Current Workshops

Unless otherwise noted, these workshops are held at the San Francisco Center for the Book. The Center moved at the very end of 2012 to 375 Rhode Island Street, so all the workshops listed here will be held in the new location (just around the corner from the old location). You can register on the webpage for each individual class, linked to in each listing, or call the Center at 415-565-0545.
I also offer a wide range of private tutoring in special topics; please inquire if you have a specific area of interest. Past lessons have included boxmaking, tooling, book conservation and basic paper repair techniques, edge gilding, photo albums and portfolios, and more. My full contact info is listed here.

Orientation to Leather

Edge Tools

It is impossible to imagine the history of bookbinding without leatherwork, and difficult to advance in learning bookbinding without having some skill or understanding of how leather is used in making books. Fancy books, plain ones, rustic or refined, historical and modern all have used leather in some fashion. Even many books without the tiniest scrap of leather still have borrowed working methods from leather bookbinding. This introduction to the advanced track in leatherwork for bookbinding helps students cross the frontier of those remote and mysterious tools and techniques commonly used in leather bookbinding today.

The first half of the class will explain and demonstrate the technical aspects of knives, and you will experience how to get and maintain a great edge. We will look at the various advantages and disadvantages of PSA abrasive sheets, Japanese water stones, oil stones, and stropping compounds. We will also explain the different surfaces available for using your knife, and how they act on knives: litho stones, marble, and tempered glass. If you have a knife for leather working that has dulled or lost its shape, and you’d like to learn how to tune it up yourself, please bring it to work on.

The second half of the class will focus on the various methods used to pare leather: edge paring with knives, and all-over paring with a Schärf-Fix or Brockman paring machine. There will be plenty of time for guided practice on your own in order to gain confidence with this essential skill. For those who learn quickly, paring for onlays and labels will be covered. This class is a requirement for the other leather bookbinding classes at the Center; the materials fee includes the edge paring knife that you will need in this class, as well as any subsequent ones you may take.

Sunday, January 21; 9:30-5:30. Register/more info


SFCB Week-long Core Certificate in Bookbinding

Various styles of books we make in Beginning Bookbinding, all sewn by hand with hard covers
SFCB has reorganized its core bookbinding and printing curricula. We now offer the Bookbinding Core in four segments, spread out over five days of classroom time. The Core classes are: the Coptic Binding, Flat-back Link-Stitch with Casing, Limp Paper Binding, and Classic Rounded Spine. You may now take these classes as an innovative week-long intensive. The week-long intensive includes all four classes in the Core in an easy-to-digest, continuous stream of five dreamy, wonderful days spent binding your favorite books. What could be better? You will become more confident with gluing, with sewing headbands, cutting binder’s board; even the basic elements of edge decoration are included. If you are coming from afar and would like assistance with logistics, contact me or ask the lovely professionals at the Center when you call to register.

Monday through Friday, March 19-23, 9:30-5:30. Register/more info, or call 415-565-0545
*New session added by popular demand!* Monday through Friday, April 16-20, 9:30-5:30. Register/more info, or call 415-565-0545.


Quarter Leather Binding


Making a book with leather is always a reason for excitement. There is a little more work involved, but when you’ve carried out all the steps prior to covering with attention and intention, the experience of covering a book in leather is like no other. The result is also like no other. In this class we sew a book on raised cords, using handmade paper for endsheets and goatskin leather on the spine. We will practice all the skills we’ve accumulated in sewing textblocks and endbands, rounding and backing, lining the spine, and cutting board, and add what is needed to cover the book with leather on the spine and paper on the boards. This book structure takes the skills students learned in Bookbinding Core 4 :: Classic Rounded Back Cloth Binding, raises the bar and bridges the gap between cloth and leather binding with exquisite results. Ideally this class is intended for students who have completed SFCB’s bookbinding core and the one-day Orientation to Leather class, though if you have other bookbinding experience that you believe is equivalent, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Saturday-Monday, February 17-19 (Presidents’ Day weekend), 9:30-5:30. Register/more info or call 415-565-0545.

Paper and Paste

Paper and Paste

While bookbinding and book repair share many skills and techniques, they are also distinct pursuits. This course is intended to introduce the student familiar with bookbinding to key practices within basic book repair. What is the difference between conservation and restoration? What is pH and how is it tested in paper? What are the different adhesives used in book repair and what is the selection process? Through both discussion and hands-on practice, students will get the answers to these questions and more in order to start to appreciate the challenges and rewards of book repair. This class is an excellent introduction for any student wishing to take the Basic Book Repair: The Cloth Reback class, or any of the book repair classes offered by Dominic Riley and Michael Burke at the Center in the summer.
Saturday, March 3, 9:30-5:30; Register/more info, or call 415-565-0545

Carolingian Binding


The emperor Charlemagne was well known for his love of learning and the written word. During his reign in the early 800s, the book arts flourished. A new style of calligraphy developed during this time which facilitated reading, and a new binding style developed as well. In this class we will make a slightly simpler version of this binding style characteristic of the early middle ages. The book is bound in quarter-sawn oak boards and is covered in full deerskin. Students will receive a drill to take home and use in class. Throughout the class students will learn the working methods of early binders and will be able to place their binding in its historical context. (No prior experience with leather is required.)
A pair of Sundays: March 4 and 11, 9:30-5:30. Register/more info or call 415-565-0545

Basic Book Repair: The Cloth Reback

New beginning

In this class, we will learn the steps necessary to repair ailing clothbound books. This style of repair, developed through decades of use in conservation labs and private studios alike, allows the practitioner to safely disbind books with integrity and respect for the original structure, and follows an ethic of saving every part of the original material. The cloth reback can be varied many ways to attend to the many different problems books can have, but all variations are based on the foundational method taught in this class. Students will work on books specifically chosen by the instructor, who will also discuss how to identify books that are not good candidates for this type of repair.
A trio of Sundays: April 15, 22, 29; 9:30-5:30 Register/more info or call 415-565-0545


Past Student Reviews

Here is an article one of my students wrote about his experiences in the Week-Long Core.

“The knowledge of the instructor and her ability to recognize the skill level of the students was key to the class. Juliayn was able to assist each individual according to their skill level with professionalism and patience, making a great classroom experience.”

“Juliayn was a great teacher. She was patient and also good at rolling with whatever came up. I appreciated her attitude to the learning process (that we need to practice these things before getting them right) while also emphasizing best practices and techniques for bookbinding. I enjoyed the time when she would deviate from the actual binding of the book to give us a mini lecture on the field, on adhesives, paper quality, where to buy materials, history of the art, etc.”

“I loved the instructor’s calm manner and accessibility- plus she has a great sense of humor, something much appreciated during stressful maneuvers.”

“Juliayn is always so cheerful, funny, organized, and patient! I love her classes! She teaches good practices which promote good habits.”

“Can’t say enough of Juliayn’s patience, composure, and professionalism. I struggled with several steps and she was always there to help me with her smile and kind heart.”

“Love her sense of humor and friendliness, as well as her depth of knowledge. Very happy that I got to take this class.”

“Thanks to Juliayn’s encouragement and excellent teaching, I was finally able to pare leather without tearing giant holes in it. ”


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