My Entry for This Year’s Society of Bookbinders International Competition

My Entry for This Year’s Society of Bookbinders International Competition

hello everyone I’m Stopan and it’s that
time of the where it’s early in the morning but it looks like night it’s
raining it’s cold outside wind is blowing but I’m here in my workshop and
I hope you find this new thing interesting so this year was society of
bookbinders international competition it’s organized once every two years
and it’s something I’ve been wishing to participate in for some time and this
this year I did it this was my entry but we’ll take a closer look in a bit it’s
it’s a book that I made entirely by myself it’s what with the help of my dad
but I said by myself because the paper is made by me the calligraphy inside is
made by me but I’m not going to spoil it all at once you will see it closely in a
while but before that just a quick thank you to society of bookbinders for
organizing this event and opening it for everybody around the world it’s really a
different feeling to to create something especially for competition yeah
it’s something that you put a lot more effort into and being judged and being
placed besides works by other bookbinders is really thrilling and
thank you for sending me this catalogue which includes the winners which I’m not
part of and every entry in all the categories and there was a mention that
this year the first time that somebody from Bulgaria has entered the contest
which is something that more or less I’m proud of and this leather, as you can see
is beautiful crimson red and I’ve used it only for this book but right now I’m
working on two more books with this leather and it’s the first time that I’m
going to be sewing them on tapes rather than cords one is drying in the press
right now and the other is waiting to its turn as you can see this is the
first time in a while that I’ve made the flat back smooth back rather and with
much thinner boards cover boards but yes I haven’t filmed a
video of making it but I will film the decorative process so you can expect
that you can expect some new pens from my dad I’m not sure how I’m going
to make that video but just keep it in mind and again for the competition
there’s going to be another one in two years again there’s going to be a
designer book binding designer book binders competition in 2021 so if any of
you are wondering if it’s worth it if you’re feeling nervous about this my
take on this is that you should you should go for it because even though
that I didn’t win anything this year it’s still still very a proud feeling just
there was an exhibition with every entry in the
competition for three days the weekend in the UK and many people saw my binding
and were kind enough to send me their regards and kind words and just it’s
it’s great experience and I’m for sure going to be doing this a lot more so
without wasting any more time let me show you this this book up close so here
it is I’ve named this book the fall of nazarius and the title is based on
a novel from a Bulgarian writer Emilian Stanev and it’s a story about a Bogomilian monk who struggles with
finding his faith and basically goes mad at one point so before I get into the
concept just let me show you what’s outside as you can see the front cover
has minimal tooling just a triple border and a few golden dots in key places the
book has three clasps on each side and a base, a clasp base on on the spine side
just to even things out but this central piece made by my dad
it’s quite something I’m still impressed and he when he saw it again he was like
I can’t believe I’ve managed to this but as you can see it has these gates it
has eight flowers with small three millimeter rhodolite pink garnets inside
and gates in the middle have four millimeter
pink garnets but unfortunately I can’t really make them shine from this
angle so the silver pieces right here are fixed on a square frame the whole
book is square I mean it’s that’s part of the theme and
it has this little like knob where you can flick it and the gates open revealing another tooled
design on the inside with 24 karat gold and a bit of blind tooling around it and
as you can see on the bottom of the door we had to put on some kind of legs
because it to keep it leveled so yeah this is the most intricate thing in the
book has the clasps followed this this design and just saying that you can see
in the middle of these are the nails which go through the cover and keep
everything together so the headband is a braid with cotton thread red and yellow
and glass beads woven in between and the a bit of gold tolling where the yellow
thread is shown some more gold dots on the side of the covers and the top clasp
and so I open the book just let me show you the spine as well it has a lot going
on and I’m not sure if everything is visible but basically it’s another kind
of intertwined frame with a bit of gold and blind tooling mixed, a bit irregular, a bit chaotic but that was the whole idea and on the backside in the
book that a rather simpler design but one that emulates the one in the front
and this inner frame is the size of the this silver silver frame so let me just
open everything up and you can see how the edges have been sprinkled with with
ink this time the endpapers from yellow hand paper you can see they’re stitched
with a ledger style and and fine end paper with a leather joint and this is
the hand paper that I made myself and we begin the whole manuscript which is
entirely written by me with with the pen and red ink again following the square
team and basically I’ve written in a kind of riddle manner some
thoughts of mind some anxieties of mine basically trying to reflect maybe what
this hero from from this novel was going through inside his mind when he was
considering how to go about his fate and how this impacts his life so it took
some time I think it took two weeks to write everything up and just to decorate
it as you can see each letter has some kind of decoration on it and it’s it’s
in Bulgarian so maybe you won’t find any reference to grab on to and I’m not sure
how many are are they but they are a lot and before I continue I would like to
show you some of my inspirations for this calligraphy so I have this
wonderful book that is like a list and a catalog of almost all the manuscripts in
this particular Institute but most of it is just information but on the back we
have a lot of beautifully digitized pictures of these manuscripts so I’m not
sure how exactly you would say in English
in hungarian this is a was a stuff is basically the tight actually this is
stuff and this is the title beneath it and as you can see it’s again in this
particular type of calligraphy with intertwined other letters inside the
letters so it’s kind of decorative and hiding the the meaning at the same time
and i really really like this type of old bulgarian calligraphy it’s it’s
awesome so i wanted to somehow do something like it so yeah but back to
this book when we made it we were really ecstatic with my dad this
is a first international competition we were pumping ourselves up that will win
and so on and so forth but in the end it it didn’t come to that with in win any
prize or what but when I saw the other entries I knew why this book looks great
when closed and when concentrating concert and elements but it has a lot of
flaws structural flaws and some decorative ones as well so the the
judges were very strict and looked at every single detail of the book and they
saw all those flaws I guess the book doesn’t open as properly as as
it should it’s a bit hard I mean the cover closes automatically but and there
was a bit of unevenness in in the covers as you can see it does this little twist
and it’s not supposed to to do this but I guess I miscalculated something and
this was the result but it’s not just this is many other things which there’s
probably no use in in explaining because it’s mostly my problem but it’s still a
beautiful book and I like it very much I’m not sure whether I should put it out
for sale or some kind of auction or should I keep it for myself as as a
keepsake for this first competition I’m still not sure but if you have any
thoughts or opinions on any of the topics that I discussed today feel free
to write in the comments and I welcome you all to visit my reopened Etsy shop
which I’ll send link and besides a society of book binders and designer
book binders to look up these upcoming competitions that I mentioned in the
beginning so thank you very much again for for watching and for supporting my
channel and my work and I’ll see you next time when I’ll be probably
decorating these two new red books that I showed you in the start of the video
so have a great week and I’ll see you next time


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    Immediately clicked when YT notified me. Thank you again for sharing with us your wonderful entry, hope you win the competition!

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    Eric F

    Wish I had known you did calligraphy… I would have added that to the commission… oh well, next time! Beautiful work ❤️

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    Charles Huggins

    Stopan even though you didn't win the competition you are #1 my friend your binding and creations are the top notch and beautiful and luxurious and just fantastic.

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    adorably smug little bastard

    I love that little window at the front cover

    Edit: I do believe you should keep it. Consider it a milestone in terms of design. Maybe incorporate the little window to your other journals, of course it doesn't have to be that intricate. I just thought it would be fun to have a place where you can slip little notes. If not a window maybe a dove for example, in a silver cage that you can open idk. I just really love what you and your dad did with the front cover.

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    Stunning work Stopan. Thanks for sharing the details and the flaws. The competition must be very tough indeed. You and your dad are producing ever more rich and meaningful work. Thank you for the inspiration. I'm already excited to see next year's entry!

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    Amazing work! I've been watching your channel and instagram for a while and have been planning on trying to learn this craft myself. You're truly inspirational.

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    Stopan, keep this beautiful book as it is so special to you; your thoughts, your first competition book, and such a masterpiece in metal and leather as well as pages. Just love it and do not worry, now you know what you need to create to show the competition you are there to stay and you are a magnificent artist. Your visions as so beautiful, and your father completes the creation. You are a team to be recond with. Keep on going with your superb books, as we enjoy seeing you create them. Bugaria must be so proud to have sons like you and your father, I would. Love you both and best regards from Canada.

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    Robert Lassiter

    I stumbled across your channel some time ago and have been bitten by the book binding bug ever since. I love your books and I am ready to start making books myself. Thank you for your inspiration. Yours truly from Alabama, USA. I’m also a sub btw.

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    What kind of feedback did you get from the judges? Were there any areas they weren't impressed with or felt you needed improvement on?

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    The ability of an artist to see both the beauty and the flaws of their work is a real gift. When you are ready I would love to hear some of the lessons you learned.

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    Mike Calhoun

    Consider this a learning lesson (if all the critiques were valid) to be kept as a reminder of what to focus on and avoid for the next competition. Beautiful tho, nonetheless!

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    That’s so great you got to represent your country And make a bit of history with your entry! The way you create your art and reveal it in these videos invites suspense! I get more excited to see what you’ve made in your films than any Hollywood production! It’s like being a kid on Christmas the way you take us into your work and we get to see all the little details and intricacies of cover, binding and text. Bring on the wonder!! and thank you for sharing a bit of your world… oh yes, my hat’s off to your father for his metalwork!

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    Hi Stopan, have you ever read A Canticle for Leibovitz? Sci-fi about future where global war happens and technology gets destroyed and everyone has to go back to old ways of doing things and scribe monks get together to save and transcribe all the books and knowledge that they can—by hand. Anyway your work reminds me of this and sorry for the run on sentences!

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    Emirhan Portakal

    i found you few days ago. You inspired me so much to make my own book. So, thank you. Keep uploading your beautiful work please. Cheers!

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    Ben Nathrai

    There's absolutely no shame in not scoring first place in such a harsh competition, and it's a great way to learn something new even as such an accomplished book binder!
    Love that book and how much thought and personality went into it.
    And as much as I would love to get it – I really think you should keep it. It marks an important milestone, hopefully with many competitions yet to follow. It's beautiful way beyond what the eye can see.
    Thanks so much for sharing this experience with us!

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    Brilliant work, Stopan. The calligraphy is exquisite! Your father did a marvelous work with the metal design along with the paper you made. Congratulations on your expertise. Doesn't matter that you didn't win when you can make a book so beautiful to pass down through the family. I can't imagine parting with it. I love the way you speak English. Utterly charming.

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    Keep the book, put it on display so you can look at it all the time to be an impetus, to ambition for the future to do even better, much success in the future

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    I'll buy it with my SOUL!!! you did a great work along with your dad! Such intricate details! May this help you improve a lot more though honestly it looks perfect for me I'm sure everyone one here would agree! Well if not then they probably know about book binding, maybe they can help? Anyways cheers! If I have the financial capability I would buy it! It's so magnificently done! 💕 Cheers! Have a good one!
    Edit: just a side note I do think it would be better if you keep it, since it would remind you of what should've been done during the competition, plus it would also remind you of what you can do! You poured your heart and soul into it after all!

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    Lisa Spears

    It is just so satisfying to watch your videos💕. I absolutley love your work❣❣ The gates are so creative and behond beautiful. One day I hope to be able to produce the quality I see in your books. I cant wait to see what's next. 😁

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