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[BKARTS] The Demise of Fine/Design bookbinding in America?

The ?In Flight? Exhibit in Denver at GBW Standards was truly a
pleasure to see. It was, however, curious for me as a binder to note
that only 4 of the 51 accepted submissions were in the ?fine
binding? category. Three were broadsides, one a calligraphic
manuscript and the remaining 43 pieces were artist books. Perhaps
the theme lent itself more to artist books? Or maybe fine binding in
this country is fading. Priscilla Spitler, the Exhibition Chairman
of GBW raises this question in her column in the most recent GBW
Newsletter. She adds that Craig Jensen (one of the jurors) noted
?that many fine binders have turned to the artists? book format of
creating their own text in non-traditional binding structures, while
bringing bringing a high level of craftsmanship to the work?. Artist
books have been seen to develop in scope, quality and intricacy in
recent years; exhibitions abound. Does this have any relation to the
dramatic decrease in design binding work being exhibited? Is
creating artistic design with the binding structure of a printed
paper text produced by another artist
(author/illustrator/papermaker) becoming stale? In this country in
particular it would seem. The ?book arts? have moved from commercial
craft to the individual art studio very quickly. It is perhaps a
characteristic of modern artists in general not to join or even
subordinate their work to another. Any other thoughts on this?

Scott  Kellar

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