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Designer Bookbinders / Society Of Bookbinders Joint Workshops

The Designer Bookbinders/Society of Bookbinders Joint Workshops began when the two societies discussed the need to provide high-quality training and workshops in bookbinding subjects following the closure of many college courses in recent years. It seemed a sensible idea for Designer Bookbinders and The Society of Bookbinders to pool their efforts and expertise into a joint society venture rather than for each society to go it alone, and so in 2004 the first series of four workshops were set up by co-founders, Clare Prince (representing Designer Bookbinders) and Dominic Riley (representing The Society of Bookbinders).

Since then, a series of six weekend workshops have been held every year at different locations around the country and have covered a range of topics from traditional techniques to innovative structures. Tutors have included many Fellows of Designer Bookbinders, respected book restorers, and a few well-known bookbinders from overseas. From the feedback we received in those early days, it appeared that participants not only enjoyed the excellent teaching at the workshops, but also the opportunity to exchange skills and experience with fellow binders over the weekend and to make new contacts and friends. The joint enterprise has also helped to build a closer working relationship between the two societies and promote the craft of bookbinding more widely.

Clare Prince and Dominic Riley continued to organize and run the workshops for seven years until the end of the 2010/11 series when George Davidson kindly offered to take over. He was succeeded by Alan Fitch and Claire Weaver, then followed by Sarah Burnett-Moore, and the workshops are currently being organized by Nesta Davies and Sarah Burns.

We’re delighted to be offering our 2021/22 series of Designer Bookbinders/Society of Bookbinders joint workshops and would like to say a big thank you to the tutors and all of you who have been so patient during the often-changed programme dates during the last year. We hope very much that our plans can go ahead.

This series, we have eight rather than the usual six weekends, which include two held over from the 19/20 series.

We continue to tread cautiously, so bookings for the first two weekends only opened on 1st August 2021. We hope that the rest of the series will be bookable from 1st November 2021. Please do not book for any workshops other than the first two before this date.

Weekend workshop fees are £185 for Designer Bookbinders and Society of Bookbinders members and £205 for non-members. Each has a materials fee payable on the weekend direct to the tutor.

Further details and booking forms will be available from Sarah Burns sarah@theburns.com or 01643 841116.

At last we hope we can meet and learn together again….

bookbinder tools


Colour, Texture and Pattern on Book Cloth
Ruth Brown
Leah Higgins Studio, Eccles, nr Manchester
18th/19th June 2022 – LAST CHANCE TO BOOK!

On this course we will be using a wide range of techniques to make marks, texture and patterns on fabric which we will then convert to book cloth. We will experiment with mono-printing, screen printing and numerous ways of making marks on fabric, as well as playing with colour and tone.
You will take home a range of sample pieces for reference when you create your own cover fabrics or which can be used for small book projects. All the techniques we will use can be done easily at home with a small set of equipment.

An Elegant Method of Board Reattachment
Emma Fraser,
Wellcome Collection, London
9th/10th July 2022

This method was designed for use on tight back bindings where one or more of the boards are detached but the spine and sewing is intact. During this workshop we will examine and discuss various methods of board reattachment, followed by a demonstration of my method. Participants will then prepare the simple tools and materials needed before being guided step by step through the process on their own examples.
A knowledge of book structures and book conservation techniques is recommended for this ‘hands on’ workshop.

Mark Cockram and Kip Perdue
Paper Cut Drum-Leaf Artists’ book
Studio 5, Barnes, London
25/26th September 2021 – WORKSHOP OVER

A special workshop co-hosted by paper cut artist Kip Perdue and bookbinder /book artist Mark Cockram,
During the first day participants will create unique pages and spreads, exploring colour, texture, line, form and space, using various papers and a knife. The second day will concentrate on constructing the book, a successful flat-back case binding with simple board structuring techniques. Lots of tips from Mark on making and binding!

Ann-Marie Miller
Conservation Enclosures
Southern Bookcrafts Club, Winchester
16/17th October 2021 – WORKSHOP OVER

Conservation housing and enclosures are an essential weapon in the preservation armoury. This two-day course will cover various types of conservation enclosures, such as phase wrappers and their variations, archival book shoes and fascicules. Participants will make each housing option, learn about the manufacture of the structures themselves and be able to make informed choices about when to use them.

Creative Play! Decorative techniques on leather.
Tutor Kate Holland
26 – 27 February 2022 – WORKSHOP OVER
10.00am – 5.00pm
The Old Cowshed, Court Farm, Corsley, Warminster

We’ve all had a miserable couple of years so what better way to celebrate the beginning of the end (hopefully) than with a weekend of practical, experimental creative work. Explore different techniques of getting your ideas out of your head and onto leather. We’ll touch on inlays and onlays, leather dyeing and manipulation, and tooling with foil amongst others and then you’ll be given free rein to have fun and experiment. The two days will consist of a series of demonstrations then plenty of guided workshop time. If you have design concepts and materials you’d like to explore then do please bring them along. Some experience of working with leather would be preferable but not essential. Bring lunch with you as there are no local facilities. There are plenty of options in nearby Frome.

An Introduction to Islamic Bindings,
Kristine Rose-Beers
Bayntun bindery, Bath
12/13th March 2022 – WORKSHOP OVER

This workshop will introduce the Islamic binding structure. Participants will make a model of an Islamic book, drawing on structural features from historic exemplars. Twined chevron-patterned endbands will be sewn, and various decoration techniques will be used to ornament the covers, including the application of gold. Some experience of bookbinding would be useful.

Deluxe Full-leather Notebook
Tom McEwan
30 April /1st May 2022 – WORKSHOP OVER
Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine, Scotland

This binding style was derived and adapted from an original, early Victorian pocket notebook.  The structure has several interesting features, including laminated boards which are sculpted and shaped to create a faceted, angular appearance.   The page edges have a deckled/uncut finish and endpapers are of marbled paper typical of the period.

Beginning Tooling
Dieter Rader,
Dragon Press bindery, nr Carmarthen, Wales
23rd/24th April 2022 – WORKSHOP OVER

This workshop will teach participants the fundamental techniques of hand tooling on leather. Suitable for those with no experience, it also offers a thorough refresher course for anyone wanting to gain confidence in their finishing.
The use of foils and various alternative materials will also be touched upon. While focusing on working with hand tools, type holders will be briefly introduced if wished.