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  1. Summer Workshops – For Those Hot Summer Days

    June 14, 2022 by Erin Fletcher

    JULY/AUGUST
    Secret Belgian Binding
    4 Sessions // July 9 – 17 (Saturday – Sunday)
    10:00am – 12:30pm (EST)
    Sign-up by June 28 to receive your material kit! – 4 SPOTS LEFT

    The Secret Belgian binding, also known as Criss Cross binding, was developed by Anne Goy in the mid-1980s and is influenced by traditional Japanese binding styles. The binding is simple and easy to construct; it opens flat and is perfect for thinner text blocks. Students will construct 3 variations of this structure, including a style which uses Tyvek as the binding agent.

    Focus on Clamshell
    4 Sessions // July 26 – August 4 (Tues and Thurs evenings)
    6:00 – 8:30pm (EST)
    Sign-up by July 14 to receive you material kit!

    As a bonus, I’ll select two students and make my demo boxes for a binding in their personal library!

    A clamshell box is a common and elegant way to house and protect a binding. In this workshop students will learn how to measure and cut down materials to make two custom clamshell boxes to house books from their own library. The first box will be covered in full cloth, while the second box will have a leather spine with suede lining the inside. Each box will be finished with a printed label.


  2. North Bennet Street School // The Set Book Interviews – Class of 2022

    May 13, 2022 by Erin Fletcher

    At the beginning of the school year in Fall 2020, I had the honor of ushering in a new group of students. I was invited to teach the incoming class for about a month and a half. And over the past two years, I’ve enjoyed getting to see their journey and show them a couple of other techniques here and there. In the past, I would be at school at least once a week, but the time I get to spend at North Bennet has continued to be limited due to COVID. So when I stopped in to interview the students, I had very little knowledge about the outcome of their set books. It was a real treat to be thoroughly surprised. And I will add, completely impressed with their ambition and tenacity.

    This year’s set book is The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. This collection of short stories was originally published in 1951, but the students bound a recent edition from the Folio Society. The collection of unrelated stories share some reoccurring themes such as technology, space and human psychology, but the main thread that ties them all together is the “The Illustrated Man”. An unnamed man, covered in tattoos, acts as the narrator. As the tattoos become animated each of the individual short stories are revealed.

    Each of the student’s bindings will be on display in the 2022 Exhibition: Making Matters at North Bennet Street School through August 26. The exhibit offers a behind-the-scenes look at how work is created throughout the different departments at North Bennet. Each binding is displayed alongside some of the experiments, materials and tools used to create them. Check out the NBSS website for information on the best time to visit.

    I hope that each of the students feels pride and satisfaction when they look at their binding. It takes an incredible amount of skill, patience and passion to get to the that final stage of the binding. I wish them all the best post-graduation as they find their path within this field.

    Lucy Dunphy Barsness

    Lucy (she/her) and I share an affinity for embroidery and throughout the past two years, we’ve discussed technique and new ways of incorporating embroidery into bookbinding. About halfway into her first year, we discovered that we had actually met years earlier while attending a course at Rare Book School. What a small world! So needless to say, I was not surprised that Lucy used embroidery on her binding, but I was certainly sparked by her ambition in recreating a fanfare-style design through stitching. Being introduced to this 16th century form of decoration during the course at RBS, this heavily decorative and intricate layout of compartments, coils and foliage stuck with Lucy over the years.

    While each cover is unique, similar design elements that hint towards the fanfare-style link them together. Lucy covered her binding in a maroon goatskin and embellished the back cover with garnet silk thread. The blind tooling on the front cover relates directly to fanfare, while the gold tooled borders give off Parisian vibes, pinpointing her inspiration to both time and place.

    A central motif, typically a heraldic crest, placed within the complex layout is found on most historical fanfare bindings. With a drive to play with different techniques and materials, Lucy decided to work with stingray. Due to the hardened cartilage that makes up their skin, stingray is a notoriously difficult material to pare and manipulate. But Lucy took it a step further and decided to surface gilt the skin, which you can see proudly placed on the front cover. The surface gilt stingray has a brilliance that draws you in to reveal the subtlety of the skin’s texture.

    Although the fanfare-style was historically executed in gold, Lucy’s embroidered version is no less opulent and sophisticated. Using garnet silk, she embellished the back cover with six different embroidery stitches to create variation in line thickness and ample texture. The position of the stitches catches the light, creating depth and space around a natural white inlay of stingray. The spine is segmented into compartments with false bands. Two stamped labels on brick red goatskin showcase the title and author. The limited color palette on the exterior is met with an explosion of color as the book is opened to reveal a traditional marbled paper. The head edge is gilt over a layer of Armenian red boule. The gold and red striped double-core endbands blend perfectly with the rest of the design.

    I always end the interview by asking the students about their experience creating a design binding and whether or not they plan to make more in the future. I was particularly interested in Lucy’s answer as I can see the potential of where her work with embroidery can go and also how it may surprise me! Thankfully, Lucy enjoyed the challenges that this binding presented and looks forward to exploring the possibilities future bindings could bring. Soon after graduation Lucy will be relocating to Raleigh, North Carolina to start as a conservation technician for the State Archives of North Carolina.


    Alexa Garvin

    When Alexa (she/her) told me she wanted to incorporate as many of the techniques she had learned throughout the year onto her binding as she could, I was instantly transported back 10 years when I was designing my own set book. I think it’s highly ambitious and risky to incorporate lots of technique into a design. However, when Alexa pulled out her binding to show me, I was so blown away with the brilliance of the surface gilt sun against the softness of the hand-dyed leather. I had gotten a few peaks into Alexa’s design and her dye experiments prior, but I was just so impressed with the final look of the binding.

    Before winter break last year, I taught a quick workshop for the entire bookbinding department on the leather dyeing techniques I had previously learned from Nicky Oliver and Coleen Curry. Using a blending technique, Alexa was able to seamlessly fuse aniline and spirit dyes together to create a nebulous atmosphere on fair goatskin. Alexa took her inspiration from The Rocket Man (which doesn’t appear in this edition, but is included in other editions of The Illustrated Man) and how it related to the myth of Icarus. The blind tooled rocket quietly moves through space on a course set for the sun.

    The almost invisible rocket is sandwiched between three back-pared onlays of Earth, Venus and Mercury. Each of the planets have been uniquely dyed to capture the essence of that world. The iconic blue dot is created with a layer of blue spirit dye dabbed with yellow to create green land forms. Alexa used the craquelle technique to create Venus, putting a layer of chili pepper alcohol ink over yellow spirit dye. Mercury also includes a base of yellow spirit dye, but is finished with a layer of bubbles made from a purple/blue mixture.

    The negative space is filled with various constellations that have been gold tooled with large and small dots. Each constellation is easily recognizable, but Alexa specifically included the Pleiades star cluster to give a nod to the fact that she attended one of the Seven Sisters colleges prior to coming to North Bennet. The title and author’s name are hidden inside the surface gilt sun, following the curve of the sun from spine to the fore edge. The surface gilding continues around the turn-in and aligns with the fore edges of the text block. The exterior of the binding feels mostly cold with the use of purples and blues, but once the book is open a blast of yellows and oranges envelope you. The head edge is gilt in the rough in gold over a layer of Armenian red boule. Alexa jumbled up the folios and the sections to create a true random edge. The single core endbands are sewn with purple and blue/green silk giving the eye a break from the swarming gold.

    Since I had the chance to speak with Alexa during the process, I can clearly see her determination in executing her design to perfection. She persevered through a series of dye experiments to find the right plan for her binding. The overall look of her binding is clean and crisp. The concept speaks volumes through her clever use of technique and the right balance of loud and quiet elements.

    You can discover more of Alexa’s work here and follow her on Instagram.


    Chloe Goff

    Chloe (she/her) has set her binding apart from the rest by shifting away from the prominent theme of space. As a fan of Bradbury’s novels, Chloe was equally engaged by this series of short stories and their captivating imagery. In the short story, Marionettes, Inc. a company by the same name offers customers identical avatars as a means of disengaging with the people around them and to separate from any emotional responsibilities. Using this story as her main inspiration, Chloe wanted to build a design that spoke to the cold, bleak reality brought on by this revolutionary tech.

    Each grouping of marionettes is comprised of overlapping onlays in light green, mint blue and forest green goatskin on a backdrop of medium brown goatskin. Chloe’s choice of simple shapes and complimentary color palette creates a striking design that has the ability to draw you in from across the room. The faceless figure is relatively the same from puppet to puppet and even though the onlays are stationery, the positioning of the body and the slight asymmetry in the placement of color creates a feel of movement on the binding.

    The remaining elements that make up the marionettes are quite delicate materials. Yet Chloe, fearlessly cut into the binding in order to inlay both the decorative wood veneer for the handles and the cotton threads for the strings. Her decision to include these additional materials is so smart, they each lend additional texture that contrasts beautifully against the leather.

    The negative space around the marionettes is filled with blind and gold-tooled stars in different sizes, giving a small nod to the theme of space relevant to many of the other short stories. I know that it can be challenging to incorporate a title onto a design binding and most of the time I leave this part off of my bindings. I love Chloe’s unique spin on integrating this element into her binding. Continuing with repetition, each color used for the marionettes was stamped with the title and author. Reading each word three times creates a level of disorientation and connects to the overall design. The interior is flooded with colors complimentary to the exterior with the use of a marbled paper made by Chloe. The head edge has been decorated with moon gold and gauffered with the same star tools found on the covers. The hand-sewn endbands blend beautifully into the edge decoration with the use of light grey cotton thread.

    Chloe’s design is comprised of just a few elements, but each is deliberate and connects to the themes presented within Marionettes, Inc. The difficulty of creating a design binding and the challenges of trying out new techniques resonated with everyone, including Chloe. She spoke to enjoying the evolution of the design process and how creating this binding has informed her mindset for any future bindings. Can’t wait to see the next design binding Chloe makes!


    Martyna Gryko

    Back in 2020, while teaching the students how to make paste papers, I was instantly captivated by Martyna’s (she/her) design aesthetic and skill as a painter. I couldn’t wait to see how her creative past would influence her binding work. And as she shared her work with me over the last two years, I began to see how she thoughtfully incorporated her training as an artist into her design choices no matter how small. Her work displayed real intention and dedication to both the visual and structural aspects of bookbinding. Her approach to the set book project was no different. With the main influence coming from the narrator, Martyna also pulled in concepts from The Veldt and The Visitor in addition to a vintage 1950’s color palette. Her intention was to design a Mars-like landscape that would speak volumes to isolation and loneliness.

    Every decorative element of Martyna’s binding was added after the binding was covered in a navy blue goatskin. This style of working instantly connected to Martyna’s process as a painter. I commended her for being so brave in this style of execution, but noted that a design binder needs to find the path that is most comfortable for them to really steer them towards success. Working from the top of the horizon, Martyna created a Mars-like landscape by layering various goatskin feathered onlays in desert tones. Some of these onlay pieces have been blind tooled to create additional texture and depth. Tufts of grass were added as onlays using different shades of green goatskin.

    The Illustrated Man stands alone in this desolate scene and becomes the focal point of the design. To convey the tattoos that cover the narrator’s body, Martyna employed the craquelle technique and used the same color palette as the landscape, but with splashes of teal over a piece of fair goatskin. With its tooled edges and matching color palette, the Illustrated Man is elegantly integrated into the landscape.

    The ethereal and other-worldly night sky was created through a leather dyeing technique that involves blowing bubbles. This technique can be tricky to apply to a skin that is commercially dyed as the pigment doesn’t always stick. After trying several different mixtures, Martyna found two variations that worked to create this milky haze looming above the desert landscape. Sprinkled amongst the blue vapor, Martyna has tooled stars and circles with moon gold. The title dances along the horizon, also tooled in moon gold. When the book is opened, a familiar color palette is presented with a feathered marbled paper made by Martyna. It perfectly flows with the design of the cover and is seamlessly split at the leather hinge as to not break the pattern. The head edge has been given a graphite base sprinkled with moon gold. The tri-colored striped sewn endbands bring together colors from the landscape and marbled paper.

    Working directly on the binding offered Martyna a certain level of freedom, giving her the chance to edit in real time and to place each element intuitively. The overall finish and look of the binding feels so naturally connected to Martyna’s process as both a binder and an artist. I truly can’t wait to see how her work will evolve through bookbinding and artist books. In the fall, Martyna will be joining the conservation lab at the Boston Athenaeum as the new Von Clemm Fellow.

    Follow Martyna on Instagram to stay updated with her work!


    Ariana Rutledge

    The Illustrated Man is filled with science fiction short stories, which Ariana (she/her) admitted isn’t her favorite genre to read. However, she was hooked to the psychological connection of the individual stories and grasped to the fact that each story was meaningful and profound. Like many of her fellow classmates, she leaned into the themes of space, disaster, loneliness and death.

    Blending leather dyes together can be difficult to control, yet Ariana managed to expertly lay down pigment onto fair goatskin to flow in such an exquisite manner that undeniably captures the feeling of outer space. With the addition of white acrylic bubbles, Ariana was able to create a perfect balance of light and dark tones. Ariana also managed to pack an entire solar system complete with gold-tooled stars into her design with sunken onlays for each planet. To control the placement of each planet and its blind-tooled orbit, Ariana initially cut wells in the board prior to covering. The unique make-up of each planet gave Ariana a chance to really play with leather dyes further:

    Sun // yellow dye with a layer of red bubbles
    Mercury // sprinkled with various colors
    Venus // blend of purple and yellow dye
    Earth // blend of green and blue dye (plus a neighboring parchment Moon)
    Mars // craquelle (cracked over a textured wall) red dye over orange
    Jupiter // red, yellow and orange dye streaked on with a pipette
    Saturn // blend of blue and orange dye with a gold-tooled ring
    Uranus // craquelle (cracked over a stack of chairs) purple dye over purple with a palladium-tooled ring
    Neptune // blend of blue, purple and green dye
    Pluto // craquelle (cracked over cement wall) purple dye over orange

    Since Pluto was classified as a planet when The Illustrated Man was published, Ariana felt it was appropriate to include the dwarf planet in her design. Each planet was given individual consideration and I was particularly impressed by the beautiful rendition of Jupiter with its Great Red Spot.

    To signify death and disaster, Ariana incorporated pieces of tin and watch parts to represent shrapnel floating through space. The irregular shapes of the watch parts contrast beautifully with the symmetry of the planets and stars. The large tin pieces are placed in sunken panels and attached to the covers with brass rivets. Ariana manipulated each piece through bending and scratching, giving the tin a more authentic feel. The title is seamlessly worked into the design by being tooled along Earth’s orbit in palladium. Ariana further showcases her incredible skill by adding an edge-to-edge leather doublure on the inside. The head edge celebrates the design of the binding with a base of black pigment sprinkled with both gold and palladium. Using the same color palette from the binding, Ariana created a tri-color striped double-core endband in navy blue, purple and white.

    It was apparent by the way that Ariana spoke to me about her binding, that she thoroughly enjoyed the process of making it and is quite pleased with the outcome. Complex and layered designs often require extensive forethought and planning, Ariana proved to be incredibly thoughtful in her approach throughout the construction and design phase of the binding. I’m on the edge of my seat to see what she comes up with in her next design binding. After graduation, Ariana will be spending her summer in Pennsylvania interning at the Haverford College conservation lab.

    Follow Ariana on Instagram

    – – –

    Thanks to the 2022 graduating class for sitting for these interviews and thanks to Jeff Altepeter, Head of Bookbinding Department, for inviting me once again. I look forward to this moment every year and I really enjoyed speaking to everyone about their incredible design bindings. I can’t wait to see where each of these lovely people land in the future and how they explore this style of binding further.

    If you find yourself in the Boston area this summer, stop by North Bennet Street School to see each of these bindings in person in the 2022 Exhibition: Making Matters.

    If you want more interviews from past classes check out the list here.


  3. Sign-Up for a Summer Workshop!

    May 10, 2022 by Erin Fletcher

    MAY/JUNE


    Modern Nag Hammadi
    3 Sessions // May 31 – June 7 (Tuesday and Thursday evenings)
    6:00 – 8:30pm (EST)
    Sign up by May 19 to receive your material kit! – Only 1 Spot Left!

    In this workshop, we will explore how some of the earliest known codices may have been constructed. The best-known examples were discovered in a jar near the Egyptian village of Nag Hammadi in 1945. These mostly intact bindings date back to the 3rd or 4th century, but fragments of similar bindings date back further to the 2nd century.

    These single signature bindings are held in their leather covers with the use of knotted leather tackets. The bindings also include ties at the head, tail and fore edge to keep the binding secure. During this workshop we will be using contemporary materials to build two models of these ancient binding structures.

    Artists’ Books with Guest Instructor Keri Miki-Lani Schroeder
    6 Sessions // June 8 – July 13 (Wednesday evenings)
    6:00 – 8:00pm (EST)
    Online through North Bennet Street School

    Register here

    Learn to create your very own artist’s book, a versatile medium for creative expression. This class will offer different folding and binding techniques, creative ways to fill pages with content, and time to develop and share ideas with your classmates. Students are required to complete the pre-recorded session on folding pages prior to the first live session on June 8. During the live sessions, students will work alongside the instructor to build structures for their folded pages.

    Box Series
    4 Sessions // June 14 – 23 (Tuesday and Thursday evenings)
    6:00 – 8:30pm (EST)
    Sign-up by June 2 to receive your material kit!

    Boxes come in all shapes and sizes. In this workshop, we’ll look at just three examples: French-Tray with Drop Spine, Clamshell and Japanese Box Case. Students will learn how to assemble these three styles of boxes while also discussing the ways to measure for custom box-making. This workshop will give you the foundational skills to build and modify your own boxes and different ways of creating closures for boxes.


    JULY/AUGUST


    Secret Belgian Binding
    4 Sessions // July 9 – 17 (Saturday – Sunday)
    10:00am – 12:30pm (EST)
    Sign-up by June 28 to receive your material kit!

    The Secret Belgian binding, also known as Criss Cross binding, was developed by Anne Goy in the mid-1980s and is influenced by traditional Japanese binding styles. The binding is simple and easy to construct; it opens flat and is perfect for thinner text blocks. Students will construct 3 variations of this structure, including a style which uses Tyvek as the binding agent.

    Japanese Box Making
    1 Session // July 23 (Saturday)
    8:30am – 4:30pm
    North Bennet Street School, Boston

    Register hereOnly 1 Spot Left!

    In this workshop, students will learn techniques used to create a traditional Japanese box; an assembly that varies from the more common clamshell box used in Western cultures. During the class students will construct a four-walled box with lid, which will be covered in an elegant Japanese book cloth and held together with bone clasps.

    Focus on Clamshell
    4 Sessions // July 26 – August 4 (Tues and Thurs evenings)
    6:00 – 8:30pm (EST)
    Sign-up by July 14 to receive you material kit!

    A clamshell box is a common and elegant way to house and protect a binding. In this workshop students will learn how to measure and cut down materials to make two custom clamshell boxes to house books from their own library. The first box will be covered in full cloth, while the second box will have a leather spine with suede lining the inside. Each box will be finished with a printed label.

    Fundamentals of Bookbinding I
    5 Sessions // August 8 – 12 (Monday – Friday)
    8:30am – 4:30pm
    North Bennet Street School, Boston

    Register here

    Students will learn the foundations of bookbinding by combining hands-on exercises and discussion. The class starts by exploring non-adhesive structures: soft cover pamphlet, Coptic, historical longstitch, and link stitch. The class ends with a look at case bindings, with the creation of two hardcover flatback bindings. Students also learn different structural elements, sewing variations, covering and cutting techniques using various materials, tools and equipment. Throughout the course, discussions will cover terminology, paper grain and folding, selecting proper materials and tools, and adhesives and their properties.


  4. Upcoming Workshops // Summer 2022

    April 12, 2022 by Erin Fletcher

    May/June
    Modern Nag Hammadi
    3 Sessions // May 31 – June 7 (Tuesday and Thursday evenings)
    6:00 – 8:30pm (EST)
    Sign up by May 19 to receive your material kit!

    In this workshop, we will explore how some of the earliest known codices may have been constructed. The best-known examples were discovered in a jar near the Egyptian village of Nag Hammadi in 1945. These mostly intact bindings date back to the 3rd or 4th century, but fragments of similar bindings date back further to the 2nd century.

    These single signature bindings are held in their leather covers with the use of knotted leather tackets. The bindings also include ties at the head, tail and fore edge to keep the binding secure. During this workshop we will be using contemporary materials to build two models of these ancient binding structures.

    Box Series
    4 Sessions // June 14 – 23 (Tuesday and Thursday evenings)
    6:00 – 8:30pm (EST)
    Sign-up by June 2 to receive your material kit!

    Boxes come in all shapes and sizes. In this workshop, we’ll look at just three examples: French-Tray with Drop Spine, Clamshell and Japanese Box Case. Students will learn how to assemble these three styles of boxes while also discussing the ways to measure for custom box-making. This workshop will give you the foundational skills to build and modify your own boxes and different ways of creating closures for boxes.


    July/August
    Secret Belgian Binding
    4 Sessions // July 9 – 17 (Saturday – Sunday)
    10:00am – 12:30pm (EST)
    Sign-up by June 28 to receive your material kit!

    The Secret Belgian binding, also known as Criss Cross binding, was developed by Anne Goy in the mid-1980s and is influenced by traditional Japanese binding styles. The binding is simple and easy to construct; it opens flat and is perfect for thinner text blocks. Students will construct 3 variations of this structure, including a style which uses Tyvek as the binding agent.

    Focus on Clamshell
    4 Sessions // July 26 – August 4 (Tues and Thurs evenings)
    6:00 – 8:30pm (EST)
    Sign-up by July 14 to receive you material kit!

    A clamshell box is a common and elegant way to house and protect a binding. In this workshop students will learn how to measure and cut down materials to make two custom clamshell boxes to house books from their own library. The first box will be covered in full cloth, while the second box will have a leather spine with suede lining the inside. Each box will be finished with a printed label.


  5. Giveaway on Instagram + Workshop Seconds

    February 22, 2022 by Erin Fletcher

    Giveaway and Announcement! Over the past year and a half I’ve been teaching workshops online from my home studio. I’ve accumulated lots of models from teaching students from all over the world. I’m excited to announce these models are now for sale. All of the proceeds will go toward organizations dedicated to building up individuals and strengthening communities through art and craft.

    TO ENTER:
    Click over to Instagram and find the image above^
    1. Like this post
    2. Tag a friend in the comments and tell me what you love about books and/or boxes! (multiple comments count as multiple entries)

    Contest open to Instagram users only and ends February 24, 2022 at 11:59pm (est). Open to US residents only.

    THE PRIZE:
    A complete set of boxes made during my Box Series Workshop (includes 1 French tray, 1 clamshell and 1 Japanese box case). All boxes were made during demonstrations, so there may be marks and flaws for the purpose of teaching.

    WORKSHOP SECONDS:
    You can also get a workshop second directly by making a donation to one of the organizations below. For more information, click here.
    – Artists for Humanity
    – Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
    – The Black School
    – Crafting the Future
    – North Bennet Street School
    – Penland School of Craft

    I’ll be donating funds once a month and posting receipts on Instagram. Many thanks in helping me support these incredible organizations and for keeping my studio organized.


  6. Upcoming Workshops // March & April

    February 15, 2022 by Erin Fletcher

    MARCH
    Flatback Case Binding
    2 Sessions // March 26 & 27 (Saturday and Sunday)
    10:00am – 1:00pm (EST)
    Sign-up by March 15 to receive your material kit!
    ONLY 4 SPOTS LEFT!!

    The Flatback Case Binding is one of the most common and recognizable structures today. In this workshop, students will learn foundational binding skills to assemble two different styles of covering known as quarter cloth and half cloth. The Flatback Case Binding is easy to construct and is perfect for small publications, artist books, journals and more.


    APRIL
    Choose Your Own Adventure: Non-Adhesive Bindings
    1 – 4 Sessions // April 5 – 14 (Tues and Thursday evenings)
    6:00 – 9:00pm (EST)
    Sign-up by March 24 to receive you material kit!

    This workshop is designed to cover a range of non-adhesive structures, just a small handful of the multitude of ways to sew a book. Non-adhesive bindings are great for any skill level, but beginner binders will learn fundamental sewing skills and work with a range of materials. Build this workshop for your skill level and your budget. Sign up for any number of workshops: 1, 3 or all 4! Receive $20 if you sign up for all 4.

    Choose Your Own Adventure:
    Session 1 – Coptic
    Session 2 – Link & Long Stitch
    Session 3 – Historical Long Stitch
    Session 4 – Single & Double Raised Cords

    Limp Vellum Binding
    2 Days // April 9 & 10 (Saturday and Sunday)
    8:30am – 4:30pm
    In-Person Workshop @ North Bennet Street School in Boston

    With the advent of printing in the 15th century books were printed in larger quantities creating a higher demand for bookbinders. Limp binding structures came about as a way for binders to quickly construct an elegant and durable binding for this new demand. This beautiful style of binding is suitable for conservation or new bindings. Students will learn the proper sewing pattern for this structure, create hand-sewn endbands and how to properly fold the cover before lacing in the text block.

    Telescoping Box
    3 Sessions // April 21 – 28 (Tues and Thursday evenings)
    6:00 – 8:00pm (EST)
    Sign-up by April 8 to receive you material kit!
    ONLY 3 SPOTS LEFT!!

    In contrast to the clamshell box, this style of enclosure has a completely separate lid that slides off the base. In this workshop, students will construct an inner tray set within a frame for the object to rest. A ribbon will be added for easy retrieval of the object. Students will be able to customize the inner tray to fit an object from their own library.


  7. Upcoming Workshops // Winter/Spring 2022

    December 28, 2021 by Erin Fletcher

    FEBRUARY
    Secret Belgian Binding
    2 Days // February 12 & 13 (Saturday – Sunday)
    8:30am – 4:30pm
    In-Person Workshop @ North Bennet Street School in Boston

    The Secret Belgian binding, also known as Criss Cross binding, was developed by Anne Goy in the mid-1980s and is influenced by traditional Japanese binding styles. The binding is simple and easy to construct; it opens flat and is perfect for thinner text blocks. Students will construct 3 variations of this structure, including a style which uses Tyvek as the binding agent.

    Box Series
    4 Sessions // February 15 – 24 (Tuesday and Thursday evenings)
    6:00 – 8:30pm (EST)
    Sign-up by February 3 to receive your material kit!

    Boxes come in all shapes and sizes. In this workshop, we’ll look at just three examples: French-Tray with Drop Spine, Clamshell and Japanese Box Case. Students will learn how to assemble these three styles of boxes while also discussing the ways to measure for custom box-making. This workshop will give you the foundational skills to build and modify your own boxes. It will also explore different ways of creating closures for boxes.

    MARCH
    Fundamentals of Bookbinding I
    5 Days // March 14 – 18 (Monday – Friday)
    8:30am – 4:30pm
    In-Person Workshop @ North Bennet Street School in Boston

    Students will learn the foundations of bookbinding by combining hands-on exercises and discussion. The class starts by exploring non-adhesive structures: soft cover pamphlet, Coptic, historical longstitch and link stitch. The class ends with a look at case bindings, with the creation of two hardcover flatback bindings. Students also learn different structural elements, sewing variations, covering and cutting techniques using various materials, tools and equipment. Throughout the course discussions will cover terminology, paper grain and folding, selecting proper materials and tools, and adhesives and their properties.

    Flatback Case Binding
    2 Sessions // March 26 & 27 (Saturday and Sunday)
    10:00am – 1:00pm (EST)
    Sign-up by March 15 to receive your material kit!

    The Flatback Case Binding is one of the most common and recognizable structures today. In this workshop, students will learn foundational binding skills to assemble two different styles of covering known as quarter cloth and half cloth. The Flatback Case Binding is easy to construct and is perfect for small publications, artist books, journals and more.

    APRIL
    Choose Your Own Adventure: Non-Adhesive Bindings
    1 – 4 Sessions // April 5 – 14 (Tues and Thursday evenings)
    6:00 – 9:00pm (EST)
    Sign-up by March 24 to receive you material kit!

    This workshop is designed to cover a range of non-adhesive structures, just a small handful of the multitude of ways to sew a book. Non-adhesive bindings are great for any skill level, but beginner binders will learn fundamental sewing skills and work with a range of materials. Build this workshop for your skill level and your budget. Sign up for any number of workshops: 1, 3 or all 4! Receive $20 if you sign up for all 4.

    Choose Your Own Adventure:
    Session 1 – Coptic
    Session 2 – Link & Long Stitch
    Session 3 – Historical Long Stitch
    Session 4 – Single & Double Raised Cords

    Limp Vellum Binding
    2 Days // April 9 & 10 (Saturday and Sunday)
    8:30am – 4:30pm
    In-Person Workshop @ North Bennet Street School in Boston

    With the advent of printing in the 15th century books were printed in larger quantities creating a higher demand for bookbinders. Limp binding structures came about as a way for binders to quickly construct an elegant and durable binding for this new demand. This beautiful style of binding is suitable for conservation or new bindings. Students will learn the proper sewing pattern for this structure, create hand-sewn endbands and how to properly fold the cover before lacing in the text block.

    Telescoping Box
    3 Sessions // April 21 – 28 (Tues and Thursday evenings)
    6:00 – 8:00pm (EST)
    Sign-up by April 8 to receive you material kit!

    In contrast to the clamshell box, this style of enclosure has a completely separate lid that slides off the base. In this workshop, students will construct an inner tray set within a frame for the object to rest. A ribbon will be added for easy retrieval of the object. Students will be able to customize the inner tray to fit an object from their own library.


  8. Just a Few Workshops Left in 2021!

    September 14, 2021 by Erin Fletcher

    There are just a few workshops left in 2021 to sign-up for!

    OCTOBER
    Trio of Japanese Bindings in a Wraparound Case
    3 Sessions // October 3 – 17 (Sunday mornings)
    10:00am – 12:00pm (EST)
    Sign-up by September 20 to receive you material kit! – 3 SPOTS LEFT!!

    In this workshop, students will construct a common Japanese binding model, traditionally referred to as yotsume toji or 4-hole binding. With this pattern as the foundation, students will also learn the hemp-leaf and tortoise-shell pattern. We will build the models in a traditional manner, while incorporating western tools and equipment. To finish, we will construct a wraparound case held together with bone clasps to house all three models.

    NOVEMBER
    Choose Your Own Adventure: Cross Structure
    1 – 5 Sessions // November 30 – December 14 (Tues and Thursday evenings)
    6:00 – 9:00pm (EST)
    Sign-up by November 18 to receive you material kit!

    The Cross Structure binding is a non-adhesive binding that offers much freedom to the text block. This 20th century design is greatly inspired by the Long Stitch bindings of the medieval era and can be constructed in a range of styles. The structure is uniquely constructed by interlocking the front and back cover at the spine. It is suitable in conservation or new bindings, such as journals or decorative bindings. For this workshop, you can sign up for any number of sessions.

    Choose Your Own Adventure:
    Session 1 – Basic
    Session 2 – Protective
    Session 3 – Hidden
    Session 4 – MarcoPolo
    Session 5 – Solo

    Sign up for all 5 and receive a $25 discount.


  9. Upcoming Workshops // August – December

    August 10, 2021 by Erin Fletcher

    AUGUST
    Focus on Clamshell
    4 Sessions // August 31 – September 9 (Tues and Thurs evenings)
    6:00 – 8:30pm (EST)
    Sign-up by August 18 to receive you material kit! – ONLY 2 SPOTS LEFT

    A clamshell box is a common and elegant way to house and protect a binding. In this workshop students will learn how to measure and cut down materials to make two custom clamshell boxes to house books from their own library. The first box will be covered in full cloth, while the second box will have a leather spine with suede lining the inside. Each box will be finished with a printed label.


    SEPTEMBER
    Embroidered Leather Binding
    6 Sessions // September 28 – November 2 (Tuesday evenings)
    6:00 – 8:00pm (EST)
    Sign-up by September 15 to receive you material kit!

    In this workshop, students will work from start to finish on their own embroidered leather binding over the course of several sessions. Students will be asked to prep their own text block and leather for a full leather case binding, however a kit of materials is available for purchase. Students will be introduced to a few hand-embroidery stitches and the best techniques for sewing into leather, cloth, and paper. We will also discuss ways to transfer the design onto the material, how to incorporate onlays and how to prepare the finished embroidered piece for covering.


    OCTOBER
    Trio of Japanese Bindings in a Wraparound Case
    3 Sessions // October 3 – 17 (Sunday mornings)
    10:00am – 12:00pm (EST)
    Sign-up by September 20 to receive you material kit!

    In this workshop, students will construct a common Japanese binding model, traditionally referred to as yotsume toji or 4-hole binding. With this pattern as the foundation, students will also learn the hemp-leaf and tortoise-shell pattern. We will build the models in a traditional manner, while incorporating western tools and equipment. To finish, we will construct a wraparound case held together with bone clasps to house all three models.


    NOVEMBER
    Secret Belgian + Single Signature
    November 8 – 12 (Monday – Friday)
    Maine Media Workshops + College
    Rockport, ME – In-person

    During this week-long workshop students will explore variations within two different styles of binding: Secret Belgian and Single Signature.

    Choose Your Own Adventure: Cross Structure
    1 – 5 Sessions // November 30 – December 14 (Tues and Thursday evenings)
    6:00 – 9:00pm (EST)
    Sign-up by November 18 to receive you material kit!

    The Cross Structure binding is a non-adhesive binding that offers much freedom to the text block. This 20th century design is greatly inspired by the Long Stitch bindings of the medieval era and can be constructed in a range of styles. The structure is uniquely constructed by interlocking the front and back cover at the spine. It is suitable in conservation or new bindings, such as journals or decorative bindings. For this workshop, you can sign up for any number of sessions.

    Choose Your Own Adventure:
    Session 1 – Basic
    Session 2 – Protective
    Session 3 – Hidden
    Session 4 – MarcoPolo
    Session 5 – Solo

    Sign up for all 5 and receive a $25 discount.


  10. Upcoming Workshops // August – December

    July 13, 2021 by Erin Fletcher

    AUGUST
    2-Day: Shrigley
    3 Sessions // August 23 & 27 (Monday & Friday)
    Aug. 23: 10:00am – 1:00pm & 3:00 – 6:00pm
    Aug. 27: 3:00 – 4:00pm
    Maine Media Workshops + College – Online

    The Shrigley is an innovative way to house loose ephemera, postcards, photographs, prints and more. The pages are folded into frames, allowing you to easily add or remove pieces from the book. In this workshop, students will learn the folding techniques to create the frames with various corner styles. Once the pages are assembled and sewn, students will finish their project by making a hardcover case with a ribbon tie.

    Focus on Clamshell
    4 Sessions // August 31 – September 9 (Tues and Thurs evenings)
    6:00 – 8:30pm (EST)
    Sign-up by August 18 to receive you material kit!

    A clamshell box is a common and elegant way to house and protect a binding. In this workshop students will learn how to measure and cut down materials to make two custom clamshell boxes to house books from their own library. The first box will be covered in full cloth, while the second box will have a leather spine with suede lining the inside. Each box will be finished with a printed label.


    SEPTEMBER
    Embroidered Leather Binding
    6 Sessions // September 28 – November 2 (Tuesday evenings)
    6:00 – 8:00pm (EST)
    Sign-up by September 15 to receive you material kit!

    In this workshop, students will work from start to finish on their own embroidered leather binding over the course of several sessions. Students will be asked to prep their own text block and leather for a full leather case binding, however a kit of materials is available for purchase. Students will be introduced to a few hand-embroidery stitches and the best techniques for sewing into leather, cloth, and paper. We will also discuss ways to transfer the design onto the material, how to incorporate onlays and how to prepare the finished embroidered piece for covering.


    OCTOBER
    Trio of Japanese Bindings in a Wraparound Case
    3 Sessions // October 3 – 17 (Sunday mornings)
    10:00am – 12:00pm (EST)
    Sign-up by September 20 to receive you material kit!

    In this workshop, students will construct a common Japanese binding model, traditionally referred to as yotsume toji or 4-hole binding. With this pattern as the foundation, students will also learn the hemp-leaf and tortoise-shell pattern. We will build the models in a traditional manner, while incorporating western tools and equipment. To finish, we will construct a wraparound case held together with bone clasps to house all three models.


    NOVEMBER
    Secret Belgian + Single Signature
    November 8 – 12 (Monday – Friday)
    Maine Media Workshops + College
    Rockport, ME – In-person

    During this week-long workshop students will explore variations within two different styles of binding: Secret Belgian and Single Signature.

    Choose Your Own Adventure: Cross Structure
    1 – 5 Sessions // November 30 – December 14 (Tues and Thursday evenings)
    6:00 – 9:00pm (EST)
    Sign-up by November 18 to receive you material kit!

    The Cross Structure binding is a non-adhesive binding that offers much freedom to the text block. This 20th century design is greatly inspired by the Long Stitch bindings of the medieval era and can be constructed in a range of styles. The structure is uniquely constructed by interlocking the front and back cover at the spine. It is suitable in conservation or new bindings, such as journals or decorative bindings. For this workshop, you can sign up for any number of sessions.

    Choose Your Own Adventure:
    Session 1 – Basic
    Session 2 – Protective
    Session 3 – Hidden
    Session 4 – MarcoPolo
    Session 5 – Solo

    Sign up for all 5 and receive a $25 discount.


  • Visit My Bindery
    My name is Erin Fletcher, owner and bookbinder of Herringbone Bindery in Boston. Flash of the Hand is a space where I share my process and inspirations.
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