Garage Annex School

There are some great study opportunities available to you all in the New England area this year.  We apologize for not doing a better job keeping you informed of them, but there is still time to register!  We are passing along the following message from our friends at GAS:

Garage Annex School for Book Arts 
Dear friends:We are grateful to all of you who have registered for workshops recently.Tomorrow we are meeting with the folks from Williston prep school to determine if we satisfy their minimum requirments for the number of lodgers. We are hopeful they may let us use the dorm for the most populated of our summer workshops. 

So, again, if you are thinking of studying at GAS this summer this would be a great time to let us know!

GAS, located in Easthampton, MA, is offering a variety of workshops taught by Daniel Kelm, Art Larson, Nancy Moore Bess, Dea Sasso, and Julia Miller:

Independent Projects
with Daniel E. Kelm, June 20-24

The Book Restructured—Wire Edge Binding
with Daniel E. Kelm, June 27-28

The Ultimate Album
with Daniel E. Kelm, June 29-July 1

Letterpress Broadsides
with Art Larson, July 2-3

The Codex Restructured—Rethinking the Spine
with Daniel E. Kelm, July 4-8

Japanese Packaging: Seeking a Narrative
with Nancy Moore Bess, July 9-10

Book Repair and Restoration for Beginners
with Dea Sasso, July 11-12

Codex C: A Late Sixth-Century Coptic Binding
with Julia Miller, July 13-15

The Leather Intensive
with Daniel E. Kelm, July 17-22

If you register for a workshop and it is cancelled due to low enrollment you will receive a full refund. It’s disappointing when students wait to enroll and then find we have cancelled a workshop because we were short one or two students! If you are planning to come, please let us know.

Please visit: for all the details.

Please keep in mind that Daniel offers private instruction at GAS too. The possibilities are nearly endless with a customized curriculum! If you would like to discuss this, he can be phoned at 413-527-8044 or emailed at

We look forward to seeing you here at GAS.
Greta Sibley, Co-director
Greta D. Sibley
Garage Annex School, Inc.
One Cottage Street #5, Room 5-03
Easthampton, MA 01027
studio: 413-529-0070
fax: 413-529-0071

Intermediate- Advanced Bookbinding Classes

There are a few upcoming study opportunities in the New England region especially for those of you with some experience.  We draw your attention to the following courses with two fantastic binders and teachers, Peter Geraty and Dominic Riley.

The Garage Annex School in Easthampton, MA will host Peter Geraty for “Vellum Binding Over Boards” in September.

Dominic Riley will be at North Bennet Street School in October to teach “The Classic Leather Binding” as well as a two-day workshop on hand tooling WITHOUT gold leaf.

Descriptions of all three workshops below, but please see the two school’s web sites for more information and registration. and

From GAS:

Vellum Binding Over Boards with Peter Geraty
September 18–19, Saturday–Sunday

If Vellum Binding Over Boards is an intriguing yet intimidating prospect, come get over the fear of working with this beautiful hygroscopic material by attending Peter Geraty’s two-day workshop. You can read the workshop description below.

Please join us this September in the Garage Annex School‘s spacious classroom here in Easthampton, MA.  

Vellum has a mystique and a mind of its own. The mystique we admire, the mind we must work with!

Warped boards and broken hinges are evidence of vellum’s unruly nature—and these flaws are common in both historic and new bindings.

The hygroscopic quality of this wonderful material allows it to expand and shrink as the environment changes, so unskilled use of vellum can lead to disappointment. On the other hand, the strength of vellum makes it an ideal material for bookbinding, and its successful use important to add to your skill set.

During this workshop you will learn how to create a vellum binding over boards which will accentuate the beauty of vellum and compensate for its tendency to wander.

The style known as floating board (in which the vellum is glued to a thin upper board) allows the vellum to expand and contract with less warping of the boards. There is no way to stop vellum’s movement but we devise effective ways to work with it.

You will construct a Dutch style (laced-on case with a French groove) vellum binding. Over the course of two days you will sew the textblock, hand sew endbands, make the vellum cover and case it in. Throughout, we will discuss the nature of vellum, how it is made, and look at examples of vellum bindings.

There is an expectation of intermediate skills in bookbinding to take this workshop. If you would like to discuss your qualifications or have any questions about the class itself please feel free to contact Peter at

You may enjoy visiting Peter’s web site:

From NBSS:

The Classic Leather Binding with Dominic Riley
Mon-Fri, Oct 18-22, 2010, 8:30am-4:30pm

Experience the pleasure of working with beautiful calfskin and learn the fundamentals of decorative blind tooled covers. This intensive master class will introduce students to the Cambridge Panel, a classic (and luxurious) English leather binding popular throughout the eighteenth century, and which is very useful for creating handsome ‘period’ bindings. The sections will be sewn on raised cords, using the sewing frame, traditional ‘made’ endpapers will be sewn on, after which the book will be trimmed, rounded and backed. The edges will be sprinkled and polished, two-color headbands sewn on, and the cords frayed out and laced into boards. The book will be covered in a smooth calfskin, and particular attention will be given to careful and accurate paring using the English knife and spoke shave, ensuring a neat fit over the binding. The leather will be pasted out and applied to the book, taking care shaping it over the raised bands, forming the headcaps, and making neat, simple corners. The binding will be decorated in the Cambridge Panel style, which first involves sprinkling with leather dye using an ingenious template to create the classic paneled effect. Then, using a few tools and working to a traditional formula, the covers will be enhanced by some very handsome blind tooling. The endpapers are then put down, and the binding is polished and waxed. Traditional craft bookbinding experience recommended. Experience with leather and knife sharpening also recommended. The tuition includes a fee for leather and other materials, but students are expected to provide their own hand tools.

Introduction to Hand Tooling with Dominic Riley
Sat & Sun, Oct 23-24, 2010, 8:30am-4:30pm

A thorough introduction to the art of hand tooling—in blind, with carbon and with real gold foil. A feast of tips, tricks and techniques. Hand finishing on books requires patience, skill and much practice, and handling gold leaf can present endless frustrations to even the most accomplished bookbinder. This class will show students how to execute neat, pleasing finishing without using gold leaf, thus concentrating on the fundamental skills necessary to achieve good lettering and decoration of spines and boards. The class will concentrate on five techniques: blind tooling on leather; tooling with carbon paper to achieve a solid black result; freestyle carbon tooling on leather or cloth boards using the one line wheel; tooling titles with real gold foil, using a template to ensure accuracy; and tooling gold lines using a fool-proof guide. All these techniques have been developed or learnt by Dominic over the years in various binderies, where, for reasons of expediency, finishing with gold leaf was not practiced. The alternatives, as you will see, are very impressive! The tuition includes a fee for materials, but students are expected to provide their own hand tools.

Book Conservation Workshops

Many New England Chapter members have expressed interest in book repair and conservation workshops so we want to draw your attention to just a couple of the upcoming study opportunities in the region.

The Garage Annex School is offering “Board Reattachment using Japanese Tissues” on July 29 and 30 with instructor Eric Alstrom.  See the description below and go to the GAS site to register and for information on other workshops.

In August North Bennet Street School hosts Renate Mesmer for her famous workshop, “Tips and Tricks for Book and Paper Conservation.”  When Renate is in town for this 5 day workshop, August 12-16, she will also present a free public lecture on the subject of conservation at the Folger Shakespeare Library, part of the New England GBW/NBSS lecture series.  Watch this blog for an announcement with details on that lecture, see below for a description of the workshop.  You can register online for Renate’s course and find information on other classes at


Board Reattachment Using Japanese Papers

Garage Annex School.  Eric Alstrom
July 29–30, Thursday–Friday
Tuition: $250   Materials: $35
Enrollment limited to twelve.

Traditional methods of reattaching loose covers on leather-bound volumes are problematic, time-consuming, and expensive. Paring down even a high-quality piece of leather weakens the material—dooming the repair from the beginning to fail again in the future.

An alternative method of repair uses dyed Japanese papers in place of leather. These papers are very thin, yet quite strong, and they come in a variety of colors.

Both tightback and hollowback volumes can be treated using just pennies’ worth of paper in a fraction of the time it would take to lift the old leather, pare the new, and reattach the covers. These repairs are perfect for smaller volumes, but can be adapted for larger books, too.

This workshop will cover techniques developed by both Don Etherington and Eric for treating tightback and hollowbacks. Coloring the Japanese paper, and adaptations for all sizes of books will be also be covered.

Eric will share tips and tricks for working with the materials and methods.

No experience in Japanese paper repair required. Eric recommends some background in binding constructions of this period, however you needn’t be experienced in binding your own leather volumes. If you have doubts, please contact us to discuss your qualifications.

 Before and after pictures of a set of hollowback books.


Tips and Tricks for Book and Paper Conservation
Aug 12-16, 2010, 8:30am-4:30pm 

North Bennet Street School.  Renate Mesmer

Participants will learn and practice numerous useful techniques for book and paper conservation, all of which will involve hands-on practice and are meant for every day work. The book conservation techniques that will be covered include reattaching boards, joint repairs, binding repairs in general, primary endband and a baggy-back. Paper conservation tips will include staining of paper, the use of cellulose powder, the use of Gossamer tissue, capillary washing, friction flattening, etc. As time permits many other book and paper conservation tips will be demonstrated. After registering for the class, participants will get a list of things to bring and prepare for the workshop.

Garage Annex School

A message from our friends at the Garage Annex School:

We hope to see you here at Garage Annex School in Easthampton, MA.

One space has opened up in Julie Chen’s workshop, Secrets of the Magic Tablet, July 12-16. If you are interested, please email me at Whoever contacts me first will get the go-ahead to register.

Our next workshop is Nancy Leavitt’s In Search of Content: The Joys and Challenges of Creating the Book Form. May 1-2. Come mature as an artist! Nancy’s work is so beautiful. We need two more students to commit to this workshop in order for it to run. So if you are thinking about coming please do let us know. It would be a shame to cancel and then find out others of you intended to come. And if you have friends you think may be interested, please help spread the word!

Thank you very much.
Greta Sibley

Garage Annex School in December

Our friends at GAS sent the following reminder regarding an interesting workshop in December with Pam Spitzmueller:

Please join us at the Garage Annex School in Easthampton, MA, U.S.A., for the workshop Wooden-Leaf Books. You may view a gallery of images by going to Wooden-Leaf Books. Please register on our site using your MasterCard or Visa, or if you send a check email us to let us know. We’ll save you a spot. We hope you see you here!
December 5-6
Tuition: $225 plus materials: $40
Utilitarian book formats of multiple wooden leaves have been used throughout history as reusable tablets for notes, perpetual calendars, craftsmen pattern books, or permanent containers for writing.
Thin slices of wood are bound along one edge forming pocket-sized books. They are durable, portable, and ready to be consulted at a moment’s notice. These historical styles are ripe for interpretation by book artists.
Our first model will be the wax tablet codex. The Roman multi-leaf wax tablets have sunken panels containing darkened wax. A stylus, a metal writing tool, was used to scratch letters into the soft wax as well as to erase them with the stylus’s blunt end. These multi-leaf books range in size from 2 to 10 leaves. Sometimes a recess was cut into the board to hold the stylus.
There are variations from the Far East of the multi-leaf tablet that use wax, no recess, and a glued-on spine. We will make a sample of this as well.
Medieval craftsman’s pattern books as well as medieval perpetual calendars—both of multiple leaves—were spine edge stitched allowing these books to open 180 degrees. Traditionally, patterns or calendars were carved into the sturdy wooden surface. These durable books were always at hand and were consulted readily. Sometimes they were further protected by closure with a fore-edge clasp.
Energetic workshop participants are welcome to bring to class their own designs that they may paint or draw on the leaves. Or, you may adhere to historic images for your calendar.
In addition to the structures described above, we will study other wooden books from various cultures—such as a 4th century C.E. Egyptian example.
You can expect to make three structures: (1) the roman tablet, (2) the Far East glued spine, and (3) the medieval multi-leaf—and optionally, you may apply historic content by scribing wax and carving, pasting on or stenciling images copied from medieval examples.

November Workshops

Check out some of the workshops happening in Massachusetts in November– there are only a few spaces left in these classes so don’t delay registration!  If you know of other study opportunities of interest to Guild of Book Workers members please send them to us.

From GAS:

Please join us at the Garage Annex School in Easthampton, MA for

A Book of One’s Own: Versatile Journal and Sketchbook Designs with Linda Lembke

Details are below, and images can be viewed on our web site.

We invite Linda back to teach at GAS year after year because her  workshops are consistently excellent.

This workshop is ideal for anyone who wants to (1) make their own 2010  journal–or an amazing gift, and (2) become well-versed in creating  custom journals and sketchbooks.

You may register on our site using MasterCard or Visa, or download a  PDF registration form and send us a check. If you are mailing a check,  please email us so we know to save a spot for you.

A Book of One’s Own: Versatile Journal and Sketchbook Designs
November 7-8, Saturday-Sunday
Tuition: $220 plus $40 materials
Enrollment limited to twelve.

We will construct a series of journal/sketchbook models, from simple  to complex, considering features and adaptations that could make each  form ideally suited for a specific use–travel journal, sketchbook,  field journal, annual diary, etc.

The models will incorporate pockets, foldouts, maps, envelopes,  closures, and various combinations of exterior and interior materials.

Discussions on variations will consider compactness and portability,  durability of materials, strength of binding, pages that open flat for  writing and drawing, paper that is pleasing and works with a variety  of writing and drawing tools, and built-in spaces for special needs.

Our final model will be a personal journal for the coming year, 2010,  with pre-printed calendar and note pages.

And from NBSS:

Basic Paper Conservation for Bookbinders

November 2-4, 2009; 8:30-4:30
Heather Hamilton and Deborah Cuoco, Instructors

This course will introduce students to basic paper conservation treatments. We will discuss how paper is manufactured and how it deteriorates. Students will learn about the tools and materials used in paper conservation and will practice treatments such as cleaning, washing, deacidifying, mending, tape removal, flattening, and storage techniques. Other topics will be included as time permits.

Paste Papers: Color Theory, Production, and Matching Colors for Repairs

November 13 and 14, 2009; 8:30-4:30
Julia Rabin, Instructor

Please join us as we learn about color theory, mixing colors, color matching for book repair, and making beautiful paste papers. Our emphasis will be on having fun while learning about color. After a brief presentation on the history of paste papers, methods of production, and traditional materials used, we will go on to create our own paste papers. Discussion of color theory, the practice of color mixing, and how to color match to make repairs on old books will be interwoven throughout the two days. You will learn how to mix various kinds of paste—building a sample packet that illustrates the range of finishes that can be achieved when a single color is mixed with different kinds of paste. Simultaneous to working on this useful reference packet you will create paste papers implementing a wide range of effects. Your sample packet will also include cloth samples for book repair and paint samples you will create over the two days. You can expect to leave with at least ten painted sheets and your sample packet. The material fee includes ten sheets of paper, and a few colors of acrylics. You are encouraged to bring additional favorite papers and acrylic colors.

See the North Bennet Street School web site for workshop prices and registration information.

Wire Edge Binding

The Garage Annex School invites you to consider an upcoming workshop:

Come learn wire edge binding fundamentals from its inventor! You’ll find wire edge is a great solution for everything from a codex to a book sculpture.  

Join us in Easthampton, MA, U.S.A. at the Garage Annex School for Daniel Kelm’s The Book Restructured–Wire Edge Binding. (Please see the website to view a gallery of wire edge bindings.)

You may register online using MasterCard or Visa, or you may download a PDF registration form and mail it with your check. (If you want to mail a check, email us to put your name on the list.) 

And please help spread the word by forwarding this message to friends and colleagues who would be interested to know about this workshop and the Garage Annex School. Thank you! 

The Book Restructured– Wire Edge Binding with Daniel E. Kelm

August 15-16, Saturday-Sunday
Tuition: $195 plus materials: $25
Enrollment limited to twelve.

The range of books being produced today by artists is truly remarkable. Some diverge wildly from what we recognize as traditional book form, others play with slight variations.

If you’re interested in creating a nontraditional book (e.g., a book with thick pages, or a book that is sculptural), the achievement of your goal may require the use of a material or movement not possible with conventional structures. Wire edge hinging grew out of just such a challenge. This binding configuration utilizes a thin metal wire along the spine edge of each page. The metal wire is exposed at regular intervals creating knotting stations where thread attaches one page to the next. The result is a binding that opens exceptionally well, and gives you the option of producing unusual shapes.

During the two days we will look at various wire-edge structures useful for books, enclosures, and articulated sculpture. You will produce both a simple codex, and an accordion model that forms a tetrahedron.

Submitted by:

Greta D. Sibley

Garage Annex School, Inc.

One Cottage Street #5, Room 5-03

Easthampton, MA 01027 U.S.A.



Garage Annex School 2009

The following is forwarded from our friends at the Garage Annex School in Northampton, MA.  An interesting line up of workshops for 2009 and a new six week “summer institute.”
We are pleased to announce that the 2009 workshop schedule is now live on our newly revamped web site at  Please visit the site and browse through the workshop program. You may also be interested in our new Summer Institute. 
The subject of the 2009 Summer Institute is leather bookbinding, including design techniques such as leather onlay and dyeing, gold tooling, and stamping. Students will produce full leather bindings as well as a series of models at various stages of completion. This is a six-week, full-time curriculum of study. Students should expect to work some evening and weekend hours. Because the Summer Institute will welcome up to twelve students for the six-week period we have arranged to provide meals and lodging at the residential housing of nearby Williston Northampton School.
The GAS Summer Institute is fully described on its own web page at:
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