American Academy of Bookbinding

Summer courses 2023

Please note: All summer courses run from Thursday to Monday


Link Structure

June 22-26  |  Sol Rebora  |  $950


These two courses by Sol Rebora combine design and conservation concepts. The four structures presented over the two weeks incorporate reversible techniques for connecting the cover with the bookblock. Students will learn about the combination of different papers, leathers, and adhesives, as well as various techniques applied to these contemporary bookbinding structures.

The flexible cover “Link Structure” uses a tabbed link, enabling more than two books to be joined together. The technique can be used with books of different sizes and is reversible, allowing the individual books to be separated as stand-alone bindings. During this course, students will create the Link Structure for two volumes with a sewed block and leather covers.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Bookbinding level 2 or equivalent bookbinding experience. It is ideal for taking these two courses together. However, each can be taken individually.

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Link-in-One Structure

June 29 – July 3  |  Sol Rebora  |  $950


The “Link-in-1” structure is a flexible cover built using leather or paper. This structure has the ability to connect the cover design of the outside with the design of the inside, with two layers of the material linked in one piece through cuts in different directions. During this course, Students will create a flexible paper cover working with different qualities of papers, showing and explaining various ways to combine material and adhesives to create an original design binding with a reversible connection to the book.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Bookbinding level 2, or equivalent bookbinding experience. It is ideal for taking these two courses together. However, each can be taken individually.

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July 6-10  |  Lang Ingalls  |  $950


This one-week course will cover a variety of techniques to craft stunning doublures for your bindings. Lang will explore various methods to prepare the boards for doublures including: edge to edge leather, sunken suede, silk and moiré, doublures decorated with onlays, inlays or tooling. Students will make a series of plaquettes to learn the techniques that can then be used for future project reference. They may also bring books prepared to Lang’s specifications if they would like to apply doublures to the book.

Prerequisites: Fundamentals of Fine Leather Binding or equivalent experience. Students should understand traditional bookbinding techniques to maximize their learning experience.

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Gothic Wooden Board Binding Intensive

July 20-31  |  Anne Hillam  |  $1850


Throughout this two-week intensive we will investigate variations within Gothic wooden board bindings, concentrating on bindings from the early 15th to the late 16th century in Western and Northern Europe.  Participants will interact with early historical structures provided by the instructor, as well as newly constructed models representing multiple variations.  Once the basic structural foundation is laid, one can construct this type of binding on its own or it can be used with adaptations for the conservation rebinding of incunabula and early printed books.

As stated by Szirmai in The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding, the main typological feature of a Gothic binding is that the sewing supports enter the board over the beveled edge of the outer face of the boards. Two wooden board bindings will be constructed in class. The basic foundational aspects are: double raised cords (that will be handmade in class), worked endbands, shaped wooden boards and covered in half alum-taw skin. Simple clasps will also be made. The two models will highlight variations in structure that are influenced by region and economics.

Prerequisites: Students should have an interest in the historical importance of the bindings to be studied and how these bindings fit within the trajectory of the history of binding.

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Fundamentals of Full-Leather Binding

August 10-21  |  Don Glaister  |  $1850

***FULL*** This course is provisionally full. New registrations will be added to the waiting list.


This entry-level fine leather binding class is required for the Fine Binding and the Integrated Studies Diploma Programs. This class is also an intermediate class for continuing Fine Binding students. Over two weeks, students will learn and understand traditional bookbinding techniques interpreted for the twenty-first century.

The focus of the class will be on learning and reinforcing sound leather bookbinding techniques with particular emphasis on aesthetic choices available to the modern binder.

All students will complete at least one full leather book in the course. At all stages of the class, students will be exposed to design options (some minor, some major) that directly inform the look and feel of the finished binding. They may also be introduced to simple decorative techniques such as embossing and other surface treatments as time allows.

Students will learn binding techniques necessary to make a laced-on, leather-covered board structure. They will also be acquainted with techniques needed in future fine binding and specialty courses at the Academy. Students will become familiar with hand sewing using a sewing frame, rounding and backing, and weaving headbands, as well as leather paring and applying leather to their books. This is the 4th and final class of the four core courses that advance students’ skills toward becoming competent and knowledgeable bookbinders.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Bookbinding Level 2, or equivalent experience in basic leather paring.

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MORE IS BETTER: A Master Class in Artists’ Editions.

August 24 – September 4  |  Don Glaister & Peter Geraty  |  $1850

This course is almost full. Register soon for a spot in the course.

Editions of bookbindings historically have been created when a bookbinder is commissioned by a publisher to produce the work. In recent years however this model has expanded, due in part to the reduced number of such publishers and in part to the energies of individual binders who are finding or creating content, designing the text, the binding and producing the edition themselves, or with a few collaborators. This expanded model will be the focus of MORE IS BETTER: A Master Class in Artists’ Editions.

This two-week master class will concentrate on ingenuity and collaboration in the planning and production of a single edition of unique books. Students will be guided by the two instructors, as well as each other during this process. They will incorporate R&D on binding structures, material choices, design and production planning to discover how such a project can be made well and on time. Students will not only learn to make small editions of these unique books, but the class experience will be valuable in executing larger editions as well.

The edition made in class will be large enough to provide each student and the instructors with one copy, several copies for the AAB library, and some to be used in fund raising for AAB.

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