Core Bookbinding Courses
These courses are split into Bookbinding I A and B, and Bookbinding II A and B. These courses should be taken in order, and may be purchased as bundles for a lower price. Once a semester, we offer Bookbinding I as a week-long intensive. This covers all material taught in I A and I B in one course. Our Core Bookbinding Instructors are: Elizabeth Castaldo, Celine Lombardi, Elizabeth Sheehan, and Sarah Smith. Learn more about them on our Instructors’ Profile page! Read below for what is covered in each binding course.
Bookbinding I Week Intensive, with Elizabeth Castaldo – Monday-Friday, February 11-15, 11-5pm, $800 In this introductory Core class, you will learn several basic book structures, develop hand skills and become familiar with binding tools and techniques. After this comprehensive foundation, you’ll be prepared for your own explorations, for advanced courses, and you will qualify for renting work space in our binderies. The course will cover discussion on materials and on best practices for folding, cutting, adhesives and mixes, paper types, tool selection, and three sewing methods. No experience required.
Structures studied will include: pamphlets with paper wrappers, pamphlets with hard covers, a flat back with sewn headbands, and a round back sewn on tapes.
Bookbinding I A: Soft Cover Books, with Elizabeth Castaldo – Wednesdays, January 9 – February 6, 6-9pm, $450 Fold, sew, and glue paper into books! In this 18-hour introductory class you will fold accordion books and explore concertinas, sew pamphlets with paper covers, glue single pages into butterfly books, and more. This class is suitable for beginners and also for anyone looking for basic models that can be made at home without special equipment. No experience required.
Bookbinding I B: Hard Cover Books, with Sarah Smith – Wednesdays, February 20 – March 20, 6-9pm, $450 In this class you will learn to make hardcover case bindings for pamphlets, flat back books, and a book with a rounded spine. You will learn about the structure beneath the boards and make your own book cloth to cover it. This class is suitable for beginners, but students should have taken Bookbinding I (A) prior.
Bookbinding II Week Intensive – Not scheduled for this winter. In this intermediate class we will explore ways to attach the cover as part of the structure of the book, which offers more strength than casebindings. You will make a sewn-boards binding, a millimeter binding, a hollow tube and a quarter binding with raised cords. You will begin to work with leather and sew silk endbands. Bookbinding I or commensurate experience required.
Bookbinding II A: InBoards Leather Binding, with Celine Lombardi – Tuesdays, January 8 – February 5, 6-9pm, $450 In this 15-hour intermediate class, you will be introduced to leather binding by making a half bound leather book with a smooth spine over a hollow tube and leather corners. In the process you will learn how to pare leather by hand and with a paring machine and most importantly, how to sharpen your paring knife. Bookbinding I or commensurate experience required.
Bookbinding II B: Laced in Leather Binding – Not scheduled for this winter. In this 15-hour class you will make a very traditional book: a quarter leather binding with raised cords. This intermediate/advanced class will build on the skills you practiced in Bookbinding II A. You will also have time to practice your leather paring. Prerequisites: Bookbinding I and Bookbinding II A or equivalent.
For these classes, all materials are included, but please bring the following tools with you to each class. Tools marked with a star (*) are available for purchase at the time your class starts.
Cutting tool such as scalpels,* X-acto knives, and Olfa snap blades (strongly preferred)
Pin tool* or Awl*
Core Letterpress Printing Courses
These courses are split into Letterpress I A and B, and Letterpress II A and B. These courses should be taken in order, and may be purchased as bundles for a lower price. Once a semester, we offer Letterpress I as a week-long intensive. This covers all material taught in I A and I B in one course. Our Core Letterpress Instructors are: Roni Gross and Sarah Nicholls. Learn more about them on our Instructors’ Profile page! Read below for what is covered in each letterpress course.
Letterpress I Week Intensive, with Roni Gross – Wednesday-Sunday, February 13-17, 11-5pm, $800 Students will learn the mechanics of the Vandercook Press and how to set type using metal and wood type from the Center’s extensive collection. We will cover several color impositions, paper choices, and the order of operations. We will see many examples of letterpress printed artwork and students will develop a project for the latter part of the week. Students will learn the basics of hand typesetting and explore the contemporary practice of letterpress printing. We will cover the essentials of good press work including inking, and impression and move on to discuss typefaces, paper, incorporating illustrations and adding color.
Letterpress I A: Hand Typesetting, with Sarah Nicholls – Mondays, January 7 – February 11 (skip Feb 4), 6-9 pm, $450 In this beginner’s course in letterpress printing, students will learn the basics of hand typesetting, printing on the Center’s Vandercooks, and the process of editioning. We will cover the essentials of good presswork including inking and impression then move on to discuss typefaces, paper and the essentials of printing hand-set type. This class is ideal for those who wish to learn to print simple, text-based projects on the Vandercook, such as business cards, thank you/holiday cards, or poetry/prose. All materials for the class are included in tuition. No experience required.
Letterpress I B: Editions, with Sarah Nicholls – Mondays, February 18 – March 18, 6-9pm, $450 Following a short review of press operation and printing techniques, we will raise students’ printing skills to the next level. What methods can one use to combine text and image? How does one improve printing results? How does one complete a project involving multiple parts? This class is designed to support students who have taken a letterpress class and want to work on their own projects in a structured and supportive environment.
Letterpress II Week Intensive – Not scheduled for this winter. This class is designed to support students who have taken a letterpress class and want to work on their own projects in a structured and supportive environment. Students interested in producing a small edition of artist books, a series of posters or prints, a suite of invitations or other printed stationary, or other projects, will be assisted along the way in troubleshooting their inking, impression, and finishing skills.
Letterpress II A: How Can I Make It Better?, with Roni Gross – Thursdays, January 10 – February 7, 6-9pm, $450 Have you done projects that you want to take to the next level? Learn the fine points of good printing and organizing a project. Bring examples of previous work to discuss. We will troubleshoot on the press and learn some new techniques for adding backgrounds and textures to work so that your prints have the option of layering. Projects can involve handsetting or use polymer plates.
Letterpress II B: Planning a More Ambitious Project, with Roni Gross – Wednesdays, February 20 – March 20, 6-9pm, $450 We will go through the steps of planning a project: order of operations, properties of paper, editioning versus one of a kind, importance of a mockup and good press practices to achieve your goal. Looking at a variety of work will allow us enlarge our ideas about what is possible on an off press. We will also discuss how to get work out into the world
Courses Offered This Season
Accordion Books, with Maria Pisano – Sat-Sun, February 23-24, 11-5pm, $350 The accordion book is a wonderful Eastern structure that has immense potential for any type of content, a three-dimensional active book structure that can be adapted for both single sheet pages and folios. The class will learn the proper folding of the concertina – where getting the pages to all line up is a challenge. This will form the foundation for our book, which will then be transformed into a host of diverse books where the accordion structure plays a central point of departure. We will begin with the historical Eastern tradition, utilizing oriental papers, and create two models, the basic accordion book with hard covers and a double leaved album and then proceed to showcase the wonderful versatility of this form with the creation of various book arts formats such as a flag book, a zig-zag book, a book that incorporates haikus with stencil design, and more as time allows.
Acrylic Marbling (at Talas), with Sheryl Oppenheim – Sat, March 16, 11-4pm and Sun, March 17, 11-4pm, $175 (Students may sign up for one or both classes, which function as standalone workshops. Taking two classes will allow even more time for production, learning, and experimentation.) This workshop is called “Acrylic Marbling” to differentiate it from Turkish (ebru) marbling and traditional European marbling, which use water-based paints. Marbling originated around 1500, with some of the earliest examples found in Qurans and other Islamic religious texts from Persia. This class uses acrylic paint, a modern material, to reproduce traditional marbling patterns while embracing the potential for experimentation and playfulness.
We will learn about the history of marbling and discuss traditional recipes and techniques. Students will learn how to prepare all materials and mix paint. Most of the class will be hands-on worktime, and each student will have their own tray to work in. As the day progresses, we will learn new techniques and patterns. All materials, including paper, will be provided, but students will have the opportunity to purchase interesting and high-quality papers from Talas to use during class. The six hour class includes time for a lunch break, as well as time at the end for class review and discussion.
These classes will be held at Talas, in Brooklyn: 330 Morgan Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11211
Artists Books: From Idea to Execution, with Elizabeth Castaldo – Sat-Sun, January 12-13, 11-5pm, $350 What is an Artist’s book and why make them? To the uninitiated the journey into artist book territory can seem overwhelming, but once one dives in, oftentimes a whole new world of possibility is discovered. Artist’s books are works of art that take the format of a book. They range from altered books, to one of a kind handmade pieces, to seamlessly executed editions. The possibilities are endless. In this class we will explore just what an artist’s book is and what they can be. We will do some brainstorming activities, talk about strategies for working with sequential and image based content with the intention of bridging the gap between bookbinding technique and finished work of art. Students will learn to make at least three basic book structures: an accordion book, a pamphlet stitched book, and a drum leaf binding, and then embark on the adventure of creating their very own one of a kind artist’s book. This class is perfect for artists who want an introduction into the world of artist’s books or anyone who is curious about expressing their ideas in this medium, no binding experience required.
Bark Lace: Gifts from Trees, with Aimee Lee – Thurs, March 7, 11am-5pm, $175 In this class, students will learn how to make bark lace from the inner bark of the paper mulberry tree, usually used to make fine paper. Long before paper was invented, people took advantage of this strong, long-fibered material and processed it into substrates that remind us today of cloth and paper. Inspired by global traditions like Mexican amate, Polynesian tapa, and Jamaican lace bark, students will learn to lace and hammer cooked mulberry bark to create pieces that can be used in books, sculpture, and fiber applications.
Carousel Books, with Maria Pisano – Sat-Sun, March 16-17, 11-5pm, $350 A carousel book is an ingenious work, containing three-dimensional panoramic scenes that are revealed in multilayered openings that recede into space. Its seductiveness comes as a result of its construction, a series of five scenes, which when taken together are a play in five acts. Viewed through windows or other intricate opening, they take the viewer in their world, beckoning with surprises of creative multidimensional visual experiences. When fully opened it creates a full 180 degrees stage, which from an aerial perspective can be seen as a complex star, with the viewer performing a dance around it.
Please note that in this book we are working with content. Because of our limited time, choose the alphabet or landscape as a subject.
Basic Bookbinding Kit to bring:
Self healing mat, no smaller than 12″ x 18″
Small snap blade knife (note: that there is a lot of cutting involved for the book, to reveal all the many layers – the instructor recommends the Olfa knife)
7″ high plastic or metal triangle
12″ metal ruler
Chapbooks and Artist Books, with Roni Gross – Sat-Sun, March 23-24, 11-5pm, $350 A chapbook or artist book can create an environment for language to be experienced. We will look at a number of handmade books that have been able to bring words into a physical dimension. How does the typography create a voice? How do the materials involve the viewer and give a tactile experience? Each student will plan and work towards a small edition of books either handset or printed from polymer plates. Students can handset their text or print from polymer plates, and also make use of our large collection of wood type, ornaments and cuts.
CMYK Photopolymer!, with Elizabeth Castaldo – Tuesdays, February 19 – March 19, 6-9pm, $450 CMYK printing, sometimes called four color process, is like magic happening before your eyes. CMYK refers to the four colors used: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, which are printed in layers to create a full color image. With each layer more information is added to the print, more colors appear, and then with the printing of the final layer, voila, you have a full color image! On the Vandercook we can make prints like this using photopolymer, which has the potential to hold an incredible amount of fine detail. For Letterpress, this process is considered experimental, but with some prior planning and good registration practices, one can create beautiful full color images that will integrate seamlessly with other letterpress work. In this 5 day workshop students will learn the process of printing full color photographic images on the Vandercook. We will go through every step from preparing your image files, to strategies for tight registration, color mixing, and, of course, printing. Prior letterpress experience is helpful but not required.
Copperplate Calligraphy, with Karen Gorst – Tuesdays, January 8 – February 5, 6-9pm, $450 Learn the fundamentals of using the pointed pen for writing copperplate calligraphy. This beautiful style, used in the Declaration of Independence, is now used for weddings, logos, and White House Invitations. Beginners will learn the basic letter shapes and fundamentals of spacing. Those who have previously learned Copperplate will refine their lettershapes, spacing and focus on the practical aspects of using copperplate for one-of-a-kind pieces and for reproduction. All levels welcome.
Students who are new to Copperplate will focus on the fundamentals of letter shapes, joining letters and spacing. Those who have taken Copperplate 1 will move on to write text in various sizes, create copperplate projects, and learn the keys to successfully incorporating flourishes and color in designs.
Coptic Binding, with Jennifer Verbit – Sat-Sun, March 23-24, 11-5pm, $350 In this class you will learn to make historic, Coptic bindings. Students will learn to create covers using boards and decorative paper or cloth. Students will create books using multi-needle and single needle sewing techniques. We will be experimenting with decorative techniques including colored paper on the spines and sewing variations.
Students may wish to bring the following supplies:
Bone folder *
Olfa knife/scalpel/X-acto (optional) *
Cutting mat (optional) +
Items marked with an asterisk (*) are for sale at the Center. Items marked with a plus sign (+) are shared studio supplies. Students are welcome to bring their own tools if they wish.
Embroidered Activism, with Iviva Olenick – Thursday-Friday, January 31 – February 1, 6-9pm, $175 In this two-evening, 6-hour class, students will learn textile techniques — embroidery, appliqué, drawing and painting on fabric with thread and other materials — and how to use these to express poignant political and personal messages.
Experimental Image Making and Type Setting, with Laura Byrne – Thurs, March 21, 11-5pm, $175 In this class we will be experimenting with image making on the Vandercook. Experimenting with relief printing shapes and textures onto your selected papers from home or supplied papers. We will also be incorporating large wooden type letters and shapes to overlay on our images in an experimental way, making a new visual narrative. Feel free to bring whatever materials to wish to use from home, old drawings or artwork, magazines or paper clippings, decorative be papers. We can also print on fabric and t-shirts etc. The Center of Book Arts has an amazing rubber stamp collection that we can utilize on the day.
Color and Finish for Asian Papers, with Aimee Lee – Sat-Sun, March 9-10, 11-5pm, $350 Almost as old as the history of paper is treating paper to impart color, protection, and new surface qualities. Students in this class will learn how to use natural dyes and finishes on Asian papers that include konnyaku, hand-ground ink, brazilwood dye, and persimmon juice, among others. After learning ways of dyeing safely and efficiently, students will experiment with book structures ideal for samplers. Everyone will leave with an assortment of papers and a custom book designed to contain them. No previous experience required.
Hot-Stamping, with Biruta Auna – Thurs, March 28, 11-5pm, $175 Have you ever wondered how books, especially older leather bound books, get their gold lettering or decorative embossments? In this workshop you will be taught how! Students will learn the basics of hot-stamping with the Center’s Kensol and Kwik Print presses and will test their hand at paper, cloth-wrapped-boards, and leather to determine their own preferences for personal projects and practice. Explore the nuances of each press and the different materials, and practice with an expert binder and stamper!
Linocut Printing, with Sarah Nicholls – Sat-Sun, February 9-10, 11-5pm, $350 Block printing is the oldest form of printmaking, and linoleum is an affordable, approachable, and immediate way to make graphic illustrations. We will talk about transferring images to your block, carving techniques, color mixing and layering, registration, and editioning tips. We will talk about both reductive and multiple block techniques. Linoleum is an excellent way to bring images and color into your prints. No previous experience required.
One Sheet Book, with Sarah Nicholls – Thurs, March 14, 11-5pm, $175 In this one day workshop, learn basic printing techniques on the Vandercook proof press, and come away with a collaborative printed edition. We will learn a few basic variations on the single sheet book, perfect for making a portable edition. We will print up our ideas collaboratively on the press, using the Center’s type collection, and edition our simple books together. Everyone will come away with multiple copies of a one-page book, models for future reference, and ideas for the future. No previous printing experience required.
Students should bring gloves for cleaning presses (the Center has some for sale) and wear something they don’t mind getting dirty.
Paper Cutting: From Book Shelves to Cat Walk, with Béatrice Coron – Saturday, January 12, 11-5pm, $175 Paper cutting, from historical roots to the contemporary art scene, demonstrates it’s multi-facets. Simple techniques_cutting, stenciling, modeling_ permit to create large installations and intimate works. In this intense workshop of serious fun, we will explore unique ways to tell stories. Participants cut their designs into Tyvek to create stories that can be displayed and worn. Design compositions and discover paper-cutting skills to make paper dimensional with basic pop-up and paper-sculpture techniques. Adaptation to other materials, such as glass or metal, and digital possibilities of 3D programs and animations are discussed. No experience necessary.
In class you will practice on different weights of paper to create full and empty shapes for building composite images, learn to organize by color separation for creating stencils, and to translate existing images into cut out projects. This class will help boost creativity for both the conception of future projects, and for the execution of existing ones. The instructor will use brief exercises to promote mastery of basic concepts, and students are also encouraged to bring their own work if they want to resolve specific problems.
Paste Paper and Long Stitch, with Jennifer Verbit – Sat-Sun, March 2-3, 11-2pm, $175 This is a 2 day class that consists of 3 hours each, the idea is to have fun; and learn to make paste paper along the way. First, we will experiment with making different paste paper patterns. Paste paper is a painting technique, that uses wheat paste, acrylic paint and homemade combs to create patterns on paper. We will then make a hardcover long stitch book and use our new paste paper creations. I will review the basic book binding skills needed in order to complete our book. I hope this class inspires you to use the paste paper that we make, and get you thinking about other paper you have made at home to use for future projects; starting with us making a book together.
Poster Printing with Wood Type, with Sarah Nicholls – Sat-Sun, March 16-17, 11-5pm, $350 Dive into our collection of antique wood type! For this two day workshop we are opening up our drawers of borders, wood cuts and type for students to explore and create their own hand set type projects, be it posters or unique art pieces. You will learn how to hand set type and print using one of our Vandercook Presses. Everything from creative inking techniques, form building and composition, registration of multiple colors to creating your first proofs will be covered as you work on your personal pieces. All materials are included for the class and you will leave with your own edition of prints by the end of the weekend. No previous experience required.
Round Boxes, with Biruta Auna – Sat-Sun, January 26-27, 11-5pm, $350 Bending a board might seem like a mystery, but it’s one that we will solve in this two-day workshop. Students will learn to create cylinder containers, construct two different kinds of lids, and enhance the final design by applying paper and book cloth as finishing materials. The unique final boxes can be used house anything from art works to book projects.
Soft Cover Leather Books, with Biruta Auna – Sat-Sun, March 2-3, 11-5pm, $350 In this class students will learn how to create a simple soft cover leather bound book. We’ll explore adding surface design to the leather covers using linoleum relief cuts to create texture and image. Students will learn to dye leather. Decorative endpapers and a deckled edge text block will complete the aesthetic of the book.
Suminagashi Marbling (at Talas), with Sheryl Oppenheim – Wednesdays, March 6, 13, 20, 27, 6-9pm, $325 Suminagashi, which translates to “floating ink”, is a method of paper marbling that originated in Japan around the 12th century. Suminagashi papers are traditionally used as decorative papers, their earliest uses were as a substrate onto which poetry and other writing was transcribed.
In this class we will learn some of the history of suminagashi, and of washi (handmade Japanese paper), as it is an important part of this tradition. We will look at examples and learn about traditional and modern materials. Each student will have their own tray and materials to work with. After a demonstration, students will use most of the time in class to make their own papers. As this class will be held above Talas, which has a large supply of washi papers, students will be able to purchase additional interesting papers to use in the class. No experience required.
These classes will be held at Talas, in Brooklyn: 330 Morgan Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11211
The Handwritten Text, with Karen Gorst – Sat-Sun, February 23-24, 11-5pm, $350 Embarrassed by your handwriting, but like the look of a hand-written text? Want to use handwriting to create a one-of-a-kind book, but would rather use someone else’s? Join us for The Handwritten Text, a two-day intensive designed to reinvent your handwriting. Under the expert tutelage of Karen Gorst, students will experiment with different pens and speeds of writing, learning about the tone and voice of their writing. Karen will encourage all to think about the rhythm of what you write, and about the form of each letter. By the end of this workshop, you’ll have a new relationship with your handwriting and learn to develop writing that is fit for a manuscript!
For this class, all materials are included, but please bring the following tools with you to each class.
- Any favorite text weight papers you want to work with
- Favorite pens to write with
- 5 sheets of graph paper
- 12” ruler
- Tracing paper (a few sheets)
- Variety of pens and pencils
- 2mm (fine) and 3.5 mm (medium) – Karen recommends to Elegant Writer brand
- Soft and hard pencils (3H, 3B or others)
- Sharpie – fine point marker
- Roller Ball – medium, fine, or extra fine
- Gel pen
- Pigma .05, .1, or another size
The above list are suggestions that Karen recommends. She asks you bring any size and color pens and pencils you wish to work with.
Valentine’s Day Workshop, with Iviva Olenick – Thursday, Feb 14, 6-9pm, $75 Learn basic embroidery stitches and apply these to paper and fabric to make a unique Valentine’s Day card or gift. No experience required. If students wish to incorporate imagery or a specific fabric, paper or thread, etc., they should bring source imagery and materials with them.
The Photo-book as an Experiential Object: A Focus on Concept & Editing – Monday, March 25, 11-5pm, $175
By guest instructor, Laura El-Tantawy
About the course:
This is an intensive one-day course whereby participants are invited to bring along bodies of work they are contemplating in book form. The course draws on Laura El-Tantawy’s personal engagement with the photo-book — as an object that goes beyond telling a story, but one that is an art piece in and of itself and that engages the viewer’s emotions and thoughts. Under El-Tantawy’s guidance, participants will take part in editing and formulating a design concept that is most reflective of the spirit of their work. Limited spots available.
About the instructor:
Laura El-Tantawy is a British/Egyptian documentary photographer, artful book maker, writer and mentor. Her work is recognized for its uniquely lyrical and impressionistic eye on reality. She has been exhibited and published internationally. Her self-published monographs have earned her international accolades. Her first book, “In the Shadow of the Pyramids” (2015) was named one of the best photo books of the year by international book critics and photography collectors. It also made her one of the four finalists for the prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize for 2016. Laura lives mostly in London, UK. She is currently working on her fourth monograph, “A Star in the Sea” due for release in early 2019.