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Tucson, Arizona, United States
I work as Panther Peak Bindery and am a bookbinder, conservator and instructor working outside Tucson, Arizona for individual and institutional clients across the country. I am a two term President of the Guild of Book Workers, was a Fulbright Scholar, taught at North Bennet Street School for over nine years and was the fastest in my middle school class at running up and down a flight of stairs (really!).

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day four of cloth binding class.

We've finished the fourth session of the cloth binding class.  At this point they've made a flat back and a rounded and backed book.  They're the two most typical kinds of books.  This is the class I wanted when I was trying to learn binding, and so it's nice to be able to offer it.

The class covers traditional bookbinding techniques and materials. When I decided I needed to learn binding I bought Edith Deihl's manual of bookbinding and it made no sense to me at all.  One really needs to have someone show them the basics in order to be able to comprehend the good manuals.  Of course there are manuals aimed at those with no knowledge of binding but they generally don't cover bindings like these.  

Here is one of the students, Dana, working on the spine linings of her rounded and backed book.


Students in this class will do at lease one flat back, one rounded and backed binding (the books with the rounded spine) and one serial binding. But here is part of what Dana has done:


In all my classes students are encouraged to take materials home to work on between sessions. This class is held on five Saturdays so it was not difficult to find time to sew more books between sessions.  But I have had students during the Monday - Friday courses work on books in the evenings at home, or in their hotel rooms.  These classes can be a bit tiring ( they run from 8:30 - 4:30), so not everyone is up to putting in a few more hours in the evenings and that's fine as well.

For that reason in some ways it's easier, perhaps, to get more work done in the Saturday classes.  As with all skills like this, the more the students do the more they are able to learn.  I suppose it's because the more they do, the more mistakes they make and learn from.  Another benefit of longer classes, I think.

Here are two books Dana has finished.  In addition to these she has finished a full cloth flat back binding as well.


In the last session we'll finish up the unfinished text blocks and make a serial binding or two. It's been a fun class.

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