Book Binding: Creating Historical Ethiopian & Medieval Structures with Karen Hanmer August 29-September 2, 2022
In this weeklong workshop students will create two historic bookbinding models from the 4th and 15th centuries. The Ethiopian binding structure may have emerged as early as the fourth century and has been in use unchanged for centuries. This humble, elegant binding opens flat and is the inspiration for many contemporary “Coptic” book arts structures. Characteristics include wood boards trimmed flush with the text block, paired sewing stations, and chain stitch-sewing that enters the board edge to incorporate board attachments. Historically the text blocks were made of vellum. Braided leather endbands were sewn on after covering in goatskin. Students will make a full-leather binding with braided leather endbands and cloth board linings.
If time permits, simple tooling will enhance the finished binding. The Medieval binding may be the archetypal book: heavy wooden boards, partially or fully covered in leather, prominent bands on the spine, held shut by straps terminating in metal clasps. Students will construct a small model based on a 15th century German binding in the collection of Stanford University: text block sewn on double supports; wooden boards shaped all around, with special attention given to the inside spine edge to match the text block’s natural shoulder, then drawn on and pegged; sewn endbands; covered in full alum-tawed leather; strap and pin closure; tooling as time permits.