City Lit fine binding higher level: vellum

Course Dates: 19/10/21 - 05/04/22
Time: 10:00 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Learn how to make a stiff-boarded binding in full vellum. Practise ‘pulling’ (disbinding) a book, preparing it for rebinding, making endpapers, edge-gilding, sewing multi-coloured end-bands, and preparing and covering with vellum. Suitable for advanced level students.
This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
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Full fee £1,099.00 Senior fee £879.00 Concession £670.00

This course has now started

Course Code: VD333

Started Tue, day, 19 Oct - 05 Apr '22

Duration: 22 sessions (over 25 weeks)

Call us to check your level, see if you can still join the course or to discuss other suitable courses

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?

How to prepare ('forward') a text-block up to the point where it is ready to be covered, how to prepare vellum and cover the forwarded book with a full hard-cover vellum binding. Learners will also explore decorative techniques such as edge gilding/decoration and underpainting the vellum.
You should bring to the first class a book that is appropriate for a vellum binding: it should be of good quality paper with the grain direction of the pages running head to tail and the sections not too thick (as the book will need to be rounded and backed) please ask in advance if you're unsure of what to bring.
This course is only suitable for advanced level students.

What will we cover?

A brief history of bookbinding, in particular the origins of vellum binding in different countries.
All the techniques and processes preparatory to covering a fine binding in vellum, i.e. pulling and guarding sections, board lamination, hidden cloth-jointed endpapers, rough-edge gilding, sewing, rounding and backing, lacing on boards, end banding, spine linings and the final preparation for covering in vellum. Then decorative techniques; covering in vellum with a French groove, and putting down cloth joints and endpapers.

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

- Make laminated split-boards
- Guard sections and undertake paper repairs
- Construct hidden cloth-jointed endpapers
- Rough-edge gild the pages of your book
- Sew the book on tapes on a sewing frame with 20% swell
- Sew multi-coloured endbands
- Lace on boards via a flange
- Underpaint vellum
- Cover a book in full vellum with a French groove
- Put down cloth joints and endpapers.

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

The course is for advanced students who wish to increase their knowledge and refine their skill. Learners should
have at least two years experience in bookbinding and should have covered a book in leather before. This course is ideal if you have previously completed VD194 City Lit Fine Binding. This course is therefore not suitable for beginners.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and for health and safety information, and will 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?

Demonstration, group and individual tuition. You may need to work outside the class to catch up if necessary.

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

The bindery is equipped with most tools but you will be expected to provide your own personal hand tools. The class has some materials which may be bought, but you will need to buy vellum and some specific hand-made papers. Vellum is expensive: you should expect to spend up to £175 for a whole skin but it may be possible to share skins (as they are large) with other learners, reducing the cost.

Information and advice on materials and larger pieces of equipment will always be available.

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?

Intermediate and higher bookbinding course (VD197) would be suitable for students who have completed this course. You may also like to further your learning with a course on gold tooling or leather techniques or by enrolling on a City Lit bookbinding masterclass. Your tutor will be able to advise you during this course.

Kathy Abbott Tutor Website

Kathy Abbott served a four-year apprenticeship in bookbinding and then gained a Higher National Diploma from the London College of Printing, London (UK) followed by a BA (Hons) degree in Bookbinding from Roehampton University, Surrey (UK). She teaches advanced level Fine Binding and Bookbinding: Intermediate and Higher at the City Lit, London and conducts many other workshops across the UK and overseas. Kathy opened her own bookbinding workshop in London in 1997, where she specializes in Islamic book conservation, western book conservation and contemporary fine binding, and is also a partner in Benchmark Bindery, established in 2009 with Tracey Rowledge, to produce high quality and intelligent bookbinding work. She is a founder member of Tomorrow's Past, an international bookbinding collective and is the author of Bookbinding: A step-by-step guide, published by the Crowood Press in 2010. Her work is held in both private and public collections and her work is exhibited widely.

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.