Harriet Smelt

2022 QEST D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust Scholar - Bookbinding
Devon

Harriet attained a BA in Book Arts and Design at London College of Communication. After which they worked at several binderies in London, most notably the Wyvern Bindery and Bookworks. During this period they completed a course in Advanced Level Fine Binding with Kathy Abbot at City Lit. Whilst self-employed, bookbinding for artists and publishers, Harriet taught at both Hertfordshire University and the University of Kingston. They joined as the last apprentice on the Queen’s Bindery Apprenticeship Scheme at the Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle, completing their City & Guilds level 3 in bookbinding. For the last year and a half Harriet has been working at George Bayntun, in Bath, where they work as a forwarder and edge gilder.

A QEST Scholarship will allow Harriet to study with various master bookbinders providing a comprehensive education. Perfecting techniques such as fine binding, cover decoration, paper repair, edge gilding and gold tooling will further their abilities and provide an opportunity to continue teaching this craft at a higher level to students in the future. In particular edge gilding and gold tooling are quickly diminishing in the UK and this tuition will enable Harriet to bring these skills back as well as incorporating it in their own work. 

Harriet strives to achieve equilibrium between art and skilled craftpersonship by binding works that interrupt the status quo in order to cross spaces and infiltrate largely undiversified markets.