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Romilly Saumarez Smith

By Paul Watson on .

Just got back from seeing Romilly Saumarez Smith: Bookbindings for Eileen Hogan at the V&A.

It’s a small exhibition, just outside the National Art Library, but it’s definitely worth a visit.

Obviously I was on the look-out for inspiration for binding the Book of the Erinyes, and Romilly Saumarez Smith didn’t let me down.

Romilly Saumarez Smith studied book binding and paper conservation at Camberwell School of Art and Crafts and went on to become the first female forwarder at Zaehnsdorf’s Bindery (Zaehnsdorf’s Bindery was taken over by Shepherds in 1998 and the bindery now trades under the single name of Sangorski & Sutcliffe.). In the 1990s she began increasingly to use metal in her bindings, and gradually moved to making jewellery.

One of the innovative materials Saumarez Smith uses for binding is pillow ticking (the strong cotton fabric used to cover pillows and mattresses). The ticking is coloured with multi-layered washes of leather dye, backed with Japanese paper and rubbed with beeswax. She also uses dye and wax resist techniques to great effect.

The exhibition at the V&A is on until 2nd August 2009. More details on the V&A website.

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