City Lit bookbinding

Course Dates: 24/09/24 - 08/07/25
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
Location: Keeley Street
Step into bookbinding with this three-term course. Learn essential techniques and develop skills in using tools and materials to produce your own work. A stimulating, challenging and comprehensive introduction for beginners.
Term 1 24/09/2024 – 03/12/2024
Term 2 14/01/2025 – 25/03/2025
Term 3 29/05/2025 – 08/07/2025
Not sure this is the right course for you? Come to our free School of Visual Arts Open Day on Saturday 18th May. Search VQ009 on our website.
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Full fee £1,349.00 Senior fee £1,079.00 Concession £877.00

City Lit bookbinding
  • Course Code: VD190
  • Dates: 24/09/24 - 08/07/25
  • Time: 18:00 - 21:00
  • Taught: Tue, Evening
  • Duration: 33 sessions (over 42 weeks)
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Kate Rochester

Course Code: VD190

Tue, eve, 24 Sep - 08 Jul '25

Duration: 33 sessions (over 42 weeks)

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?

On this course you will gain a sound working knowledge of bookbinding. You will learn about book structure, techniques, materials, terminology, tools and equipment, and investigate historical and contemporary themes. Selecting and using design methods and elements in your bookbinding is an integral part of the course. Skills and knowledge gained will complement and support your future bookbinding practice.

What will we cover?

The course will cover the making of a range of bookbinding structures using a wide variety of techniques, including: single-section pamphlets with both limp paper covers and stiff boards, several multi-section bindings case bound in cloth and paper, samples of many types of sewing, and enclosures to protect bindings.

During the course you will bind books with both flat backs and rounded spines and learn rounding and backing and how to hand-sew endbands. You will be able to work on one personal project during the final term.
Some sessions will include creative work and discussion about the design aspects of contemporary bookbinding. As a group, we will look at some aspects of the history of bookbinding and some key historical and current makers in the craft. In addition to group and one-to-one tutorial support from your tutor, you will be encouraged to develop self-critical skills which will help you to produce individual pieces of work to a high standard.

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

- Use a variety of sewing techniques to sew single and multi-section text blocks, and single sheets
- Make a variety of different styles of book covers
- Round and back a text-block
- Make a variety of endpapers, and a hand-sewn headband
- Recognise contemporary and historical styles and makers
- Select and use design methods and elements in your bookbinding
- Move on to further study in conservation, fine binding or artist’s books.

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

The course is aimed at beginners or those who wish to revise basic skills and build up their knowledge of techniques.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions to support demonstrations, hand-outs and for health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion. You will be asked to take part in a small group presentation on a contemporary or historical binder chosen by your group.

You should be able to use numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations. Your work will be assessed and on completion of the course you will receive a certificate of attendance.

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

You will be taught by demonstration, individual and group tuition. We will use the internet to research work relevant
to the course. You will be invited to contribute to class discussions and you will be asked to think critically about your own work as part of your learning experience and to log this in your weekly record. You may occasionally find it helpful to be able to complete or revise work at home during the course.

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

Some basic materials are included in the cost of the course during term 1. For terms 2 and 3, materials such as board, paper and cloth can be purchased from the classroom. As personal work progresses, students will be expected to provide for their own, more specific requirements.
You will need to provide your own basic small tools set once the course commences and you should allow at least £40 for this. You will be advised on this during the first weeks and nothing needs to be purchased before the class starts. Please bring a sharp pencil and notebook to each class. You will be expected to make your own notes to supplement the course handouts.

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?

Recommended progression from VD190:
- VD322 City Lit Bookbinding intermediate
- VD320 Bookbinding: improver's workshop
You may also be interested in short courses:
- VD360 Bookbinding weekend: endband extravaganza
- VD374 Fine binding masterclass III: creative approaches to design binding
Repair and conservation courses:
- VD351 Conservation for beginners
- VD202 & VD203 Book conservation
Book arts
- VD292 Book art: Learn to bind artist’s books.

Kate Rochester

Kate Rochester is an artist bookbinder based in London. After completing her BA in Art History at East London University she studied bookbinding at the London College of Printing. In 2004 she founded Hanbury Press which produces limited edition books and hand-printed papers using traditional hand-binding methods. Later she joined the bookbinding team at the Wyvern Bindery, as well as studying master classes at Studio 5 Book Arts studio in Barnes. Kate currently works on commission and runs her independent press from her studio located in East London. She regularly teaches Book Arts workshops and courses at Citylit and The London Centre Of Book Arts. In 2023, Kate became a QEST scholar after completing a year’s study in further master classes in Design Binding.  

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.