2023 Elizabeth Soutar Award winning binding

I’ve been sitting on this news for a few months now and am beyond delighted to finally be able to share that I have won Best Creative Binding in the Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Competition for the second year in a row. The winners were announced at an event at the library in Edinburgh on 19 October. I was able to attend and was asked to share a bit about my creative process for this binding.

With some books the creative process can be a long and involved process that can include reading, re-reading, sketching, planning, and pondering, and even then it still evolves during the binding of the book. The creative process for this book took about 10 seconds. When climate change was announced as the theme for this year’s competition I knew immediately and unshakably that I would bind This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein, and I wanted to bind it in rubbish.

The technical process of binding this book, however, was a long and involved process that included testing, re-testing, sketching, planning, and researching. And it evolved constantly during the binding of the book.

I was set in the idea that the book would look ‘normal’ at a glance and wanted to complete as close to a fine binding as possible within the limitations. But I did have various questions in my mind about the source of the rubbish – my initial thought was to collect it from beaches here on the Isle of Iona, but I wasn’t convinced I would be able to find suitable materials, either in terms of size or malleability. What could I use in place of leather for covering and how in the world would I manage to sew endbands?

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