Tom McEwan’s career path has taken him through the diverse worlds of bookselling, book collecting, art and design, sculpture, diesinking, mechanical engineering, tool-making and, finally, bookbinding.
On graduating from Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Fine Art (Sculpture) in 1980, he trained as a diesinker with a London-based firm before going on to set up his own diesinking business in Scotland in 1994.
Tom began training as a bookbinder in 2004 at the Glasgow College of Building and Printing. Thereafter, he enjoyed a string of competition successes including the student prize in the National Library of Scotland’s Soutar Competition in 2006 and the overall top prize in the same competition just one year later. There were also prize-winning bindings in the 2009, 2011 and 2013 Society of Bookbinders International Competitions and in the Designer Bookbinders (DB) Competitions of 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013.
His greatest successes to date are winning the DB Mansfield Medal in 2012 and 2013. He was elected Fellow of Designer Bookbinders in 2014. Tom was commissioned to bind one of the Man Booker shortlisted books in 2014, 2017 and 2019. In 2017 he was a ‘Distinguished Silver Prize Winner’ at the 3rd Designer Bookbinders International Competition, an event held every 4 years.
2021 Man Booker Prize binding for Anuk Arudpragasm’s ‘A Passage North’.
2019 Man Booker Prize binding for Lucy Ellmann’s ‘Ducks Newburyport’.
2018 Exhibitor at Collect 2018, Sattchi Gallery, London.
2017 Man Booker Prize binding for Ali Smith’s ‘Autumn’.
2017 Distinguished winner Designer Bookbinders International Competition.
2017 Exhibitor at ‘Collect 2017‘, Saatchi Gallery, London.
2016 Judging panel member of NLS ‘Elizabeth Soutar’ Bookbinding Competition.
2014 Man Booker Prize binding for Neel Mukherjee’s ‘The Lives of Others’.
2014 Elected Fellow of Designer Bookbinders.
2013 BBC Radio Scotland ‘The Book Cafe‘.
2013 Overall winner Designer Bookbinders Annual Competition, awarded Mansfield Medal.
2013 Society of Bookbinders International Biennial Competition – best book by non-professional binder.
2013 Craft bindery opened at Courtyard Studios, Irvine.
2012 Overall winner Designer Bookbinders Annual Competition, awarded Mansfield Medal
2011 John Coleman Perpetual Award for Fine Bookbinding
2011 Overall Winner in Society of Bookbinders International Biennial Competition
2010 Elected Licentiate Member of Designer Bookbinders
2010 Runner-up in ‘Set Book’ category of Designer Bookbinders Annual Competition
2009 Winner of ‘Impact’ category in Society of Bookbinders International Biennial Competition
2009 Runner-up in ‘Set Book’ category of Designer Bookbinders Annual Competition
2007 Overall winner of the National Library of Scotland’s Soutar Bookbinding Competition
2006 Student entry winner in the National Library of Scotland’s Soutar Bookbinding Competition
Examples of Tom’s work are held in private and public collections in the UK, Europe and USA.
His bindings have been exhibited Internationally, including: National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh; the John Rylands Library, Manchester; Liverpool Central Library; Birmingham Central Library; the Bodleian Library, Oxford; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Saatchi Gallery, London; St Bride Foundation, London; Library of the Bauhaus University, Weimar; Bibliotheca Wittockiana , Brussels; Imprenta Municipal, Madrid; National Library of Estonia, Tallinn; The Grolier Club, New York; Houghton Library, Harvard; Bonhams, New York; Nerima Art Museum, Tokyo; Museum of Modern Art, Shiga, Japan .