Bookbinding improvers’ workshop

Course Dates: 13/05/24 - 22/07/24
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
Location: Keeley Street
This one term course is designed to help students to develop their bookbinding skills. You will already have some experience of binding techniques and some knowledge of tools, materials and equipment in order to benefit from this workshop-style class. There will be the opportunity to work on your own projects, or to practice skills in which you feel less confident in order to enable you to progress to higher level courses. Not suitable for beginners.
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Full fee £389.00 Senior fee £311.00 Concession £253.00

Bookbinding improvers’ workshop
  • Course Code: VD320
  • Dates: 13/05/24 - 22/07/24
  • Time: 18:00 - 21:00
  • Taught: Mon, Evening
  • Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Gavin Moorhead

Course Code: VD320

Mon, eve, 13 May - 22 Jul '24

Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

Learning about and practicing bookbinding techniques beyond the basic skill sets. The aim is to strengthen and expand expertise through discussion, demonstration and supervised implementation of skills on individual projects or practice books.

What will we cover?

-Specialist tools, maintenance and use.
-Endpaper types and textblock styles.
-Sewing structures and supports.
-Spine linings and cover board attachment.
-Binding leathers and preparing them for use.
-Best practice in the workshop.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Identify, prepare, use and maintain specialist tools such as paring machines/blades, band nippers, backing hammers and presses, ploughs and sewing frames.
- Prepare and assemble 2 styles of jointed endpapers and construct a textblock using a variety of sewing styles and supports.
- Perform spine rounding, shoulder creation, and spine lining as appropriate for different binding styles in order to forward a text block for binding with a case cover or leather bound laced on boards.
-Identify leather types or other cover materials and know how they are cut, pared/prepared and applied to cover boards and spines.
-Have confidence in performing intermediate level bookbinding skills and to undertake book binding projects beyond beginner level.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is aimed at students with basic bookbinding experience who wish to develop beyond a beginner-level skill set and the more skilled students who wish to continue to practice and refine their skills at an intermediate level.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will be part tuition/demonstration, part supervised workshop practice. The structure will be flexible in order to accommodate students who seek specific skill development together with students who seek guidance, advice and a place to work with specialist equipment. No work is set outside the class, but students will be encouraged to practice what they are learning at any opportunity.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

- You are encouraged to bring your own projects, incomplete projects or material to practice on.
- Some basic materials are included in the cost of the course. Other materials such as board and cloth can be
purchased in the classroom.
- Some communal tools are provided for use in the workshop but if you have your own small hand tools, please bring them with you.
- You will need to provide your own paring knives if you intend to practice paring leather. Your tutor will be able to advise you on these during the course.
- Please bring a sharp pencil and notebook to each class. You will be expected to make your own notes to
supplement any course handouts.
- You may like to bring an apron to protect your clothes.
- If you would like to buy art materials for your personal use in the course, the London Graphic Center offers a student discount.

Need art supplies? Our partner London Graphic Centre has everything you need from pencils to printing services, at 15% off.
To get an LGC discount card, students will need to show proof/ confirmation of enrolment of them being a student at City Lit. You can apply for our card in-store or by simply emailing with a scan or photo of relevant confirmation. The student discount does not apply to products that are already discounted or on offer. More information can be found here-

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

VD322 City Lit Bookbinding Intermediate
VD197 City Lit Higher Bookbinding: Fine binding
VD402 Hand Marbled Paper
VD300 Introduction to gold tooling on leather
VD412 Gold tooling on paper.

Gavin Moorhead

Gavin Moorhead is a professional book conservator and conservation teacher. He is a Design graduate from RMIT and worked as a Graphic Designer before changing direction to take up a career in Conservation. Gavin says he became dissatisfied with consumerist creativity after becoming enlightened by conservation. Combining new aspiration with his passion for books, he trained in conservation techniques at the State Library of Victoria and went on to work on some of the most iconic items in cultural collections around the world. He came to the UK to pursue further opportunities and now, more than 30 years on, he is a senior conservator and conservation team leader at the British Library Centre for Conservation. In becoming a tutor in book conservation and bookbinding, Gavin sought to articulate the ethics of Conservation and to train students in the fundamental skills. After 10 years teaching at City Lit, he continues to enlighten and nurture aspiring book menders and makers.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.