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Redesigning the Medieval book - Bookbinding tutor wins prize

Story added 8th Dec 2017

The 2018 Almanac for the Modern Medievalist


Build bookbinding tutor shares information on her recent prize winning piece and its exhibition at the Bodleian Library in Oxford...

"The competition, 'Redesigning the Medieval Book' was set up to accompany the exhibition  which was curated by Daniel Wakelin and has just opened at the Bodleian Library in Oxford (on until 22 April 2018). The competition was launched earlier in the year with workshops inviting us to come and look at some medieval manuscripts and books to see what we could discover about the relationship between the people who made them and their approach to design.

The experience was very enlightening, and it was a rare treat to be able to see such quirky, interesting and beautiful artefacts. For the competition, we were invited to create a book that drew upon some aspect of what we had seen and thought about. Some responded to book structures, some to the subject matter and some to the techniques used by medieval makers. Entries came from bookbinders, book artists, digital artists, calligraphers, illustrators, graphic designers and printmakers. Out of the entries submitted, twenty books were chosen to be exhibited and the winners’ books will become part of the Bodleian library’s collection.

My book was based on the structure of a girdle book, recognisable by its extended cover which was designed to hang over a belt, so it could be carried around easily. The content was derived from the medieval almanac which contained high days, holy days, the phases of the moon and other useful information that one might need on a day to day basis. I created ‘The 2018 Almanac for the Modern Medievalist’ to reflect a more inclusive society and a less biased history, my ‘saint’s days are populated with figures from history who have been overlooked, or deemed to be of less significance perhaps.

The book is constructed from recycled materials: old suede boots, an apron and old books. The interior is made from folded paper with digitally printed table of ‘saints’ and lunar calendar. Additional artwork is made using drawing ink, coloured pencil and rubber stamps. The cover and lining design has been worked using machine and hand embroidery. The book is finished with ribbon ties."

More images can be seen on  where you will also be able to read the full artist’s statement that supports the book. You can also read more about the competition at at the .

Bookbinding courses starting in 2018

Book conservation and repair workshop: intermediate and advanced

Book arts: experimental structures

Book arts: graphic techniques and book structure

Bookbinding: learn to bind artists books

Bookbinding: 10 projects for beginners