Teaching Bookbinding

Classes now offered in Braidwood NSW

Classes in bookbinding are now being offered as week end workshops in Braidwood. Located an easy hour away from Canberra, I am trying to create a small community of bookbinders. There are many artists and crafty people in the town, and there is much interest.

Leslie Abercrombie moved here many years ago, and was the first to introduce binding skills. While she retains a studio here, travelling makes her unavailable. The plan for me is to teach a series of classes, slowly introducing new techniques. This is the plan:

Pamphlet sewing: folding paper, paper grain, how to poke holes, sewing through spine, adding a variety of covers – January (full )

Multisection sewing: sewing on tapes, unsupported sewing, french sewing on tapes – March (waiting list only)

Case binding: Using our sewn sections, we will apply spine linings and make cases – May

Asian bindings: learn a variety of asian styles, including concertina. (weather dependent)

All classes are held at the Braidwood Regional Art Group studio, Wallace St, Braidwood

Cost: $30 Some material and equipment supplied

Text 0432 687255 or email theboxgirl@gmail.com




2017 – the last term at CIT Solutions

CITSOL discontinued our classes and all our equipment has gone into storage. I am hoping that they will find space for us at the Bruce campus sometime this year. I’d like to thank all my students who came back class after class, and year after year. We had some mighty conversations, great suppers and developed not only binding skills but friendships also.

Some images of the class.




Previous classes – see also specific term pages from right side column


June 2015

Term 2:

How did term 1 fare?

Term 1 Books

Term 1 Books

Term 1 is always about case binding. The students’ books turned out really well. It was a full class and somewhat hectic.

IMG_42832015-04-02 20.53.51It was hard to manage the continuing students. I felt like I didn’t give them enough time. SO guess what? Tech has agreed to trial out a dedicated continuing class. Without advertising it. SO I am hoping to assemble some old returning students.

I have a great programme in store for them; and I am hoping to have some guest teachers so that we can finally get to use more of the equipment.

As for the next lot of beginners I am glad that the printing was done right side up. However I’m thinking about taking them on a historical binding tour: from chinese pothi and scrolls to concertina and exposed sewing. in 8 weeks!? LOL!

We’ll see. Watch this space.

Who would have thought I’d complain when I had a full class. ok, i’m not complaining so much as I am realising that you DEFINITELY can’t have 3 or 4 levels of skills in one class and hope to teach well. I don’t know how school teachers do it frankly.

I feel sorry for my students when the class is this full because there is no realistic way I can give all of them the attention they deserve. Most of my time is spent with the beginners. Which is good, but to the detriment of that small band of faithful return students. I know they are capable of more, but they are left to their own devises a bit too much.

New look sink corner with samples

New look sink corner with samples

At least I have made the room friendlier, with posters and the samples within easy reach, throwing out the rubbish that had been gathering in the cupboards.

Term 1 Feb 2015 beginner students hard at work

Term 1 Feb 2015 beginner students hard at work

I try not to work the beginners too hard. Last week we managed to do one sample of japanese binding (basic) with beautiful covers. Next week it’s onto quarter flush binding. I hope they all have aprons to protect themselves from gluey fingers.


Term 1 February 2015:

The class is nearly full! This year I am working on a better manual, once I can figure out how my printer works. In the bookcraft student manual there are great tips on how to do simple bookbinding procedures.

The term normally starts off with slow simple things like paper folding, and single section pamphlet stitching. This means that from the very first day students leave with a product, a small book.

My notes are based on the notes that I was given in 2006, and which I have expanded to include some of my favourite binders,  Jen Lindsay, Jane Greenfield, Arthur Johnson. I hope that by taking their own notes, students will retain more information.

Continuing students will also get a small manual. I like to encourage them to go beyond what they know. Some of my students have been coming to CIT for years, and often get into a rut. Since I like making endbands, I often encourage them to sew their own rather than use the poxy machine made ones that are at hand.

Term starts next week, so I’ll put up some photos here later.


For the last 3 years I have been working on the best possible programme with which to introduce people to the joys of book binding. The basis of it are the course notes I received in my own training at CIT in 2006.  To this I have added japanese binding, box making and now I think I will delve into paper engineering.

2012 - my first full year

2012 – my first full year



I inherited badly organised cupboards and a bit of a mess. But a few hours of tidying made it quite usable.

My students have a plan: we work through paper grain and folding and basic pamphlet sewing.

Because I have a particular interest in japanese binding I add this half way through a term. I figured that if I can teach people the most basic elements of western sewing, binding and box making, then they will be ready for more complex techniques. Their skills build and end the term  with finished products and can finally understand what books were trying to teach them.

Quite often students arrive thinking they will be able to fix a book straight away. Or often they berate themselves because their projects don’t work first time. I keep reminding them to leave their expectations at the door; this is a class, and mistakes are to be made here. If they already knew how to do it, they would need the class in the first place.

Teaching is the spur for my own progression. As I learn techniques and become more confident, I pass it on to students.

It is hardest for me when the class has 3 levels of students. I would dearly love to have a dedicated continuing class; in it i could give the required attention to getting leather paring or gold tooling off the ground. As it is my attention is divided between newbies who need constant supervision, to intermediates who also need looking after when learning new techniques. And sometimes my eye is not in the right place and mistakes are made. However lessons are also learned from those mistakes.

Now that some students have been with me a while I demonstrate sewing endbands or leather paring. And push them to try these out, all the while practising basic sewing techniques. All in all we have a lot of fun.

As 2015 flows along, I’ll post more photos and ideas that spring form those classes





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