Books: Designer Bindings

‘Helene Schjerfbeck, piirustuksia ja akvarelleja’ by Lena Holger

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Full-leather binding with goatskin spine, parchment covers and decorative stitching.

This Finnish title, Helene Schjerfbeck’s drawings and water colours, includes some of her less known work – she is one of Finland’s most famous and cherished painters. The book is bound in reindeer parchment that has been laminated with goat skin, which forms the lining of the inner cover. The pages have been sewn on long strands of unbleached thread that continue as a laced-through pattern across both covers. The raised bands can be seen on the spine. The edges of the covers have been crocheted with the same thread. This binding is very special to me in many ways. Helene Schjerfbeck is my all time favourite painter, I once wrote an essay about her life which gave me very touching insight into her person. This title waited for its binding for many years, I never felt quite ready to do it justice. The time came, and in 2005, ten years after I first entered the Designer Bookbinders’ annual competition at the British Library in London and in what was my last time of taking part in that event, this binding won the Open Choice Book 1st Prize.

In private collection