Open Set Jury

The American Academy of Bookbinding and Lang Ingalls, OPEN ⦁ SET Exhibition Coordinator, are pleased to announce the three-member jury for the competition and exhibition: Monique Lallier, Mark Esser, and Patricia Owen. The exhibition will showcase 100 books, traveling throughout the U.S. in 2020. The exhibition’s jurors are working professional binders with an impressive background in teaching, lecturing and exhibiting. The jury will choose both the prize-winning bindings and the books that will travel with the exhibition. We thank them in advance for accepting this huge job!


Monique Lallier was the Fine Binding Director of the American Academy of Bookbinding from 2005 to 2009. An internationally recognized bookbinder and book artist, Monique began her studies in the 1960s in Montreal at Cotnoir Cappone School of Fashion and L’art de la Reliure bookbinding school with Simone B. Roy. She continued her studies in Paris with Roger Arnoult, at Centro del bel Libro in Ascona with Edwin Heim and in Solothurn, Switzerland with Hugo Peller.

Monique’s work may be found in the collections of McGill University, Montreal; St. Joseph Oratory in Montreal for the Pope Jean-Paul II; Louisiana State University; University of North Carolina; as well as many private collections in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan. In Addition, Monique served as chair of the ‘Standards of Excellence’ Seminar for the Guild of BookWorkers for twelve years. Monique teaches privately and practices her craft full-time from her studio in Summerfield, North Carolina. She continues to participate in international exhibitions and recently won the Silver Prize at the Designer Bookbinders International Competition in the United Kingdom.

Monique is currently preparing a retrospective exhibition and biography of her life-long bookbinding career opening in November of 2018.


Mark Esser was introduced to bookbinding at the Harcourt Bindery in Boston in 1979. He then worked in the Conservation Bindery at the Newberry Library in Chicago while studying bookbinding privately with David Brock. Esser served an apprenticeship with William Anthony, first in Chicago, then at the University of Iowa, from 1982 to 1986. He developed the curriculum and became the first instructor for the hand bookbinding program at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, where he taught from 1986 to 1994. He was the Rare Book Conservator at the John J. Burns Library at Boston College from 1994 to 2008, and now works in private practice.

In addition to teaching numerous workshops over the years, Mark presented “Covering in Leather” at the 2003 Guild of Book Workers ‘Standards of Excellence’ Seminar. While he has spent the bulk of his career as a teacher and a rare book conservator he has focused more intently on fine binding since he began working privately. His binding for the 2011 New England Guild of Book Workers exhibition “deFINEd BINDINGS: 26 Bindings of the Pictorial Webster’s Dictionary” was chosen to receive a prize for Exquisite Craftsmanship. His binding for the Chicago Public Library’s 2011 “One Book, Many Interpretations: Second Edition” exhibition was among those given a Best Binding award.

He was a Distinguished Silver Prize winner in the 2013 and 2017 Designer Bookbinders International Competitions, and in 2014 was honored to be invited to participate in the Designer Bookbinders Anglo American exhibition “Inside/Out: Contemporary Bindings of Private Press Books.” Esser’s binding for the 2017 Open-Set Competition was awarded First Prize in the Open Category.

Esser has recently relocated to Providence, Rhode Island and hopes to draw inspiration from the Ocean State’s unique charms.


Patricia Owen began her bookbinding studies with Kathryn Gerlach in Vermont and then proceeded to New York City to study with Laura Young. Moving west, she took a leave from bookbinding to attend graduate school in Architecture, and after becoming a licensed and practicing Architect she began her extended studies in the French style of design binding with Eleanore Ramsey by traveling monthly from Los Angeles to San Francisco for eight years.  In 2005 she began to shift her concentration from architecture to design binding.

Patricia began exhibiting her work in 1987 and since then her bindings have been exhibited internationally and in the US in various settings:  with ARA (Les Amis de la Reliure d’Art) in France, Canada, Switzerland and Belgium, Designer Bookbinders and Society of Bookbinders in the United Kingdom, with the Estonian Association of Designer Bookbinders, Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, the Guild of BookWorkers and its chapters and with the Hand Bookbinders of California and the Open-Set Competition Exhibition.

Recognition includes being selected as a Maestri Rigilatore in the 2nd Mostra Internationale di Rilegetura d’Arte, and a “Premium “ Award from the Estonian Association of Designer Bookbinders in 2010.  Her binding for the 2017 Open-Set Competition was awarded Second Prize in the Set Book Category. Her bindings were also chosen to travel with the first Designer Bookbinders  International Competition in 2009 to 2010, as well as with the Design Bookbinders “Inside/Out: Contemporary Bindings of Private Press Books”  in 2014 to 2015. She started accepting commissions in 2011 and her work is held in collections in the US and overseas.

Patricia continues to construct bindings and boxes in her studio in Santa Monica, California.


L to R — Monique Lallier, Mark Esser, Patricia Owen and Lang Ingalls, exhibition coordinator