described the how the binding was created in in her blog with lots of details and photos. We share some of the photos below. However, for more information please visit her Tumblr account han-made bookbinding. You may also check her Facebook feed.

Martine Clamagirand-Roth (France): Les Métamorphoses d’Ovide

Gavin Dovey (USA): Metamorphoses

Some more photos from Gavin’s blog and Facebook feed:

Here you can find his professional web site: Paper Dragon Books. For more comments on the binding please visit Gavin’s blog.

Mark Esser (USA): Blind Date

Keiko Fujii (Japan): Légendes Japonaises

Eri Funazaki (UK): Great Little Man

Jenni Grey (UK): Antigone

Pénélope Guidoni (Czech Republic): Orphée à Eurydice

Here is Penelope’s Facebook account.

Kate Holland (UK): Nine Dragons

Midori Kunikata-Cockram (UK): The Serpent with Eight Heads


Monique Lallier (USA): Pantagruel

Follow the link to check Monique’s Facebook feed.

Anna Linssen, (The Netherlands): Attila

Ting-Hsuan Lu (Taiwan): Hope In Hell – Inside the World of Doctors without Borders

Tom McEwan (UK): Clair de Lune and other Troubadour Romances

Steven Orriss (UK): Dracula

Sol Rébora (Argentina): The Noble Knight Paris & the Fair Vienne

Find lots of fine bindings at Sol’s Facebook feed and her studio’s page.

Here are some more photos Sol shared with us:

Guadalupe Roldán Morales (Spain): Criaturas de la Mitología Espanõla

Here is Gueadalupe’s Facebook account.

Lots of detailed photos of the binding and the box may be found here:

Caroline Seidel (Germany): Die Prinzessin von Babylon

Christopher Shaw (UK): The Golden Ass

Priscilla Spitler (USA): In the Garden

More bindings on Priscilla’s Facebook feed.

Julian Thomas (UK): The Poems of Taliesin

A comment from Julian:

Dyed calf was embossed (I did not photograph this process) with blocks made of Polyfilla and fine gravel and then painted to give the effect of the patinated bronze of bronze-age weapons. The goatskin on the upper front board was coloured with red leather dye to represent dripping blood because parts of the poetry describing the battle scenes in Taliesin are very gory. The design of this binding changed and evolved considerably during its execution. Such as the verdigris patination changing to black. The blue leather is dyed calf embossed with sandpaper and shaded with red acrylic.

You can find some more information about Julian at his profile pages at Designer Bookbinders and Society of Bookbinders web sites.

Daniel Wray (UK): The Iron Man

Oxford University Students’ Choice

Kaori Maki (UK): The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter

More photos:


Photography credit for the front binding images and photos at the Award ceremony: Greg Smolonski.

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