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[BKARTS] The Demise of Fine/Design bookbinding in America?

The ?In Flight? Exhibit in Denver at GBW Standards was truly a pleasure to see. It was, however, curious for me as a binder to note that only 4 of the 51 accepted submissions were in the ?fine binding? category. Three were broadsides, one a calligraphic manuscript and the remaining 43 pieces were artist books. Perhaps the theme lent itself more to artist books? Or maybe fine binding in this country is fading. Priscilla Spitler, the Exhibition Chairman of GBW raises this question in her column in the most recent GBW Newsletter. She adds that Craig Jensen (one of the jurors) noted ?that many fine binders have turned to the artists? book format of creating their own text in non-traditional binding structures, while bringing bringing a high level of craftsmanship to the work?. Artist books have been seen to develop in scope, quality and intricacy in recent years; exhibitions abound. Does this have any relation to the dramatic decrease in design binding work being exhibited? Is creating artistic design with the binding structure of a printed paper text produced by another artist (author/illustrator/papermaker) becoming stale? In this country in particular it would seem. The ?book arts? have moved from commercial craft to the individual art studio very quickly. It is perhaps a characteristic of modern artists in general not to join or even subordinate their work to another. Any other thoughts on this?

Scott  Kellar

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