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During this week-long workshop students will explore variations within two different styles of binding: Secret Belgian and Single Signature.

The Secret Belgian binding is a popular structure, used primarily for artist books. This style of binding is simple and easy to construct; it opens flat and is perfect for thinner text blocks. Students will learn 3 different finishing techniques for the Secret Belgian, including Anne Goy’s original designs for altering the traditional appearance through weaving and Tyvek. 

Creating an elegant binding around a single signature can be a tricky task. The latter half of this workshop will explore a multitude of models with both soft and hardcovers. Students will make a series of simple softcover pamphlets using a variety of decorative sewing patterns before moving on to hardcover structures. Finally, we will create a modified version of a case binding using a stub at the spine. This will give our books an elegant rounded spine, which will be covered in bookcloth and sided up with decorative paper. All of these structures allow the book to lay flat and are perfect for chapbooks, presentation pamphlets, short stories or photo albums. 

KITS (provided by Erin) – $40/kit, includes the following items:

  • Text blocks: 14 signatures + 15 signatures pressed and trimmed (for all models, plus extras)
  • Cover and lining papers: St. Armand and Canson
  • Millboard
  • Bookcloth
  • Infill
  • Punching Jigs
  • Tyvek

TOOL LIST (provided by Maine Media or student): 

  • Bone Folder
  • Glue Brush (brand recommendation: Anza)
  • 12”/300mm Metal Ruler
  • Small Scissors
  • Olfa (Silver) or X-Acto Knife
  • Small Cutting Mat


Images Courtesy of Erin Fletcher

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Instructor: Erin Fletcher

Erin Fletcher is a fine binder and book artist who graduated from the North Bennett Street School. She opened Herringbone Bindery in Boston in 2012 and offers a variety of hand bookbinding and box-making services to a range of clients and institutions. She teaches in the Continuing Education department at North Bennet and as a co-teacher for the Middle School Book Arts Program. Her work has been exhibited domestically and internationally, and is held in both private and institution collections.