Open 10am-4pm, Tuesday-Saturday. Temporarily closed Through May 5.

Design Binding Today: OPEN • SET 2020

May 15th through July 11th

  West Coast exhibition of OPEN·SET 2020

In Collaboration with the American Academy of Bookbinding.

More than 100 fine bindings on display. Juried and curated by AAB.

Admission is free

OPEN•SET – Design Bindings from the Open •Set Competition

A Design Binding is a uniquely considered and beautifully executed cover of a book. The cover is made for the love of the content; the design itself is the binder’s interpretation of that content. This exhibition of bindings celebrates the passion that bookbinders hold for what exists within the pages, and the techniques and structures that excite them. The books are from around the world and all have been made in the past year.

The name OPEN SET was born when organizers of this American Bookbinding Competition decided that there would be two categories for binders to compete in—an open category, where the binder is free to chose the textblock, and a set category, in which all participants bind the same textblock. The competition invites binders from around the world to participate and only exhibits in the United States. The books feature the most creative response that binders are currently achieving.

For the 2020 competition, the set book was conceived and printed by Russell Maret of New York. Organizers discussed with Mr. Maret their request for large margins in the textblock, allowing binders the freedom to work within the pages of the book to support their design idea on the cover. Happy Abstract is a letter by William Blake. Mr. Maret printed the letter with a single line across each page spread. There are a great variety of interpretations of Blake’s text on display.

The design bindings on display were juried by renowned American binders Mark Esser, Patricia Owen and the Grolier’s own Monique Lallier. Each juror bound the set book, and these are on display as well.


American Bookbinders Museum

The American Bookbinders Museum is the only museum of its kind in North America, celebrating and exploring the history, tools and stories of bookbinders and bookbinding, from its earliest forms through the changes and innovations of the industrial revolution.

In addition to the craft and artistry of binding, we focus on the stories of the men, women, and children who worked in binderies.

Learn more