Reminder of Dominic Riley Artist Talk

Design Matters: the creation of contemporary fine leather bindings
An Artist Talk by Dominic Riley
North Bennet Street School, Boston
Thursday, October 21, 2010
6:00-8:00 pm

With the advent of the Arts and Crafts movement bookbindings became works of art in themselves.  Dominic is one of a small number of bookbinders working today who create unique Design Bindings for collectors.  This lecture shows a range of these contemporary bindings, explaining how each design grew from a response to the text and illustrations of the printed book. 

Dominic’s design bindings are in collections worldwide. He is a Felow of Designer Bookbinders, and in 2008 he won both first prizes and the Mansfield Medal in the DB competition.

This lecture is free and open to the public, but please email to reserve a seat.

This event is co-sponsored by North Bennet Street School and the New England Chapter of GBW.

Wooden Book Boards

Our friend Jeff Peachey was just in Boston teaching his sharpening workshop to the students at North Bennet Street School.  Jeff mentioned that there is still space in his upcoming workshop on wooden boards.  It is obviously NOT in New England, but it looks like well worth the trip!

From the description on Jeff Peachey’s blog:

Los Angles, California. (November 8-12, 2010). Week long wooden board workshop at the Huntington. Description Below, contact Justin Johnson for details- jjohnson(at) huntington (dot) org.


Until around 1500, most books were bound in wooden boards. Books with wooden boards lie somewhat outside the routine treatments book conservators are normally tasked with. Split, and splitting wood boards are a tremendous problem in many institutions–they put many other aspects of a binding, especially intact covering materials, at risk of further damage if not stabilized or otherwise treated. This five day master class will focus on the fundamentals of the treatment of wooden book boards: the basics of using hand tools to shape wood accurately, easily and efficiently; the making a sample set of woods commonly used for wood boards; the examining of historic techniques for fabrication; and the making a sample set of common treatments for split boards. Choosing, tuning, using, sharpening and maintaining woodworking tools will also be taught. Exploring some of the complexities of wood technology and how this impacts treatment, storage and handling options for conservation treatments will also be covered. No previous woodworking experience is necessary. Five days.


  1. Learn how to evaluate, use and maintain basic hand wood working tools.
  2. Construct a sample set of reference wood commonly encountered in historic book boards.
  3. Construct a specialized jig to plane thin wood boards.
  4. Reproduce historic board shapes, channels, tunnels, chamfering and learn to recognize the tools used to make them.
  5. Construct samples of currently used techniques to repair split and splitting boards, and discuss their applicability in various real world situations.
  6. Make one sample board from a log, by hand, to understand the historic hand technologies– using a maul, froe, and broad axe.
  7. Begin to appreciate some of the complexities of wood technology and how this impacts treatment, storage and handling options for real world books.
  8. Discuss in depth the results of a recent article by Alexis Hagadorn and  Jeffrey S. Peachey  “The use of parchment to reinforce split wooden bookboards, with preliminary observations into the effects of RH cycling on these repairs” Journal of the Institute of Conservation, Volume 33, Issue 1 March 2010 (pp 41 – 63)
  9. Consider storage, housing and display issues unique to wooden board bindings.
  10. Discuss treatment considerations based on documentation that participants supply.

Cuala Press Seminar

Another upcoming event of interest to New England Chapter members from Barbara Hebard at Burns Library:

Boston College, John J. Burns Library
140 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA

November 8, 2010 

The Women of the Cuala Press and the Irish Literary Revival

Boston College Libraries, in collaboration with the Association of College & Research Libraries, New England Chapter (Women’s Studies Interest Group), are pleased to announce a seminar, “The Women of the Cuala Press and the Irish Literary Revival”, to be held at the John J. Burns Library on November 8, 2010. Presentations will be offered by Dr. Robert K. O’Neill, Librarian of the John J. Burns Library; Marjorie Howes, Associate Professor of English, Boston College; Justine Sundaram, Reference Librarian of the John J. Burns Library; and Andrew Kuhn, doctoral candidate at Boston College.  A complimentary continental breakfast will be served prior to the talks. 

In 1902, Elizabeth and Lily Yeats went into business with Anglo-Irish carpet designer Evelyn Gleeson’s Dun Emer Industries. Lily was in charge of the embroidery department and Elizabeth ran the press.  In 1908, due to personal and professional differences with Gleeson, Elizabeth and Lily left Dun Emer to found their own Cuala Industries, which included the Cuala Press and the Cuala Embroidery Department. Besides providing works for publication, William Butler Yeats acted as editor and advisor for the press. Cuala Industries, while producing books, broadsides, note cards, hand-colored prints, and embroidery designs, employed Irish women artisans, writers, and artists. The John J. Burns Library has an impressive collection of Cuala Press materials and related items in its holdings. Some of these materials will be available for viewing at the seminar. 

The seminar and breakfast are free of charge and open to the public. The breakfast will be served at 9:00 am and the seminar will begin at 10:30 am. To place a reservation to attend, please contact Barbara Adams Hebard,

View a slide show of some Cuala Press archival materials from the John J. Burns Library: 

Directions to Boston College (note: parking locations and rates are listed here): 

Campus map (note: the John J. Burns Library is located in the Bapst Building, enter the door nearest to the main gate):

Bookbinding Tools and Equipment

Sam Ellenport of Harcourt Bindery passes along a tip about some used equipment for sale by Mekatronics.  You can check out what they have to offer by scrolling down to the “antiques” section at:

If anyone else has items for sale or wants, feel free to add comments to this post.  We’ll try to draw attention to anything New England GBW members would like to add.


From our friends at North Bennet Street School:

Second Chance at Conservation workshop
A couple of spots have just opened up in Renate Mesmer’s workshop, “Tips and Tricks for Book and Paper Conservation.”  The class runs August 12-16, 2010.  Contact Jourdan Abel, workshop director, at or register online at

Bookbinding Intensive
In addition to the full-time program, NBSS offers bookbinding short courses ranging from 1 day to a 3 month intensive. Some students have found the 3 month course to be the perfect “next step” after all the weekend workshops many of us cobble together in an effort to learn about the craft. A few students have used the intensive as a major test of their interest before applying to the 2 year full-time program.  The course is taught by NBSS grad and workshop maven, Stacie Dolin, and is a The 3 month class runs every other year… and there are a couple of spots remaining in this fall’s class!

Three Month Bookbinding Intensive
Mon-Fri, Sep 13-Dec 10, 2010, 8:30am-2:30pm, with studio time until 4:30
Stacie Dolin, Instructor

This class is designed for those who want to intensely study bookbinding in a three-month time period. Participation in the three-month class can also be used by students who wish to enhance their skills to be better prepared to attend the full-time Bookbinding program. This class is suitable for the brand-new beginner, or the moderately experienced binder who wishes to practice and hone skills. Covered in this class are the foundational content of two of our workshops, Introduction to Non-Adhesive and Cloth Case Bookbinding. Specific structures include: Coptic, historic long-stitch, long-stitch with wrapper, crossed structure, flat back and rounded and backed cloth case, full, half, and quarter cloth case, a cloth case production project, onset, modified split, and simplified boards, basic enclosures, including four flap, slipcase, and clamshell, case binding variants, including endpaper attachment variations, headbands, album structures, foil stamping and more, as time allows. Field trips and other topics will be part of the curriculum depending on student interest. Please note: this is not a fine binding/leather binding class. The tuition includes a materials fee for paper and other basic supplies; for the most part, students are expected to provide their own materials and hand tools. If you don’t already own bookbinding tools, expect to spend approximately $200 on tools for this course, in addition to tuition. A deposit of $1800 is required to hold your spot. The balance is due one week before class begins.

Register online at

Updates on Exhibits at the BPL

Sorry for the late posting of the following information:

An opening reception for the Designer Bookbinder’s exhibition at the Boston Public Library will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on Thursday September 17, 2009.  The opening reception is in the Sargent Gallery and the exhibition will be in the adjacent Cheverus Room.

The exhibition, “Bound for Success,” is the traveling portion of Designer Bookbinder’s International Competition.  The set book was “Water” from the Incline Press.

As previously announced, the New England Chapter of GBW invites you and your friends to a group visit of this exhibition and a walk-through with exhibitor and GBW President, James Reid-Cunningham, on September 26th.  We will meet in the Cheverus Room at the BPL at 10:00 am.

The Bonefolder


The Bonefolder ­ Volume 5, No. 2, Spring 2009

To download <>

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Table of contents:

Biblio Bullrushes, Biblio Briarpatch: The Search
for Carl Maria Seyppel  – Tom Trusky
An Artist’s Journey into Bookmaking – Nancy Steele-Makasci
Making Your Own Finishing Tools – Jana Pullman
Gold Tooling Without Fear – Jamie Kamph
The Artist as Paper Engineer – Carol Barton
A Woodworker Makes Bookbinding Tools – Robert Walp
Interpreting Deluge: A Story of Collections and
Response from the 2008 Iowa Floods – Kristin Baum
Art, Fact, Artifact: College Book Arts
Association Inaugural Conference – Katy Govan
Skin, Surfaces and Shadows, a review – Joe D’Ambrosio
Preservation and Conservation for Libraries and
Archives, a review – Colyn Wohlmut
Grant Supports Research on Letterpress Art & Craft – Betty Bright
2009 Bind-O-Rama: An open virtual exhibition

Supporters of this issue are:
J. Hewit & Sons, Ltd: Suppliers of all your bookbinding needs.
School for Formal Bookbinding
The MFA in the Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama
The Wells College Book Arts Center
Otter Pond Bindery

The Bonefolder (online) ISSN 1555-6565

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.