Being at the New Horizons Conference in Oxford was one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences I've had for a very long time. Margaret Johnson asked me to do a short piece for the Guild Newsletter on what most impressed me--a difficult choice, maybe because of the fact that we were sharing a cream-tea at Waddesdon Manor at the time!!
Being a relative newcomer to bookbinding, an enthusiastic amateur from a remote corner of the world, I think the most enduring impression for me was being totally absorbed in books, bookbinding and book people. The opportunity to meet and talk with and listen to binders who had until now only been names in books and journals, and to be inspired by what they are doing--I have come home with lots of new ideas buzzing in my head.
Unforgettable moments would have to include the visit to Wormsley Manor to see the Getty library. I found myself rendered speechless at the profusion of richness and beauty there, and forever grateful that there are people like John Paul Getty II, who collect and preserve these things, which is ultimately for the benefit of us all.
Choosing which seminars to attend so far ahead of the conference was an interesting exercise and on the whole I was pleased with my choices, being shown some very interesting structures and techniques with much emphasis on constructing books which function properly and with the least damage to their structure. (After the conference I found some lovely looking hand-made books in an arty- crafty shop, but they wouldn't open - grrrrr!!)
Spending a week in Christ Church and exploring Oxford was quite wonderful, too, and I have fallen in love with the city--I grew up only about 35 miles away, and although I knew the Vale of Aylesbury and Chilterns countryside very well, I rarely visited Oxford. All in all a marvelous experience, and I look forward to the next gathering, hopefully a little sooner than 10 years away!