Bookbinding event at Central Library

A fascinating exhibition of work by Designer Bookbinders will be showcased in the Hornby Library and Picton Reading Room at Liverpool Central Library from Saturday 4 October to Sunday 23 November 2014.

On Saturday 4 October 2014 there will be several bookbinders present between 10am and 4pm. They will be able to answer questions and talk about the bindings. There will also be some bindings out of the showcases for people to examine closely.

The bindings on display in this exhibition reflect the high standards of craftsmanship achieved by contemporary British bookbinders.

A designed binding can easily take sixty hours or more to execute. In addition to working time at the bench the binder has to find a suitable text, create a design which they feel is appropriate, choose the materials they intend to use and and select techniques for making and decorating the binding. All this can take more time than the actual binding process.

Bookbinders have their own individual style of design. Some use materials or a technique to create a design while others may use an illustration or a passage from the book for inspiration. Designs range from the figurative to the fully abstract. The design need not stop with the book, binders often produce containers which reflect the design of the binding.

The choice of materials available to bookbinders is extensive. As well as the traditional ones such as leather and vellum, binders also use fabric, paper, wood, metal and plastics. These inspire exciting new techniques in response to the challenges of the materials.

Traditionally, books have been decorated with gold leaf or thinly pared leather applied to the cover as onlays. However the choices can be limitless. Leather and fabric can be stitched, impressed or coloured. Panels of different materials can be attached such as etched metal, wood or even found objects. By cutting and texturing, the boards themselves can be sculptured giving a three dimensional element to the binding.

Designer Bookbinders is one of the foremost bookbinding societies in the world. Since its inception it has been the model for many bookbinding societies in other countries, and its Fellows have an international reputation for their progressive influence on the art, design and technique of the hand-bound book.

The Society, begun in 1951 as the Guild of Contemporary Bookbinders, adopted a more structured organisation and a formal constitution in 1968 under its present name of Designer Bookbinders

The objectives of the Society are twofold: the preservation and improvement of the craft and design of fine bookbinding through the encouragement, exercise and maintenance of standards; and the promotion of public interest in the craft and design of fine bookbinding.

These aims are furthered by means of exhibitions, public lectures and master classes,  the publication of relevant books, periodicals and catalogues, and the organisation of an annual bookbinding competition. Membership of the Society is open to all. It is made up of four categories of membership, with Fellows and Licentiates being the exhibiting members.

For more information on membership and projects please visit our website:

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