by Lindy Gamolo
Bookmarked has been here on Bookbed for almost a year now (yey!), and we’ve found out that many of our readers are also interested in bookmarks—either they also actively collect, or they just find these little reading marking accessories cute and keep pieces without any intention of collecting.
But you might just change your mind about collecting bookmarks RIGHT NOW. Because for this month, we have Asim Maner of International Friends of Bookmarks (IFOB) as our guest writer. Their collections are some of the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen, and I’m sure you guys will agree!
Asim Maner has a technical background and has worked as a consultant for product development with photolithographic processes. In 1998, he came up with the idea of producing art bookmarks using photochemical etching of steel which is usually employed in the production of technical precision parts. Since 1999, his company Maner Consulting, based in Riehen, Switzerland, has been producing etched steel bookmarks with art motifs under the brand Mirage Bookmark. He is also producing all kinds of bookmarks for leading art museums in Switzerland and abroad.
While preparing a new website for Mirage Bookmark back in 2001, it occurred to Asim that an online exhibition of beautiful bookmarks from different ages and of varied design and make-up would be an attractive content for a website about bookmarks. Unfortunately, he had no such bookmarks at hand to put them on the exhibition. This is how he started collecting bookmarks. In the meantime, the Mirage Bookmark website has grown to become a leading reference site for bookmarks on the Internet, offering lots of information about bookmarks, such as its history, links, books and publications, quotes and articles about bookmarks.
We established this informal community of individuals with an interest in bookmarks in December 2015, so it is a rather new issue. Meanwhile, we have over 30 members from around 15 countries, all of them bookmark collectors, 75% of whom are female and several have a background as librarians. The question is, what is the purpose of such a community and what can I expect as a member of the IFOB?
I am well aware of the fact that I am writing these lines for Bookbed, which serves as a community for book sharing and storytelling. So, let me tell you how the IFOB was born.
I guess most of you probably know there are a lot of bookmark collectors online. Many of them are young people and they write blogs about bookmarks and present their collections on Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr and other platforms.
Also, many people like to be creative and produce homemade bookmarks. Some of them promote or sell their products on Etsy, DeviantArt, Behance or Ebay. There are even a few organisations gathering collectors of bookmarks under their roof, such as The Bookmark Society in the UK. I have the impression that the number of individuals interested in bookmarks is rapidly growing.
However, despite all these developments, the general knowledge about bookmarks is very low in the society, and a bookmark collector is still likely to be regarded as an oddball by the majority. So, the idea giving birth to IFOB was to change this situation, to make more people familiar with bookmarks and with all the stories about them and with the collecting of bookmarks.
The human mind understands facts much better when they are woven into a story. All the singular aspects of bookmarks, the many collectors, blogs and pictures stay isolated, like scattered freckles about the face of the Internet. Disconnected facts in the mind are like un-linked pages on the Web: they might as well not exist. What we need is a script for all the singular facts and actors involved in bookmarks out of various reasons to weave them into a good story. And we think this is where IFOB comes in – to become a good storyteller about bookmarks.
What can a member expect from the IFOB? Membership doesn’t you cost anything. We circulate a member list every month, which contains a few information about the members and their email addresses, where the members can share their interests in a few words. This enables them to find like-minded people to exchange emails and bookmarks with, of course.
Here are more things you can find from our website:
- Blog, where members can talk about their collections and how they got hooked on bookmarks
- Gallery, where members can display their remarkable collectors
- Reading Room, where members can read articles and interviews related to bookmarks
- News, where members can access updates and developments within the community
- Events, where members can know about events in different countries like book fairs, markets and swap meetings
We also intend to organize meetings among members in various towns and countries. This sounds a lot, and so should some of the readers be interested in our community, they are welcome to join us.
Thank you very much, Asim! Surely, you’ll be seeing new faces on the IFOB community sometime soon! For those interested to share their own bookmark-collecting stories, contact Bookbed. Our readers want to see your collection, too. Ciao for now! ☁