Several years ago, it occurred to me that while bringing along the next generation of collectors was important, supporting and encouraging the next generation of fine press printers, book artists, and design binders was every bit as important. In many ways, the design bindings are the most challenging. Almost by definition, they are one off objects…few institutions collect bindings and private collectors who do collect bindings tend, generally, to focus on the major, established binders. I’ve been pleased to place, somewhat steadily, the work of a number of emerging binders over the past several years…several of whom got their start at the North Bennet St. School.
I have, however, been striving to get a handful of people to really consider the work of these emerging binders as *important* in time and place. That is, there is remarkably strong work being created *today* that, in a decade or two down the line, will be recognized as being the tipping point of a what it shaping up to be a major shift/evolution in the trade. It appears at least one or two institutions have begun to agree…but the breakthrough has been at last two big shows (CA and NYC) where two important private collectors and another new one embraced what is happening in the trade. The two have major bindings in their respective collections, but both really ‘got’ that not only is there amazing work being created, and that it is cost effective…but that these young binders need to be supported and encouraged in their work. Between the two fairs, I sold a total of nine (9!) bindings…six of the during the NYC fair. As a bonus, the work of both Gabby Cooksey and Jackie Scott was featured in NYC ABAA fair coverage (inArchitectural Digest and BlouinArtInfo, the later also profiling Jamie Murphy’s wonderful A Modest Proposal).
I’m very hopeful that this bodes well for things to come for this new generation of design binders…and for the growth/evolution of modern design bindings are a collecting area. As I am packing books to ship, I thought I would post images of the various bindings, representing the work of six different binders. The images are quick and dirty, but I did my best to capture these wonderful bindings. Congratulations to all these young/emerging binders…I can’t wait to see what they create next.
Great job – I love the work product.
Thomas Slavin – President, The Rowfant Club