‘Velvet’ 2006 by  Mårten Medbo; Photograph: Mårten Medbo, 2006

Bookbinding exhibition

The Bookbinders Collective is holding its inaugural exhibition at South Kensington bookseller Robert Frew’s shop from 3 December – 12 December

The Collective was set up by professional bookbinders Kate Holland and Jo Bird to promote bookbinding ‘as a modern, relevant artform for the 21st century’. The idea, presumably, being that there’s strength in numbers and that as group they’ll get more publicity than as individuals. And certainly if this, their inaugural show, is anything to go by, they deserve a bit of attention. It’s a small show, in the mezzanine gallery of this antiquarian book store, but the exhibits are all lovingly made, combining traditional bookbinding craft techniques with a contemporary aesthetic.

Kate Holland, who’s won a series of prizes at the annual Designer Bookbinders’ shows, is exhibiting a binding for Hamlet. The austere black leather surface is decorated with a random trail of little coloured dots which join up to make a pattern reminiscent of an insect’s flight path – giving the sombre leather a sense of fizzing energy and visual interest while keeping the design strictly abstract. Jo Bird (a Crafts Council Development Award winner) is showing an equally simple binding, depicting the outlines of delicate, pared down seedheads and foliage, while Eri Funazaki’s brilliant blue binding is decorated with a drifting ribbon and tiny gold fishes.