The San Francisco Center for the Book has begun to offer in-person instruction once again. As of December 2022, we have successfully completed about a year and a half of Week-long Bookbinding Intensive series after COVID-19 lockdowns were lifted, and there will have been several Week-long Cores since then. Most classes are now being held in the bindery classroom, with air sanitizers and ample ventilation. Because of persistent COVID outbreaks nation- and worldwide, we are requiring that students submit vaccination documentation and wear masks throughout our in-person classes. Come join us for in-person bookbinding instruction again.
Orientation to Leather
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 workshop is a prerequisite for the Leather Core bookbinding workshops at the San Francisco Center for the Book.
*Watch a video about this workshop! (link is external)
Saturday, May 13; 9:30-5:30; Register/more info or call 415-565-0545
Week-long Bookbinding Core Intensive
SFCB offers its 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 separate classes, or 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 415-565-0545 to register.
Monday through Friday, 9:30-5:30; June 5-10. Register/more info.
The Decorated Edge
A beautifully decorated edge can be a highly expressive part of a fine binding or an artist’s book. From subtle to funky, decorated edges add a special touch to the textblocks they adorn.
In this class students will learn several techniques used in edge decoration, focusing on three basic materials: ink, graphite, and 23K gold leaf. They cover sprinkling all along an edge and in patterns with two colors. Everyone will also learn how to use graphite on an edge, how to create a perfectly smooth surface, and gilding with 23K gold leaf in the basic method taught by Hugo Peller at Ascona.
Some experience handling gold leaf will be helpful, but not necessary.
Saturday and Sunday, July 15-16, 9:30-5:30. Register/more info
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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