Print Studio A-Z: B is for Bookbinding


20 October 2016

In order to shine a new light on this amazing part of what we do, we've decided to run a Print Studio A-Z. We'll be using each letter to look at an aspect of the Print Studio you may or may not have heard of before. For 'B', we caught up with Emma Fraser ACR, who is a Book and Archive Conservator who runs The Book & Paper Studio in Dundee and the Bookbinding courses in our Print Studio. Interested in this course? Find our some more about it below and have a look on our website, or latest copy of Get Creative, to see if there's one coming up!

Can you explain to use briefly what bookbinding is?

Tough question, I'm not sure where to start! I guess overall you could say bookbinding is the method for collecting pages or text together into a single object. It can involve elaborate sewing and leather and gold and tools, but it can also be as simple as folding a page in two.

How did you get into teaching this course?

I’m a book conservator by profession and have an interest in the structure of historical bookbindings, the most decorative of these are usually the ones that are the simplest to make with a limited amount of tools. This makes them perfect for teaching in the DCA Print Studio as the participants can carry on at home after the course. I started teaching a more structured course that was funded by Scottish Arts Council in the early 2000s and after that I stated regular classes at print studio.

What can someone expect from signing up for the course?

They can expect to learn about the structure of books and materials used to make the books. But probably most importantly the means of creating hand made books from scratch. 

"Participants can carry on at home after the course"

What do people need to bring along with them?

Nothing, sometimes people like to bring their own decorative papers to use or their own pages but all materials are provided.

What results should they expect at the end of the course?

It depends on the course. For the six week evening course we usually make three different books. During the weekend courses usually only one book is completed. For the hard cover binding course only one book is completed over the six weeks.

Is this something someone can carry on at home and create more if they enjoy it?

Absolutely, most of the bindings I teach are non-adhesive styles so don't require any gluing, and only the simplest of hand tools, so could easily be replicated at home.

If someone enjoys this course, are there any other courses you would suggest they may enjoy?

I teach quite a few different classes so I always encourage people to come back. I always try and accommodate returners so that they don’t repeat styles. I also recommend screen printing as it’s a nice method of making pages for books, and paper making is also a relevant course for bookmaking.

Thanks Emma!

Our bookbinding courses have already started for this block, but keep an eye on our next copy of Get Creative to see when the next one is coming up!

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