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Transferring Design

Transferring Design is an exciting initiative to create awareness about the bookbinding and book arts scene.

With the closure of the last few full-time bookbinding courses in the UK, there has been a decline in the number of young binders with training in art and design applying to become exhibiting members of Designer Bookbinders. Transferring Design is a new and exciting initiative which we hope will make students aware of the current bookbinding and book arts scene, as well as its position within the wider spectrum of the arts and crafts, in the UK and beyond.

Designer Bookbinders, working with The Printing Charity, is funding sessions in colleges where practising binders can show samples of their craft and explain the processes involved in designing and binding a book. The aim of these sessions is to introduce students to the possibilities of bookbinding and encourage them to incorporate some of the techniques in their work.

Edinburgh College of Art, Tom McEwan and Gillan Stewart, 2023

Tom McEwan and Gillian Stewart ran a one-day workshop for Students at Edinburgh College of Art funded by The Printing Charity.

In the morning Gillian ran a workshop for 12 students, where they made a multiple section exposed spine book using the students’ own artwork and sketches for the hardcovers and for some pages. She was keen to show how they could make their own books once working on their own, so they also covered paper and material selection, grain direction, tools and suppliers.

In the afternoon, Tom led 15 students in making a concertina book with guarded joints and drummed on covers. It was a mixed group of students from across textiles, photography, contemporary art practice and graphic design, all of whom were enthusiastic and keen to learn.

Bath Spa University, Kate Holland,  2023

Bookbinding has been very enthusiastically received at Bath Spa. Kate Holland will be running six introductory workshops which are all already fully signed up. Then moving on to box-making, multi-section and individual projects through the summer term. The department (slightly strong, really a corner) is being kitted out as we speak and has had all nipping presses fixed. These sessions are funded by The Printing Charity.

Glasgow School Of Art, Tom McEwan, 2023

Tom McEwan taught three one day workshops for twenty 3rd and 4th year graphics students at Glasgow School of Art, funded by The Printing Charity. The classes covered pamphlet binding, Japanese stab binding, concertina binding and multi-section hard cover binding. For most of the students this was their first hands on experience of bookbinding, but they all produced several lovely books and were keen to study the subject further.

Lincoln College of Art, Mark Cockram, September 2022

Mark Cockram taught an Intensive 3 day workshop in Bookarts and printing as part of the CODEX element in the Foundation Degree Arts curriculum at Lincoln College of Arts. Topics covered included form and function, traditional print techniques, material use and the making of a number of appropriate books combining all of the above. Funding for the course was provided by The Printing Charity.

West Dean College, Rachel Ward-Sale, 7-10 Feb 2023

This course, funded by the Clothworkers’ Company enabled nine students from the Books and Paper Conservation Graduate Diploma course to learn full leather flexible binding techniques. These highly qualified students, many from overseas, will be pursuing careers in conservation at libraries and institutions around the world and in the UK. For most of the group this was their first experience of full leather binding and only the second time they had pared leather. The students worked hard, learning several new techniques every day, but by Friday afternoon everyone had completed a lovely full leather binding.

West Dean College, Rachel Ward-Sale, December 2022

Rachel Ward-Sale taught a five-day quarter leather binding course to the Book and Paper Conservation Graduate Diploma students at West Dean College, Chichester, funded by The Printing Charity. During the week the students sewed sections onto recessed cords then laced on boards, before sewing endbands and covering the spines in leather. For many of the students this was their first experience of working with leather, but everyone produced a beautiful quarter leather binding with marbled paper sides.