Every year or so the Designer Bookbinders society of the UK holds an exhibition of new works called Covered: Beauty and Art in Contemporary Bookbinding. Bookbinders seem to be a bit coy about showing their work online but at least some the 2013 Covered exhibition has been put online for everyone to appreciate and admire. Here are some of my favourites:
I’ve never been particularly interested in miniature books. I did have a miniature Alice in Wonderland when I was a child, but I don’t know what happened to it so I guess it wasn’t that precious to me. But lately I’ve come across various miniature libraries that do intrigue me. Like miniature houses (and Alice too), they invite one into a mysterious world where things are different. What could be in those books? Who might read them? What else happens there? I wonder…
Click the images to see more.
Last but not least is a miniature library that I have seen myself, in Queen Mary’s doll house at Windsor Castle. I was only 10 when I visited so I don’t remember much about the castle but I do remember the doll house! Apparently the books are real, and some were written specifically for the doll house but have not been published or perhaps even read before. It truly is a library for another world with its own secret literature. There is a project on now to reproduce one of the books in full size, but that still leaves a number of unique books unavailable to us commoners. Should we leave them that way or bring them into our world too?
In the spirit of the recent Valentine’s Day, here are some bibliobonbons to celebrate our love of books. Heart-shaped books seem to have been a craze in the 15th and 16th century. Below are a couple of beautiful examples, an illuminated music book and a prayer book (the shape symbolizing a heart open to God). There were also blank heart-shaped books that the owner could use to collect favourite love ballads. You can see an example of this and others at Ludmila’s livejournal page.
…there’s always the afterlife.
I thought this was an appropriate image for the Day of the Dead. In Mexico there is a tradition of making dioramas of skeletons doing everyday activities as part of celebrating the Day of the Dead. I once saw one depicting a skeleton getting dental work (with skeleton dentist and nurse), which is obviously more important for maintaining a nice appearance than for those of us with faces. It is not considered macabre or morbid, but a light-hearted way to deal with mortality and to feel like those who have passed are still with us. This sculpture comes from an exhibition of 21 bronze skeletons engaged in various pastimes, some ordinary (and earthy) and others mythical. Click on the image to see the rest of the exhibition. An artist bio (in Spanish) is here.
Watch in horror as a traditional bookbinder tortures, trusses, and imprisons a poor defenseless stack of paper!
The British Library is trying to raise £9M to acquire what is thought to be Europe’s oldest intact book, the Anglo-Saxon St. Cuthbert Gospel. The late 7th century book still has its original red leather cover, and contains the Gospel of John. The binding is beautifully decorated and the calligraphy is as clear and beautiful as it was when it was written 1300 years ago. You can get a look at it in the video below, and contribute to the acquisition fund at the British Library website.
This charming edifice is The House of Books Has No Windows by Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. To me it looks like where I might have to live if I don’t stop buying so many books! Read more and see a video of how it was constructed at Flavorwire. (Warning: Books were harmed in the making of this artwork!)