Bookbinding: gold tooling on leather

Course Dates: 19/09/24 - 22/09/24
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: Keeley Street
This course is a great introduction to gold-tooling and the creative use of the medium. Learn how to gold tool on leather with various hand tools, using BS Glaire and gold leaf. All levels welcome.
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Full fee £299.00 Senior fee £239.00 Concession £194.00

Bookbinding: gold tooling on leather
  • Course Code: VD300
  • Dates: 19/09/24 - 22/09/24
  • Time: 10:30 - 16:30
  • Taught: Thu-Sun, Daytime
  • Duration: 4 sessions
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Tracey Rowledge

Course Code: VD300

Thu-Sun, day, 19 Sep - 22 Sep '24

Duration: 4 sessions

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

What is the course about?

If you're new to gold tooling, this structured course will give you the opportunity to develop a practical grounding in the processes and techniques specific to tooling with gold leaf on leather (using B S Glaire), which in turn will open up the creative potential of the medium. If you have experience in gold tooling, this course is a good opportunity to build on and consolidate your knowledge and techniques, to explore in more depth the medium's potential.

What will we cover?

Beginners: learning about the tools and equipment, terminology of the medium, basis gold tooling skills such as handling gold leaf, preparation of the leather, care and correct use of a finishing tool and acquiring a good solid impression.
Intermediate and advanced: Build on your existing skills which will vary from person to person. Although the course will be structured, you will be able to work on your own ideas with regular individual discussions.
Please note that this course will not cover lettering.

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

As a beginner:
- Handle gold leaf
- Describe a process using the correct terminology
- Be able to tool with gold leaf on leather
As an Intermediate/advanced student:
- Demonstrate a high level of design and craftsmanship
- Demonstrate confidence in the practice of tooling with gold leaf on leather
- Transform a design into an image tooled in gold leaf on leather.

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

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions to support demonstrations, hand-outs and for health and safety information, you will also be invited to take part in group discussion. You should be able to use numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.

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

This is a practical course and will be taught by demonstration, both group and individual and by group discussion. Teaching will be accompanied by hand-outs and a short bibliography on the subject.

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

- Hand finishing tools (only if you have any)
- Gold cushion (only if you have one)
- Gold knife (only if you have one)
- Crepe rubber (available from e.g. Shepherds
- A Ramer shower sponge,to be used as a cooling pad. (available from e.g. Boots the Chemist)
- A saucer on which to keep your sponge
- Size 000 sable brush (make sure it's a good quality brush that holds its point)
- A 100g container of vaseline
- A small bulldog clip
- A book of loose gold leaf, single weight/thickness approximately 23.5 carat
(e.g. Stuart Stevenson, Website:
- 2 soft white woven cotton dish cloths
- tweezers
- Your usual kit of small tools (i.e. pencil, pair of dividers, ruler, scalpel, apron etc.)
In addition to the list above, you should also expect to spend up to £20 to provide yourself with materials during the course.

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?

Suitable courses may include:
- VD410 Gold tooling on paper
- VD251 Working with leather: decorative techniques
- VD361 Creative arts for bookbinding II: Leather dyeing techniques
- VD435 Bookbinding for beginners: simple leather binding.

Tracey Rowledge Tutor Website

Tracey Rowledge studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths’ College, London, and Fine Bookbinding at Guildford College, Surrey. Her practice combines elements of both fine and applied art. She exhibits internationally and her work is held in many private and public collections. Tracey has received various awards, including a Project Grant from Arts Council England in 2019 for ROOM, a collaborative work with David Clarke for Collect Open, London. In 2016-17 Tracey was artist in residence with David Clarke at Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery, UK, which culminated in the exhibition Shelved; this work went on to be re-presented for an exhibition at Gallery S O, London. Tracey also received support from the Crafts Council to go on the 2008 Cape Farewell Expedition to Disko Bay, Greenland. Tracey teaches gold tooling; she is a partner in Benchmark Bindery, established in 2009 with Kathy Abbott, where conservation underpins their bookbinding work. She is also a founding member of Tomorrow’s Past, an international bookbinding collective whose aim is to encourage an alternative and modern conservation response to antiquarian books.

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.