Winners of the Society of Bookbinders International Competition of 2019 Announced

The Society of Bookbinders has announced the winners of its SoB International Bookbinding Competition of 2019! As usual, the last stages of the competition took place alongside the conference of the Society of Bookbinders. This year it was held at the University of Bath between August 29th and September 1st. As always, the winning entries are each stunning in their own way, and we here at iBookBinding are happy to bring you the winning works!

The competition is held every two years and features submissions by bookbinders from all over the world. This year, there were 15 prizes awarded over five different categories as well as additional prizes for specific elements of bookbinding such as finishing and design. In addition to having been exhibited at the Society’s conference, this year’s winning entries will be exhibited at George Bayntun’s Bookshop in Bath, England in September as well as at Shepherds in London in October (dates will be announced here in the future.)

2019 SOB International Bookbinding Competition Winners 

People’s Choice Award

Ingeir Djuvik (Norway) — Vinterfugler, “Winter Birds” 

The People’s Choice Award is awarded to the entry which gets the most votes by delegates at the conference that accompanies the competition. 2019’s People’s Choice Award was well deserved by Norway-based hobbyist bookbinder Ingeir Djuvik, whose beautifully bound book echoes Scandinavian design influences. The book features beautiful edge painting, intricate headbands that melt into a soft white edge, and a beautiful design on the leather cover. Looking at the book creates a soothing impression that brings to mind winter landscapes and the colorful birds one can find in them. On his Facebook page, Ingeir has posted photos of the book:

Fine Binding First Prize / Shepherds Bookbinders Ltd The John Coleman Trophy

Rahel Scheufele (Switzerland) — The Periodic Table, Primo Levi

This year’s Fine Binding first prize was awarded to a contemporary style binding which displays overall excellent craftsmanship in the forwarding, finishing, craft skills, and use of material as well as outstanding concept and design. Rahel Scheufele, the winner of the second and the third prize in the Fine Binding category in the previous, 2017 SoB competition, is a bookbinder and creative designer based in Switzerland, whose website chronicles her impressive designs and bindings. Her winning entry this year cleverly breaks up the title of Primo Levi’s well known short story collection, reflecting elements of the typical periodic table’s design. The book’s austere color scheme gives off a scientific air that is suitable for the book’s theme. For more photos of Rahel’s work, check out the gallery on her website.

Fine Binding Second Prize 

Haein Song (UK) — The Songlines / Bruce Chatwin / Folio Society / 2010

Haein Song is a bookbinder based in the UK and a fellow of Designer Bookbinders. Her entry for this year is reflective of the high-quality bindings she achieves using traditional bookbinding tools. For more examples of her fine work, check out her website here. And to see some of the thought behind the careful work she does, check out this interview from 2014 with Herringbone Bookbindery.

The Complete Book First prize The Portnall Award 

Manuel Mazzotti (UK) — I DO — I UNDO — I REDO, Manuel Mazzotti & Harriet Bruce, Self-published, 2019

This year’s Complete Book first prize was awarded for excellent execution of a book, including both content and binding, by Manuelle Mazzoti. His bookbinding and printing studio in East London specializes in limited edition bookbinding, working to push the boundaries of what a book should look like and what materials should go into its production. His winning entry is a limited edition run of “I Do I Undo I Redo” which explores the concept of emergence in three pop up books. More photos of the work can be found on his website.

The Complete Book Second prize 

Ann Tout (UK) — To the Sydney Gardens — Artist’s Book  2019

Case Binding First Prize The Judges’ Award

Jane Adams (UK) — L’Allegro and Il Penseroso, John Milton and William Blake, The Limited Editions Club, New York, 1954

Jane Adams’ winning entry for the Case Binding category, which requires that entries incorporate book cloth and be of a case bound structure, is a surprisingly modern binding of the storied L’Allegro and Il Penseroso poems by John Milton (with illustrations by William Blake). Synthesizing the modern with the old, it continues the creative tradition which inspired John Milton to write these poems, and lead William Blake to illustrate them.

Restoration First Prize The Bernard Middleton Trophy

John Richards (UK) — Lucretius de rerum natura, Jacob Tonson, 1712

The first prize in this category was awarded to this beautiful restoration of an early 18th century binding of Lucretius’s poem, De Rerum Natura. Carefully restored by John Richards, this entry won the prize not only because of the quality of the work but also because it was restored with careful attention to the proper process, including documentation and a full written record of all work undertaken.

John Richards is the owner of The Bookshop in Warwickshire (England), and two-time winner of the SoB International Bookbinding Competition. For more information on him and his work, visit his website.

Historic Binding First Prize The ABA Educational Trust 

Sean Richards (USA) — Blank Book

Sean Richards, owner of Byzantium Studios and award-winning bookbinder, won the Historic Binding first prize for his entry which provides a creative twist on traditional bookbinding. For more on him and his work, check out this interview with Sean Richards at Oklahoma Magazine and the Facebook page of his Byzantium Studios.

The Wyvern Bindery Award for Best Newcomer

Amy Kitcherside (UK) — Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, Victor Gollancz Ltd, First Published 1938

Amy Kitcherside runs The Idle Bindery in her spare time and qualified for the Best Newcomer award with her beautiful submission of a minimalist book.

Fine Cut International Award for Finishing

Glenn Malkin (UK) — The Pyed Pyper. Illustrated by Angela Lemaire. Old Stile Press, 2002

Glen Malkin, the owner of Signature Bindings, won the first prize for Finishing with his beautiful, desert-themed binding of an embossed letter. His website can be found here:

We talked Glen after he won Designer Bookbinders’ Folio Society Prize for the Set Book in 2016. In can find this interview here.

Harmatan Leather Award for Forwarding

Percy So (Hong Kong) — Ame Ni Mo Makezu/Kenji Miyazawa/Kotosubo Japan/2016

Percy So is a bookbinder based in Hong Kong who seeks to blend together old world techniques with avant-garde design. Her miniature stone veneer binding does just that in a beautifully executed forwarding. Her website can be found here.

Incline Press Dave Godin Memorial Award for Animal-Free Binding

Cinco ± (Spain) — Aunque la pena no, Olvido García Valdés. Madrid, Del Centro de Editores, 2012. Ed.43/100

J Hewit & Sons Awards for Excellence in Design 

Coleen Curry (USA) — TOUCHEZ-VOIR / Morina Mongin / 2018

More of Coleen Curry’s fine designs can be found on her website. As outlined in her about page, her approach is based on designing in tune with the text and illustrations of the books and draws on a collection of experiences in the world, daily life, and in found objects and the natural world. She uses a combination of traditional materials and found objects, with manipulated leather and unique decorative techniques which lead to her beautiful designs, that aim to provide a “visual, sensual, and tactile experience.”

J Hewit & Sons Awards for Excellence in Craftsmanship 

Paul Johnson (UK) — Samuel Palmer has tea with Utamaro

This entry is typical of renown book artist Paul Johnson, based in the UK. His designs are one of a kind and push the boundaries of what can be considered a book and what is art. For more of his wonderful work, visit his website, and have a look around at the many offerings there.

Thank you to all the judges, participants, and the organizing committee! We look forward to seeing what will come in the next contest, and meanwhile, urge you to check out some of our other reporting on past bookbinding contests.

A printed exhibition catalog of the winning entries will be available for sale later in 2019.

Unless stated otherwise, all photos originate from and are used with the permission of the Society of Bookbinders, UK.

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