Editor's note: Clemens was member #5 of IFOB in 2015. He has interesting approaches to his collection specialties and ways of showcasing his collection.
Do you have any favorite types or special emphasis in your collection?
The main collecting track I follow goes to bookmarks representing towns or countries with respect to motive, material, or manufacturing technique. A big point here is made of course by bookmarks showing reproductions of paintings, a good entry into the world of fine arts. So, a bookmark is a personal traveling souvenir but also a keyhole allowing a look into the character of a location. Here are some examples:
I am especially happy about handmade bookmarks. These can be made from friends or relatives or directly from artists, e.g. at craft markets. But I collect all kinds of bookmarks as well. To be honest, I stopped taking bookmarks in German bookshops, because it became too much.
Somehow amazing also is the diversity of technologies in which bookmarks are made or in which they do their job:
Many other technologies exist, where magnetic clips or elastic straps are among the most common.
To the book clip: I am just wondering who in such a hard-core process engineering company comes to the idea of producing bookmarks for advertising purposes. Actually, other companies like car producers make it as well.
What is the most unusual bookmark in your collection?
This question is really difficult to answer, as Debrah Gai Lewis already mentioned. Some are very interesting, others funny or remarkable. In the sense of which one is most rarely to be found is this one probably from Iran. It shows a Polo scene, very finely painted on bone as the basis material. Actually, I am even not 100% sure that it is originally meant as a bookmark. May be somebody can enlighten me?
How do you acquire your bookmarks?
Besides book shops, the most rich sources are museums shops. I’m not even scared to visit souvenir shops. This has to be done alone, as other brave people, who can easily spend hours in warehouses, will give up after minutes.
However, the most unique ones, often from the manufacturers by themselves, I find on flea or craft markets. Sometimes craftsmen’s workshops offer bookmarks as a side product or for advertisement. Recently I found a leather bookmark in a bags and belts shop and a silver bookmark in a jeweler, shops I would usually not even notice.
Many of course are donated to me from family or colleagues. Sometimes, when I have time, I do a bid on eBay. Also, Pinterest is a source of ideas.
How do you organize, display and store your collection?
This is my collection housed now in 50 gift boxes containing 100 specimens of bookmarks each for an estimated total of about 5,000. This is good enough to rummage in the boxes or put the content on the table to show it to friends.
The bookmarks are continuously numbered more or less chronologically from the beginning. Further, I put them into an Access database. A formal description by size, date of production and acquisition, motif, text, etc. makes seeking and remembering easier. Besides that, it contains a free text meant to appear during display on the website.
For exhibitions I use such display cases as the one below. Rosemarie Abel organized such events from time to time (see also the first picture).
In my office I have 6 of such cases, one for every continent, of course without Antarctica but separates for North and South America. This is the one for Europe. The background is a vintage map wallpaper from a Polish stationery company. The bookmark from Germany contains a little piece of the Berlin Wall with a bit of original colour, as it was painted on the west side. “Original” means that with all of these splinters you could easily build two new walls. 🙁
What has been your experience in using the IFOB Swap List?
Unfortunately, I have not many doubles, and did not take part in the Swap List. May be, after retirement that can change.
What do you enjoy about IFOB? Anything you would like to see IFOB do in the future?
It is really great, how many collectors from all over the world take part and contribute to the site and the Facebook page. It was not long ago that I learned not to be alone with this hobby, but some people in Germany and some other European countries are also active. Now finally there is a worldwide platform.
Do you have any plans to celebrate World Bookmark Day next time?
I'm seriously considering it.
Do you collect anything else?
Besides collecting as such, I work on a website, where my bookmarks are displayed.
www.bookmark-museum.com [caution: may not work on some browsers]
The idea was not only to display bookmarks but to bring them to their own life. Bookmarks showing plants, e.g. grow up forming a botanical garden in the bookmark museum. It has some technical features like a virtual reading glass for magnification of bookmarks in high resolution or a torch to increase brightness. As Flash is no longer supported by many browsers I stopped work for the moment.
Editor's note: If the museum works on your browser, you are in for a treat! Explore the different categories to see how bookmarks can come to life. We hope Clemens will continue to work on this site as an unusual way to present his collection.