Born in London England in 1935, Etherington studied bookbinding and design at both the Central School of Arts and Crafts and the London School of Printing. Edgar Mansfield was a major influence in developing a life long interest in fine binding design. While a student of Mansfield, he was the very first Thomas Harrison Bookbinding Award recipient. Ivor Robinson and George Frewin were also very important in those early years of training. As his interest in conservation grew, the need for a different form of training became clearly apparent. The working relationships he was lucky to have with Roger Powell and Peter Waters in the early 1960s were invaluable as he gradually stretched his abilities to take on more complex and difficult projects. The opportunity to be part of the British team that lead the conservation effort after the disastrous flood of 1966 in Florence, Italy, allowed that interest in conservation to blossom. In training the Italian workers at the Biblioteca Nazionale, Etherington realized he had found his true calling, and that has carried him through the years, as he says, with a happy heart. He is the Director of the Book Conservation Program at the American Academy of Bookbinding, and is the President of the Etherington Conservation Services in Greensboro, N.C.
Don Etherington said in 1998, “When Mel Kavin asked me to bind a copy of You Can Judge a Book by its Cover, I accepted with pleasure, as it brought together two close friends of mine. Bernard Middleton has been a friend and colleague for well over 30 years and Tini Miura has also been a close friend for well over a decade. The design I executed on this book was another extension of my interest in lines and space which have permutated a few, (some say a lot) of my bindings these last few years. I wanted a colorful binding but rather understated so that you can tell a binder by the cover.”