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Bookbinders' art celebrated

As the era of electronic books dawns, RIT celebrated the centuries-old art of hand-crafted books at Bookbinding 2000, a conference June 1-3 organized by David Pankow, curator of RIT's Melbert B. Cary Jr. Graphic Arts Collection. The international event centered on the installation and dedication of a book collection assembled over 40 years by Bernard Middleton, esteemed expert in book restoration.

"This was an extraordinary opportunity to celebrate Mr. Middleton's life work and to hear from the world's most knowledgeable experts on bookbinding," said Pankow. "The range of the presentations was amazing, from philosophies of the craft to its history and techniques, to the beauty of unique structures, fine gold tooling and the challenges of design in leather."

Twelve presenters with wide-ranging bookbinding backgrounds, including Middleton, talked on issues ranging from preserving rare and important books to decorative leather covering techniques. The conference was a sell-out, with all 400 tickets sold well in advance.