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Crafted book UK bound

Masterton bookbinder Jill Rose with her cover for the book Horses: History, Myth, Art, by Catherine Johns, her entry in the 2017 International Designer Bookbinders competition. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Masterton bookbinder Jill Rose chose a book about horses to cover for her entry in the 2017 International Designer Bookbinders competition, which she completed this Spring.

The theme for the competition was “Myths, legends and heroes”.

Competition rules only state a size restriction and that the book should be of good quality, which according to Jill “is a steep ask, considering that most books these days are produced as cheaply as possible”.

Jill considered Sir Edmund Hillary and heroes from World War I to the All Blacks, but finally chose a book she had bought at the British Museum in London – Horses: History, Myth, Art, by Catherine Johns, as horses are another passion of Jill’s.

“I haven’t got a hope of placing, but it is nice to be creative with a binding for a change,” Jill said. “I’m up against binders who do bespoke design binding for a living, daily, and amateurs who do nothing but beautiful bindings for fun, daily”.

Jill binds books part time herself at Spellbound Bookbinding.

Jill’s book is covered in New Zealand lambskin and the design includes a handpainted replica of a Blackfoot buffalo robe on the front cover, and hand-drawn replicas of ancient rock drawings on the back cover.

The book is enclosed in a clamshell box which has the names of many famous horses from the book lettered on the cover, and it is closed with a piece of bridle.

It will be a long wait to hear any results for the competition as the judging does not take place until next year. When the winners are chosen the first-placed book is given to the Bodleian Library in Oxford, UK, and the second-placed book goes to the Getty Collection in Wormsley, also in the UK.

In the first-ever international competition, 2009, the binders were all sent an unbound book, Water, which they could bind in any way they chose. A total of 240 entries were received with only Jill and one other from New Zealand.

In the second competition, 2013, the book subject was “Shakespeare”. There were 253 entries from all over the world, and only Jill entered from New Zealand.

Next year’s competition, like the previous two, will also have top three prizes of (pounds)10,000, and (pounds)6,000, (pounds)500.

A catalogue of all the bindings is sent to every competitor and Jill says it is a revelation to see no two books the same.


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