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Tom McEwan

homemade book binding


Tom graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Fine Art (Sculpture) in 1980 then trained as a die-sinker with a London-based firm before going on to set up his own engraving and die-sinking business in Scotland in 1994.

Tom began training as a bookbinder in 2004 at the Glasgow College of Building and Printing. Thereafter, he enjoyed a string of competition successes including the student prize in the National Library of Scotland’s Soutar Competition in 2006 and the overall top prize in the same competition just one year later. There were also prize-winning bindings in the 2009, 2011 and 2013 Society of Bookbinders International Competitions and in the Designer Bookbinders Competitions of 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. He also won the Designer Bookbinders Mansfield Medal in 2012 and 2013. He was elected Fellow of Designer Bookbinders in 2014.

Examples of Tom’s work are held in many public and private collections in the UK, USA and EU. In 2013 Tom established a craft bindery in Irvine, Ayrshire where he continues to work on commissioned design bindings and also teaches and mentors art and bookbinding students.

Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution
Edited by Margarette Lincoln
Thames and Hudson
Bound in 2023
287 x 254 x 37mm

Sewn on linen tapes using original sewing stations.  Covering leather and doublures are of hand-dyed natural goatskin coloured with spirit and aniline dyes through several applications of paste-resist.  Subsequent decoration is of  inlayed gold-tooled leather with blind and pigment foil tooling.  All edges were given a foundation layer of transfer printed imagery and acrylic ink background colour, finished with gold and blind tooling over gold leaf fragments.  Endbands are gilded leather over a leather core.

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
Galley Beggar Press, 2019
Bound in 2019
Booker Prize binding


The 1030 pages, essentially of one sentence, distributed over 29 sections, each of 36 pages, created an unusually thick textblock. This gave the opportunity for some extensive design work on the page edges and spine.

The covering leather and doublures are of natural goat decorated using craquelle techniques with several applications of printed and dyed resists. The base design elements were then emphasised with gold and blind-tooled lines. All edges were decorated with acrylic ink, transfer print, gold leaf fragments and gold-tooled lines. Endbands are of decorated leather to match the edge decoration.

Lazarillo De Tormes
Gwasg Gregynog, 1991
Bound in 2016

lying press bookbinding

Aucassin and Nicolette
Folio Society, 1947
Bound in 2011

Aucassin Folio

Aucassin and Nicolette
George G Harrap, c1920
Bound in 2018

For Sale: £2400.00

Le Poete a New-York by Federico Garcia Lorca
GLM, 1948
Bound in 2017

Poet in New York book

Doublures and covering leather are of hand-dyed natural goatskin using combination of hand-applied and printed paste resists. Further decoration constructed from feathered goatskin onlays and gold-tooled inlays. Endpapers are hand-painted with acrylic ink and water colours. All edges decorated with acrylic ink and gold-tooled lines.

Intimate Leaves from a Designer’s Notebook by John Ryder
Gwasg Gregynog, 1993
Copy no. 178 of 400
Bound in 2013

Intimate Leaves

Covering leather and doublures are of hand-dyed natural goatskin decorated with print and flaked gold with the addition of blind and gold-tooled lines and textures. All edges and flyleaves are decorated with ink, transfer print, gold flakes and tooled gold, acrylic ink and watercolour.

Happy Abstract by William Blake
Russell Maret, 2019
Bound in 2019

book binding post


Email: tmcewan@ed-co.net
Website: http://mcewan.co.uk/tm/
Instagram: @tmcewan
Facebook: @mcewantj
Twitter: @mcewant
Accepts Commissions: Yes