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February 2009


Designer Bookbinders Competition 2008

The annual Designer Bookbinder Competition was judged at the end of October and the award ceremony was held in November at the John Rylands University Library in Manchester.

We are very pleased to announce that the 2008 J. Hewit & Son prize for 'The Interesting Treatment of Leather' was awarded to Andrew Brown of the The Cheshire Bindery, for his beautiful binding of The Ship of Death.

Following is a piece by Andrew describing the book and its binding.

The Ship of Death Author: D. H. Lawrence
Woodcut engravings by Blair Hughes Stanton
Bound 2008 by Andrew Brown Private Collection, UK

The Ship of Death is a collection of 'Last Poems' by D. H. Lawrence. In his prose Lawrence meditates heavily on the subjects of oblivion, God and death. This is not depressing verse though, moreover it is a celebration of life and humanity, of the unknown God that lives within us and all things. Most definitely not to be confused with religious piety, the work challenges us to realize that we can be at peace if we know that we are being taken care of by the gentleness of the unknown God. The poetry is accompanied by a selection of beautiful and enchanting woodcut engravings by Blair Hughes Stanton, energetic pieces which capture the vibrancy of Lawrence's work wonderfully.

I will end with a sentence from one of my favorites poems, I do feel this sentence encapsulates the main theme of The Ship of Death, it is the opening lines of 'The Hands of God':

"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But it is a much more fearful thing to fall out of them."

With this design I have paid homage to the sublime illustrations by Hughes Stanton without being to obvious but merely hinting at the shapes and movement they possess.

The book is bound in a terracotta goatskin with a relief section of black on the front board. On the front and rear boards are white dancing figures which have been part inlaid and part puckered, which then merge into a coloured area that spans the front and rear boards crossing the spine. This area has multi coloured pieces of leather (reds, blues, yellow, green and purple) mixed with tie-dye leathers of green and blue. All these were then sanded (Lacunosed) to make the image of a face. Around the design is blind tooling emanating outwards and black tooling of stars. The edges are coloured in white, terracotta, orange and black acrylic with complimenting double silk sewn endbands. Inside there are terracotta leather doublures and black suede flyleaves. The book is housed in a black suede lined tray-box which is covered in white cloth and titled on the spine in black.