Bookbinding and calligraphy workshops

Bookbinding and calligraphy workshops and short courses provide an opportunity for individuals interested in exploring bookbinding and calligraphy to build skills, explore materials and become familiar with a wide-range of binding and calligraphy styles and techniques.

Individuals who are new to bookbinding and serious about learning the basics are encouraged to take the fundamentals classes. Some workshops are appropriate for all levels and master classes provide opportunities for professional binders to learn new skills. For the most part, calligraphy classes are appropriate for all levels.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fundamentals of bookbinding I

Tuesdays, September 30 - December 16 (no class 10/11 & 11/11)
6:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Instructor: Erin Fletcher

Students learn the foundations of bookbinding with hands-on experience and discussion. The course covers non-adhesive structures and case bindings, students learn about structural elements, sewing variations, covering and cutting techniques using various materials, and tools and equipment. Discussions throughout the course cover terminology, paper grain and folding, selecting proper materials and tools, and adhesives and their properties.
The focus is on non-adhesive structures such as coptic, historical long stitch and case bindings such as flat back, rounded back.

Erin Fletcher was first introduced to the craft of bookbinding while obtaining her BFA at The School of the Art Institute (SAIC) of Chicago. After SAIC, she studied bookbinding at North Bennet Street School under the direction of Jeff Altepeter and Martha Kearsley where she fine-tuned her hand skills and mastered a variety of historical and contemporary structures from non-adhesive to case bindings to fine leather bindings.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Classroom Abroad

October 1 - 12, 2014
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Instructor: Maryanne Grebenstein
$5900 PP, $5600 PP/double occupancy

Paris and the south of France We'll fly out of Logan as a group - destination: Paris, France. Perhaps the only thing better than spending some time in Paris enjoying the cafés, shops, scenery and museums in this incredible city, is following it up with a week in the south of France! After three days in Paris, we'll travel by TGV train to the lovely town of Mandelieu in the south of France. Mandelieu has the geographic good fortune to be situated between Nice and San Tropez. In Mandelieu, we'll be staying at Château de la Napoule for one week. To say that Château de la Napoule is beautiful is an understatement (see photo). Located directly on the Mediterranean, the original structure was built in the 11th century. The château was purchased and renovated by an American expatriate couple, Henry and Marie Clews, in the 1930s. After the death of Henry Clews in the 1950s, Marie turned the château into an art foundation. Our accommodations, studio space and most meals will be at the château. Many beautiful sites and cities are within easy reach of La Napoule via regional train (directly across the street from the château). Our days will be structured so that mornings will be spent in guided studio time, with afternoons free to visit nearby cities such as Monaco, Nice, Cannes, Antibbes, San Tropez, and others. Photos and details about previous trips of this itinerary can be found on our website at Remember that it is not a requirement to participate in the studio time - if you have a travel partner (or even yourself!) who is interested in this trip but not the classroom portion, feel free to sign up. The maximum number of registrants is eight people.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fundamentals of brass hinges—not just for jewelers

Saturdays, October 25, November 1, November 8
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Instructor: Sue Aygarn-Kowalski

If you dream about shiny brass hardware or can’t find exactly the right hinge for your project, this workshop is for you. Students begin by learning standard hinge types and terminology followed by class exercises in cutting and silver-soldering brass. Students lay out and fabricate three common hinges: Butt (the most common, used in doors, lids and furniture), Flush/Case (similar to Butt although more elaborate), and “Continuous” (piano). In the final exercise, students customize a template and design unique brass hinges specific to their work and applications. Discussion of variations on the common hinges fabricated in class such as half-mortis, non-mortise, strap, off-set, latch and lift off hinges and demonstrations of layout design, hinge-range movement calculations, sawing (with a jeweler’s saw), filing, silver soldering and surface finishing are included.

No prerequisites. There is a $60 material fee for this class that is to be paid directly to the instructor.

Sue Aygarn Kowalski hand-fabricates functional tools out of exotic woods, brass, silver, steel, copper and delrin. Hammers, mallets, cutting, culinary, measuring, leveling and other types of tools are raised, soldered, cold-connected, lathe- formed, inlaid and hand-finished. Kowalski notes “My work is an argument for aesthetic experience over speed and efficiency, for skill over blind use, and for an absolute love of process. These tools advocate for a hands-on, direct, and tactile way of living in an increasingly digital and virtual culture.” Kowalski studied at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, and at the University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth. She works from her studio in New Bedford and has a blacksmith forge in Carver, Massachusetts. Kowalski’s work is in the collection of the MFA, Boston, the Museum of Art and Design, the Kamm Teapot Foundation and the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury. In 2014, she received the Saul Bell Award in Holloware. She has taught at U-Mass Dartmouth, the Fuller Craft Museum, and at various art centers. She is represented by Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, MA.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Box it Up!

Saturdays November 1 - December 13 (no class 11/15 & 11/29)
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Instructor: Amy Lapidow

Making a statement, protecting a fragile item or tidying up the bookshelf? Make a box! This class will cover the basics of protective enclosures. Learn which one to use for your project, how to measure so it fits, the materials suitable and how to cover each one. Four different structures in five weeks.

Amy Lapidow graduated from the NBSS Bookbinding program in 1995 and is a founding member of The Three Ring Binders in Somerville, Massachusetts. Amy's interests include modernizing historic bindings working with artists to help them translate their visions into book form. Visit Amy's website at


Monday, November 3, 2014

Focus on Case Bindings

Monday – Friday, November 3 - 7
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Instructor: Erin Fletcher

This course focuses on case binding structures. Students will learn through repetition while exploring minor changes in technique with each book. Throughout the week, the course covers structural elements, sweing variations, covering and cutting techniques using various tools and equipments. Discussions cover terminology, paper grain and folding, selecting proper materials and tools and adhesives and their properties. Suitable for beginners and those who want to refresh skills.

Erin Fletcher was first introduced to the craft of bookbinding while obtaining her BFA at The School of the Art Institute (SAIC) of Chicago. After SAIC, she studied bookbinding at North Bennet Street School under the direction of Jeff Altepeter and Martha Kearsley where she fine-tuned her hand skills and mastered a variety of historical and contemporary structures from non-adhesive to case bindings to fine leather bindings.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Paper marbling with Chena River marblers

Saturday - Sunday, November 8 - 9
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Instructor: Regina & Dan St. John


The first day of this two-day workshop gives students a basic introduction to paper marbling. Learn many traditional combed marbled patterns as well as the basic stone pattern. Prepare your own marbling size and papers for marbling and learn how to make simple combs for independent future use. On the second day, learn additional combed patterns, the beautiful Spanish Moire style of marbling and the Turkish Ebru (Flower Style) marbling.

All materials will be supplied for these classes and students may expect to complete from 20-30 papers during the two-day class.

Regina and Daniel St. John own and operate Chena River Marblers, a bookbindery and craft business in Amherst. Regina has been a full-time professional fabric and paper marbler for the past 19 years. Her work is recognized nationally and she is frequently engaged by bookbinders and book artists to produce a wide range of specific traditional and original marbled papers for unique projects. Daniel St. John is a full-time professional bookbinder and a member of the National Guild of Book Workers.

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Questions and suggestions

Jim Morris
Director of Continuing Education
617-227-0155 x130
email Jim


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Other bookbinding and calligraphy classes

This is a partial list of class that have been offered in the past. If there is one or more that interest you, write to Jim Morris. We welcome class  requests.

  • A book of one's own - versatile journal and sketchbook designs
  • A well-appointed desk - practical stationery forms
  • Accordion books
  • Basic paper conservation for bookbinders
  • Book repair
  • Book structures for conservators
  • Bookbinding for teens
  • Bookbinding in america in the 19th century
  • Case binding
  • Cloth case bookbinding
  • Crossed structure bookbinding
  • Embellishing cloth-case bindings
  • Exploring the album structure
  • Girdle books
  • Intro to non-adhesive bookbinding
  • Introduction to marbling
  • Introduction to boxes & enclosures
  • Introduction to hand tooling
  • Introduction to leather
  • Islamic binding
  • Lettering & creating a guest book
  • Limp vellum bookbinding
  • Modernizing historic bookbinding models
  • Non-adhesive bookbinding
  • Oriental bindings
  • Paper conservation
  • Paper dying with plants
  • Paste papers - color theory, production, and matching colors
  • Pop-up books
  • Rebacking bookbindings - paper, cloth, and leather
  • Sewn board bindings
  • The classic leather binding
  • Three month bookbinding intensive
  • Tips and tricks for book and paper conservation
  • Travel journals
  • Caligraphy/guest book
  • Copperplate script
  • Gilding icons and miniatures
  • Hand lettering - five styles
  • Introduction to calligraphy
  • Manuscript gilding & illumination
  • Uncial lettering